Report of the discussion
Navid Hanif, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
One should always begin with optimism, yet I want to begin with skepticism and then come down to how the 2030 agenda can help us in achieving inclusion and sustainability.
There are still great challenges when it comes to development and the role of technology in this sense. Technological change is not neutral, it has positive and negative effects and not everyone can benefit from new technologies, it depends on your status within society.
In the past 25 years, change has been welcomed without a concern about global inclusion.
Our assumptions are being challenged: nowadays, we are increasingly falling short in meeting and fulfilling human demands and needs and thus we should be asking ourselves whether technological progress stimulated by the digital revolution (such as digitalization) could benefit everyone, whether we could make them inclusive.
Many countries and societies who have been developing very quickly if compared to the long industrial revolutions developed countries have gone through (for instance the UK), such as India and China, are having difficulties in coping with the pace and scale of change. This is why there are many protests. They are not producing inclusive and sustainable societies.
The SDGs were not conceived in a vacuum: climate change, financial crisis, protests in many countries.
This is when the 2030 agenda comes in as an answer to the call for more inclusion and sustainability, it is a comprehensive agenda that addresses globalization in all of its dimensions, from the economic elements to the social inclusion.
But it must be implemented, it must not only be a manifesto.
No one must be left behind, capturing economic progress element, social inclusion element.
An example in this sense is SDG 9, promoting innovation and industrialization.
No society can develop without soft and hard infrastructures. Urbanization is high, its pace indicates that if we do not innovate quickly, we cannot cope with the crowd coming to the cities.
ECOSOC is tackling this problem and with FAO and UNIDO is working to promote new solutions. In addition, it is working with Infopoverty to give practical solutions.
2030 agenda is designed to leave no one behind, but it cannot be implemented by a single individual or a single company or country, for the larger good of this planet and humanity cooperation between many stakeholders is needed.
This is why ECOSOC is launching many projects such as platforms bringing as many actors together as possible in designing practical initiatives to push the agenda forward.
Acceleration is needed to achieve the agenda’s goals: we need more programs and partnerships such as Infopoverty to do it.
Adriano Monti, on behalf of H.E. Amb. Sebastiano Cardi Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Ambassador of Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN
The use of ICTs as tools for development tackles a key issue in reaching SDG1, ending poverty everywhere leaving no one behind.
Italy lines to the Addis Abeba Agenda, highlighting the role of science, technology innovation and capacity building as drivers for growth and sustainable development.
Connectivity is bringing marketing information and financial services to remote areas, changing people’s lives.
New ICTs and, in particular, high speed internet are changing business, transforming delivery of public services and democratizing innovation.
Indeed, according to the World Bank, economic growth can increase with an improvement in high speed internet. Open data can help us make better use of existing resources and enhance global development on education, health, poverty reduction or aid spending. Open accessible data, free to access also help to measure progress, target programs, fight corruption and stimulate growth. E-commerce is a valuable tool in this sense, on the way to SDG1, giving access to market to small-scale remote producers who would be excluded from the beneficial effects of globalization.
H.E. Amb. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador of Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN
It is important to discuss Infopoverty and possibility of ICT applications to tackle questions of poverty alleviation in many parts of the world. Japan has a unique experience thank to TICAD, Tokyo International Conference for African Development. Its action plan deploys the application of ICTs in various countries in Africa. How can we use ICTs to attain poverty alleviation and countries’ development? The significance of ICT for development has grown enormously since 2001, when the first IWC was held. This is especially true now that ICT has turned its attention to cross sectoral implementation of SDGs.
The role of ICTs in Japan development activities with partner countries (TICAD): one of its primary features is the emphasis on the ownership by African nations. Indeed, the forum exists to support development as promoted by African people themselves.
It focuses on quality infrastructure investment and capacities in crops program, working hand in hand to introduce maximum results out of input of assistance and technological transfer.
The success of any investment must be measured by its long term contribution to the sustainable development of the countries in the region.
This is the principle of investment, building quality infrastructure also involving technology.
When investing, it is important to develop and build capacity on the ground, so that the infrastructure built will be fully operational and human resources can be enhanced through an active engagement of people involved in them.
ICTs may not be as tangible as other infrastructures investment, yet they are crucial to support sustainable development and economical activity at all level.
