63rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY General debate of Second Committee Statement delivered on behalf of the European Union by Mr. Philippe DELACROIX European Union Presidency Coordinator in New York
UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION Madam Chairperson,
I am honoured to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
General Assembly Resolution 62/182 on "Information and communications technologies for development" required implementing documents arising from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
As emphasized in the Secretary-General’s report on the "Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels" (document A/63/72), as well as in the UNESCO Director-General’s report on the implementation of General Assembly Resolution 50/130 (document A/63/180), the communication strategies for development used are diverse and mobilize numerous United Nations organizations, funds and programmes.
The European Union welcomes the Secretary-General’s conclusions on the progress of implementation of the WSIS outcomes and commends the work done for development in varied areas - e.g. as regards capacity-building or confidence building and security in the use of ICTs.
The European Union attaches high importance to implementing documents arising from the WSIS, in particular those regarding development and under the auspices of the United Nations system. Two themes have a major impact on development and poverty reduction - Internet governance and reducing the digital divide.
1/ In compliance with the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, the European Union has been working on reinforcing cooperation in Internet governance.
The European Union welcomes the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad in December 2008 and endorses the themes selected. It is convinced of the value added of the exchanges within this multi-partner dialogue platform and encourages all categories of actor from developing countries - private and governmental alike - to participate actively in it. The European Union has been deeply involved in this process, especially through organizing events such as the European Dialogue on Internet Governance in Strasbourg on 21 October or the Second Dialogue Forum on Internet Rights in Sardinia, as well as Lithuania’s candidacy to host the Internet Governance Forum in 2010.
The European Union would like to take this opportunity to mention the Ministerial Conference on the Internet of the Future, where European ministers responsible for Internet policy met in Nice on 6 October 2008. Europe’s ambition for the information society was reaffirmed at this conference, as was the major economic role that the Internet now plays in terms of strategic infrastructure. Thanks to its role as a powerful new technology innovation catalyser, the Internet of the future will facilitate tackling major international society issues (environmental risk, an aging population, shortages of raw materials, etc), which were previously raised in Seoul.
2/ The European Union is aware that inequality between developed and developing countries comprises an additional factor of the digital divide. It places high importance on combating the "digital divide", which is now an inescapable issue in development policies in accordance with the MDGs.
Established in March 2005 on the initiative of President Wade, The Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) saw wider involvement of African countries in the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis that same year. The DSF promotes innovative development funding - e.g. the voluntary "1% digital solidarity principle". An International Conference on Digital Solidarity, the central theme of which will focus on "New forms of solidarity for development", will be organized in Lyon, France, on November 24.
Lastly, the European Union commends the success of the Kigali Summit in October 2007 organized by the ITU within the framework of the "Connect Africa" initiative to develop ICT infrastructure in Africa, to which it recalls its strong commitment. The EU encourages this type of regional initiative.