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Pacific Internet Partners Join Forces

Pacific Internet Partners Join Forces

Improving opportunities and skills for information and communication technology (ICT) professionals in the Pacific is the driving goal behind a new collaborative initiative joining New Zealand and international organisations.

The Pacific Internet Partners initiative has been established by the New Zealand National Commission for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO NZ), the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Apia Country Office and the Internet Society of New Zealand (Internet NZ) through the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding.

The Pacific Internet Partners will work to improve the skill levels of ICT professionals in the Cooks Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau- countries chosen for their strong links to New Zealand and the organisations involved.

Laurence Zwimpfer, Deputy Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and Communications specialist says, “The development of ICT skills in the Pacific is important to the region, and this collaboration of New Zealand and international forces will benefit the backbone of ICT development- its professionals.”

In the coming year, planned activities include supporting the annual PIGNet Conference being held in Vanuatu, fostering the establishment of national ICT Professional organisations, and establishing internship and mentoring exchange programmes between New Zealand and the Pacific nations involved.

“InternetNZ has had a strong call from our membership to do something in the Pacific,” says Keith Davidson, President of InternetNZ. “By combining forces with UNDP who are on the ground in these countries, and UNESCO’s influence we’ll be getting significantly more ‘bang for our buck’.”

Ms. Joyce Yu from UNDP’s Apia office says “This is a great initiative that will allow us to better leverage resources. UNDP sees the development of ICT skills as critical to the achievement of the UN’s Millennium Goals.” Don Hollander, a New Zealand technologist who has recently returned from two-years in Samoa where he worked with UNDP on a number of projects, has also been involved in InternetNZ and works on a committee for UNESCO NZ. He says “We’ve structured this agreement so that additional parties who have aligned objectives can also join, providing even more coordination and leverage.”

UNESCO New Zealand is an organisation of eminent people and industry leaders, who focus on the five areas of UNESCO’s global objectives – education, natural science, social science, culture and communications. UNESCO New Zealand has an explicit objective of focusing its energies to assist the peoples of the Pacific and has strong interest in developing the ICT capabilities of the peoples of the Pacific.

InternetNZ is a New Zealand based NGO with a mandate to support and foster the Internet in New Zealand. InternetNZ has an explicit mandate from its membership to further promote the effective use of the Internet in the Pacific Islands.

UNDP is a principal United Nations provider of development advice, advocacy and grant support to governments, and civil society through partnerships for sustainable human development. The UNDP Apia Office is responsible for activities in Samoa, Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands. One of UNDP’s priority areas is to encourage and foster the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to achieve its broader objective of sustainable human development and the Millennium Development Goals.

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