DESA News Vol. 12, No. 02 February 2008

Technical cooperation

GAID launches ICT network for Latin America and the Caribbean

ICT use for health, science and technology and disaster preparedness remains limited in the region

Development experts will gather in San Salvador on 4 and 5 February to launch the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Network of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development and to elaborate ways of exploiting information technology for poverty eradication, health promotion, education, youth employment and e-government in the region. According to ECLAC, the region as a whole has made significant advances in the use of ICT in community centres, local government, research networks, and education, while making very limited progress in applying ICT to health, science and technology, and disaster preparedness.

The network is expected to analyse needs of the countries in the region. To this end, its members will engage in a wide range of activities from defining ICT sub-regions to organizing workshops and lobbying for a legal framework that supports public-private partnerships. The main idea is to create links with other regional groups, and promote the participation of major stakeholders in ICT planning and development in countries of the region.

This consultation – jointly organized by GAID, the Inter-American Development Bank, and ECLAC – is part of a larger initiative known as eLAC, a regional action plan designed to help countries realize the benefits of the information society. Within the eLAC framework, governments take the lead in elaborating public policy while encouraging private sector, civil society, academic, and international actors to participate actively in implementation. A basic premise of the plan is that access to information technology is a right of every individual, as is development itself.

The group’s recommendations will be presented to the Second Ministerial Conference on the Information Society for the region taking place from 6 to 8 February, also in San Salvador. It is expected that delegates will adopt a declaration of principles for advancing ICT in the region, as well as a further course of action through 2010.

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Statistics Division brings know-how to South Pacific

DESA’s Statistics Division will present a workshop on international standards for conducting population and housing censuses in Noumea, New Caledonia from 4 to 8 February to strengthen regional cooperation in carrying out population and housing censuses in the Pacific region. Among the topics to be discussed are the use of optical character recognition technology for census and survey data capture, and geographical information systems and other geospatial technologies in census mapping activities.

Participants will learn about revised international standards for conducting population and housing censuses, focusing on recommended core topics as identified in the United Nations Principles and Recommendations Revision 2. They will also discuss ways of improving the capacity of national statistical offices to implement the principles, for example by reviewing a proposed Pacific islands model census questionnaire. New approaches in census geography will explained, including the use of geographical information systems and global positioning systems in census mapping, data collection and dissemination, and disaster management, as well as optical character recognition for census and survey data capture.

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