ICT for development requires effort from the users to learn how to use them.
In TICAD, we recognize that ICT can build network among activities, such as remote education. One of the projects activated within the TICAD framework aims at cancelling digital divide by providing computers and high speed internet access to universities students living in remote areas of Cameroon so that they can catch up on the latest updates in the information society, scientific research.
Rwanda: private sector and public sector development in the country by creating open knowledge hub for future entrepreneurs, and a lab to commercialize the ideas from the other lab. Both labs were created by the government and supporting also Japanese investors entering market of Rwanda.
Various stakeholders and private sector will announce efforts to present innovative solutions and implement technologies to promote development, in the hope there will be solutions to be applied directly to the field to contribute to the implementation of the SDGs.
Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, UN-DESA
I was asked to deliver opening remarks today, since the United Nations DESA Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), which I have the honor to lead, among many other functions, it is also mandated to advise UN Member States and key stakeholders on strategic poverty eradication policies. I asked myself, therefore, how the theme of this year’s Infopoverty Conference “Transferring knowledge and adequate technologies” is linked to Goal 1 of the 2030 Agenda “End Poverty in all its forms everywhere”. How can, in fact, the strategic use of technology help to achieve poverty eradication? In this spirit, I would like to share with you four key points: What does the Division for Social Policy and Development (SPD) do to end poverty? What are the progress and challenges related to the role of ICTs looking it from the social perspectives? What is the role of technology and digital divide? Which is it going to be the way forward?
I adopt such a social based approach because the division I head, the Division for social policy and development, takes care of social dimension of poverty. The other two are economic and environmental.
All recent agreements and treaties are done for people and the 2030 agenda is people-centered as well as the work of my division, where people are at the center.
Sharing knowledge is crucial to empower people. Finding adequate technologies is the key to promote prosperity and end poverty.
Our mandate derives from the Copenhagen Summit on Social Development of 1995 to strengthen international cooperation in the areas related to poverty eradication, employment and decent work, social integration and inclusion, and the reduction of social inequality, as well as to promote the wellbeing of vulnerable social groups of the society.
The Department is the focal point for the UN concerning specific vulnerable social groups: youth, elders, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and issues such as families, cooperatives.
It is clear that the UN has been accelerating its efforts in addressing poverty: indeed, eradicating poverty in all its forms is the overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted here in the United Nations Headquarters in September of 2015.
This year, the High-level Political Forum will hold its annual meeting under the theme of: “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.”
The ECOSOC High-Level Segment during the High-level Political Forum will be focused on “Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges”.
Also, DSPD supports intergovernmental subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC, which are all working to eradicate poverty.
The priority is to find strategies to eradicate poverty and to achieve sustainable development for all. And finally, this year is also the last year of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017).
As you understand, the time to not only talk but also act full speed towards finally achieving poverty eradication for all in all its forms is now.
Of course, from the perspectives of the social dimensions of sustainable development, progress has been made throughout the past decades; however, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Allow me to share with you a few facts. While extreme poverty continues to decline rapidly, an estimated 767 million people or almost 11 per cent of the world’s population lived below US$1.90 per person per day in 2013. Nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger. Lack of electricity affects 1.1 billion people and water scarcity more than 2 billion. On the employment side, over 201 million people are unemployed globally and almost 3 million more are expected to join the unemployment ranks in 2018. At the same time, we are also witnessing alarming trends of rising inequality and social exclusion in both developed and developing countries.
We have learnt the following lesson: policies, strategies and actions must be inclusive, equitable and sustained in order to fight poverty. Economic justice and social justice must work hand in hand so that no one is left behind by progress itself.
Even though the world has made tremendous progress against poverty, some vulnerable groups of the society are still more likely to be living in poverty, including indigenous peoples, women, the elderly, the youth and persons with disabilities.
One very important lesson we have learned in successfully reducing extreme poverty is that technology, which is what we are focused on today, does indeed offer solutions when sharing knowledge and technologies are accessible, inclusive, equitable and sustainable and must be combined with social justice so that no one is left behind by progress. In fact, let us not forget that inequitable access to technology can in fact contribute to widening inequality and worsen poverty.
