ICTs must be recognised as the key catalyst that will enable countries to transform their economies and drive socio-economic progress, Ministers the world over have said in a landmark declaration.
The 2014 Busan Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Ministerial Meeting, a meeting of over 50 government ministers from around the world reached this conclusion at the weekend.
A statement issued at the end of the meeting, tagged the ‘’Busan Declaration’ stresses the “fundamental goal of building an inclusive information society enabling everyone to create, access, utilise and share information and knowledge, and of attaining internationally agreed development goals and objectives”.
The Busan Declaration emphasises the importance of digital inclusion, not just for people in developing countries yet to come online, but for marginalised and vulnerable groups such as women, children, low-income earners, indigenous peoples, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“Even though we have successfully brought three billion people online, we still have the unacceptable situation where two thirds of people in the developing world, and over 90% of people in the world’s 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries, are still offline,” ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré told the high-level meeting.
The Busan Declaration affirms that the strategic and innovative use of telecommunications/ICTs can help countries address existing and emerging global challenges. ICTs will also play critical role in achieving sustainable development goals, it says.
The meeting was attended by ministers from some 50 countries from across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Oceania, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).