WASHINGTON, August 24, 2010 – Broadband is one of the topics scheduled for discussion at a high-level United Nations meeting next month in New York.
The U.N. General Assembly plans to meet from Sept. 20-22 to discuss progress on the Millennium Development Goals, which include plans to eradicate extreme poverty as well as improve education, maternal health and environmental sustainability, among other things.
The Broadband Commission, a group of business and government leaders that was established in May, is expected to present a report at the meeting outlining how broadband technology can further the development goals, which were established 10 years ago.
The commission is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim Hélu, honorary lifetime chairman of Grupo Carso. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova serve as joint vice chairs.
“Whether it’s e-health, e-education or e-government there’s a potential for broadband to leapfrog development,” Gary Fowlie, a spokesman for the International Telecommunications Union, told BroadbandBreakfast.com. “We’ve seen success with mobile technology in the developing world. For example, a rural farmer in Ghana can now get access to information about future crop prices through a cell phone.”
While the report is not final yet, it is expected to be in line with the MDG goals, according to Fowlie.
“In the 21st century, affordable, ubiquitous broadband networks will be as critical to social and economic prosperity as networks such as transport, water and power,” Touré said at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva earlier this year. “Not only does broadband deliver benefits across every sector of society, but it also helps promote social and economic development, and will be key in helping us get the MDGs back on track.”
Meanwhile, according to ITU, an estimated 1 billion people are still unable to make a simple telephone call.