We have to use technology benefitting everybody. New technologies have changed our lifestyle in all domains. Technology carries, in fact, enormous potential for the future of our societies and our economy. Technology has been transforming the way we work, do business, educate, provide health services, interact with governments, and even socialize. New technologies can build peaceful and inclusive societies, and can be used as a powerful tool in tackling challenges such as climate change, food security, medical emergencies, employment for youth and many more.
As Mr Saporito told me, a farmer in a remote village can receive advice regarding his crops thanks to technology by sending one picture of his crops. That is a perfect example of sharing knowledge and technology, this is the social progress and the positive aspect of using technology for the benefit of all.
However, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3.9 billion people, more than half of the world population does not have access to internet yet: this is representative of how the level of digital divide can worsen existing social inequality and create new ones. Everyone should benefit from new technologies, to create progress instead of regression. For the Division for Social Policy and Development, the challenge we are facing is how vulnerable social groups people including older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and youth can have access to such innovations and technologies and benefit fully from them.
Today, persons with disabilities make up an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population, or 1 billion people, of whom an estimated 80 per cent live in developing countries. Technologies, including ICT and assistive devices, are becoming more and more essential for persons with disabilities for their daily participation in work, education and in social and cultural spheres. The advancements and opportunities from different technologies give access and create opportunities for individuals to meet their independence needs. Therefore, technology is essential to combat poverty among persons with disabilities.
It is also necessary for elders to manage medication as well as assist them in driving and transportation, for indigenous people to preserve and revitalize their languages and share cultural content and for youth to mobilize, collaborate, study, find employment and create entrepreneurship, acquire the relevant skills, to build their capacities and to gain decent and productive work.
The 2030 Agenda reaffirms that multi-stakeholder partnerships are essential for the international community to achieve its goals. The work of organizations such as OCCAM is important in supporting the endeavors of the United Nations to achieve their ambitious sustainable development goals and targets.
At the heart of this new Agenda is the goal to end poverty by 2030. In this regard, inclusive and innovative technologies can indeed play a catalytic role. All three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental can benefit from technology and technology can in fact be a key enabler to achieve the end poverty and promote prosperity.
We can support member states by contributing to intergovernmental process and work together with a people-centered approach to reach the most vulnerable people.
Let us advance in partnerships that empower people to fully use the digital tools at their disposal. Let us invest in connectivity, innovation and accessibility in order to make our cities, villages and societies more inclusive and equitable.
Let us make sure that the benefits of knowledge sharing and technology and ICTs will be extended to all, reaching vulnerable people and bridging the digital divide.
In the conversations that follow, I encourage you to keep these things in mind. Technology can and should be a key enabler in the fight against poverty.
Technology and ICTs should be the means and not the end. They should be accessible, usable, affordable by all people of all ages, leaving no one behind.
Informing about poverty is not just about economic growth, but also about social progress.
Pierpaolo Saporito, OCCAM and Infopoverty President
The Infopoverty World Conference, organized since 2001 points out yearly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York the most innovative solutions and the best practices elaborated with the United Nations system, governments and the civil society, to empower the fight to poverty. Born from the successful realization of 2 ICT villages in Honduras, where we demonstrated how even the most disadvantaged communities can empower their capacities to escape from poverty and reach wellbeing through ICT – the conference continues to promote solutions, best practices, projects and actions in the frame of a theoretical discussion, about the role and the future of the incoming digital era, following over the years the rapid evolution of the so-called digital revolution, which effects now all humanity.
The World Food Security e-Center is a great opportunity to promote the importance of digital in telemedicine and food security. The theme of this year’s conference is Transferring knowledge and adequate technologies:the way to combat poverty and make the world safer, in fact we want to give them skills to promote their own resources in their villages. This important initiative on the subject of nutrition has expanded even more concretely with EXPO 2015. Milan has launched this project with the synergy of laboratories, associations, universities and experts that we define service providers as their skills will be the basics necessary for the launch of the platform that will be later illustrated by the team of professionals in Milan.
We also need to act digitally in order to tackle poverty issues with an innovative approach applied to existing tools in order to have immediate and concrete results. Through the platform we want to connect with the poorest countries in a direct way in order to pick up their problems, solve them and prevent them. The same mechanism can also be applied to health issues for which we have been involved in previous projects.
