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First UN InfoTech Centre Approved for Asia-Pacific

First UN Information Technology Centre Approved for Asia-Pacific Region

New York, May 18 2005 1:00PM

The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) wrapped up its annual session today by approving a landmark decision to establish in the UN’s first information and communications technology training centre for the region.

The Training Centre for Information and Communications Technology (APCICT) for Development, expected to open in 2006 in the Republic of Korea and cost $10 million, is intended to help build the capacity of ESCAP member countries through training programmes in the use of information and communications technology (ICT).

ESCAP finished the work of its sixty-first session in Bangkok by also adopting 11 other resolutions – the largest number the Commission has passed in a decade – calling for coherent policies and strategies sorely needed to breach the region’s cycles of poverty. They include enhancing the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and economic and social programmes for the region to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound actions for reducing or eliminating a host of socio-economic ills.

“The Commission was a success and addressed the problems of bridging the poverty gap, and finding fresh ways to deal with challenges in the region. We must make poverty history,” said Foreign Minister Kassymzhomart Tokaev of Kazakhstan, the meeting’s Chair. ESCAP welcomed Indonesia’s offer to host next year’s session, and endorsed “Enhancing regional cooperation in infrastructure development, including that related to disaster management,” as its 2006 theme.

ESCAP Executive Secretary Kim Hak-Su urged donor countries to fulfil pledges to countries devastated by last December’s tsunami at a High-level Panel on Tsunami Recovery Development. He said that only about $ 2.5 billion out of a pledged $6.7 billion had been paid so far by donors, and that up to $ 15 billion would be needed for recovery efforts over the next three to five years in the five most devastated countries.
During the session’s ministerial segment, the UN envoy for the world’s poorest countries, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, called on developing countries to open up their markets to take advantage of the tremendous potential for trade with Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

“Slow economic growth, poor trade performance, continuing environmental degradation, debilitating HIV/AIDS pandemic, discouraging foreign direct investment and unmet official development assistance (ODA) commitments compounded by a host of new challenges in a globalizing world, make the development tasks of these countries much more difficult,” he said, adding: “The MDGs will not be achieved globally unless we are able to support effectively these most vulnerable countries in achieving their goals.”

ENDS

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