The World Food Security e-Center is capable to provide directly to communities in need Telemedicine, eLearning, e-Training and e-agriculture services through this global digital platform. So, I officially open the discussion with Milan.
Co-Chair: Melchiade Bukuru, Chief, UNCCD Liaison Office in New York
Thank you all. I wish to extend my greetings to my Milan’ colleagues. In our session we respond to a specific question: how ICTs can help to change our lives better and how can we develop the food security. ICTs in general, and Artificial Intelligence in particular, used in good ways, are likely to accelerate the achievement of SDGs, especially in helping monitoring the SDGs indicators. For instance, in UNCCD, we are committed to facilitate achieving land degradation neutrality as SDG target 15.3. ICT will help us to bridge the knowledge gap in the way we measure the extent of land cover or the stocks of carbon below and above the ground. This is of particular importance in that today there is a striking coincidence that the geography of land degradation and desertification coincides with that of abject poverty, chronic malnutrition, hunger, political instability, conflict and where disasters wreak the most havoc. This is also the geography of the most left behind, those that the 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development committed to give a priority.
Therefore, I am excited to hear from experts how new technologies can contribute to the development of food security.
Co-Chair:Barbara Forni,Official representative of the European Parliament Information Office in Milan
During this session we will present the center and our digital platform, very important for rural development in emerging countries. But first of all, I show you a video of Brando Benifei that he could not join us today.
Carmine Pacente, President International Affairs Post EXPO Commission, City of Milan
Mr Pacente recalled briefly his activities for the Commission, highlighting that the Commission, among others, has the task to follow the development of the predicted and predictable actions in the Expo areas. Referring to the World Food Security e–Center proposed by OCCAM, in collaboration with Mr Salvatore Crapanzano, a delegate from Ordine degli Ingegneri of Milan, Mr Pacente congratulated for the achievements reached by the project and focused his attention on the potential results that the World Food Security e-Center can obtain in Milan, and in particular in former EXPO 2015 areas. Moreover, Mr Pacente, in order to give a further operative concreteness to the project as a Legacy of EXPO 2015, undertook the commitment to both raise the issue to the International Affairs Commission Post Expo, European Policies, and to involve directly the Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Maurizio Martina, who played a relevant and direct role on these issues during EXPO 2015.
Brando Benifei, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament
In the full digital era, the so-called ICTs should be considered. ICTs are now at reach of everyone and can become a formidable tool to ensure more inclusive education, health and food security while, at the same time, are increasing occupation, trade and general well-being.
So, I give you my support in this important initiative that is able to exploit the great potential of ICTs and the struggle for development. In fact, new technologies can solve many problems in different areas.
They represent a great opportunity for both economic development and communication as they allow a fair access to information. New technologies are an opportunity because they allow us to get in touch with developing countries and connect governments with their communities. Every digital device can be an advantage, because new technologies can bring new changes. Hence, it is necessary to invest resources in this area and to create training opportunities. ICTs, in fact, provide remote specialist expertise, assisting on-site production processes, and ensuring high levels of food safety and security.
Giuseppe Enne, NRD-UNISS, Steering Committee, HFSeC
First of all, I present the mission of our Health Food Security e-Center: its purpose is to transfer appropriate technology and knowledge providing digital services for rural development and urban nutrition. Food safety is based on very strong issues related to the atmosphere, malnutrition, epidemics, animal disease, and so on and so forth. The main advantage of the Health Food Security e-Center is very simple: prevents experts from travelling around the world with considerable costs and time or energy consuming. The idea was born also thanks to the existence of ICT opportunities:
- Sharing knowledge and transferring technology
- Creating a HUB able to understand user’s needs and find adequate solutions to help them
- Assisting developing countries on rural development and urban nutrition
With this picture I show the architecture of the system
The digital platform of the Health Food Security e-Center is the tool designed to apply innovative services on a large scale and in the world. Through the platform we could assist countries, institutions and people, to develop an adequate, fast and efficient food security. The service providers are laboratories and universities that are structured as a consortium. In fact, the project has received the endorsement of many associations, for example the Italian Association of the Italian Agriculture Science AISSA, Desertification Research Centre of Sassari or PTP Science Park, to name a few. Finally, I quote this phrase “from seed to the table”, that is adapting technologies and digital devices to the different phase, from production to distribution, preserving land and contributing to accelerate climate ambition.
Rita Pizzi,Department of Computer Science, University of Milan
I would like to make a practical demonstration of the platform: the global connectivity and the smartphone large diffusion allows to implement better life conditions for disadvantaged people and communities. Driven by the urgent humanitarian needs highlighted by OCCAM, Observatory of Digital Communications and the Infopoverty Program, the University of Milan realized the Health Food Security E-Center, devoted to give a help to the emerging countries on rural development and urban nutrition, sharing knowledge and adequate solutions. The software platform exists also as a Telemedicine service in the frame of the Program “Milan in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and related diseases” supported by the Municipality of Milan, serving as a consulting tool and health information exchange and it can be added in the future as further service of the integrated platform. After the registration, service users (from the developing countries) can access to the platform and service providers (specialized laboratories and academic experts) then can address the problems raised by the users. The whole platform is coordinated by the Health Food Security e-Center Hub Manager, who can control the correct addressing and finalization of all the information transactions. In particular, all the users will be able to:
- Have a view the global, but also the personal and group activities stream, posting directly their questions or sending a short message to other users.
- Ask or provide information, submit files or see the published ones.
- Provide courses uploading documents, images and links to videos, and attending them.
- Get or add contact infos of the service users or service providers subscribed to the platform.
- Manage or join a real time multiuser VOIP videoconference.
- Connect to a suitable channel for transmission of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) signals coming from suitable sensors installed in the developing countries, yielding useful real time data.
- Query the data store to access to all the published information, and create reports and statistics.
You can have the access to the online platform, as well as all the generated documents, by PCs as well as from mobile phones, both online and offline, providing a synchronous and asynchronous information exchange. After the necessary testing phase and the involvement of a group of experts and laboratories, the platform will be immediately available to all the users in the need of remote assistance.
Carla Mucavi, Director, FAO Liaison Office in New York
I am very pleased to be here and be able to share some aspects of the project with you. During this conference, very important topics are being addressed and the need to provide support to countries suffering from these issues are being underlined as well. The Infopoverty has allowed us to know and use some very important issues such as ICT, new technologies and knowledge transfer.
All this has a major role in the development of the agenda. To support them, to adapt and to claim a change and to increase their realization. They are a fundamental part of our toolbox that we use, for example, for the development of agricultural practices. New technologies do not represent the ultimate solution but certainly a hand to respond to the needs of communities. Let me say that working together allows us to involve the local community as well. Moreover, following the previous speech, I think that the use of the platform is indispensable in order to make a contribution and a solution to the criticalities of these countries. All this cannot happen without the spread of technology and information in developing countries and by exploiting the potential of ICTs. No one should be left behind.
Kohsuke Hara, Programme Manager, Development Programme Alliance Forum Foundation
Today, here I am presenting an important project called “Spirulina Project”, to be realized in Zambia. The mission of this project is the development of a new industry in a new era. The project involves nutrition social business and consulting and is aims to support developing countries with new technologies, create telecommunications, energy, new materials, advanced medicine and also combat malnutrition, which is one of the major cause of poverty. About two billion people suffer from micronutrients malnutrition and this has a negative impact on the health condition especially in children, and it increments greater risk of serious diseases like diabetes and cancer and it also brings societal effects and conflicts. We need to create a thick educated middle class in Africa. Furthermore, it is affordable for all the people who need. In the end “Spirulina” has three important characteristics:
- High nutrition
- Grow with limited resources
- Born in Africa
“Spirulina” aims at locally sustainable health improvements in Zambia.
Pasquale Pistorio, Honorary President, STMicroelectronics
With my foundation I have always been busy with a unification program to bring IT education to developing countries. Thanks to this millions of people have been confident with the use of new technologies. In fact for the training they were provided with the tools, computers and internet access. I also would like to underline the importance of changing this critical situation that has been immobile for too long. This could be happen with the collaboration and the contribution of all corporations in order to accelerate the development of these countries and therefore encourage the design of the World Food Security e-Center whose mission is to make a breakthrough in the path of these countries. We must ally together and create a single force otherwise I will not solve the problem of poverty in the world.
Claudia Sorlini, Scientific Committee, City of Milan
The Health Food Security e-Center is wholly constituted by the main goals of the millennium, in particular among them we find gender equality, support and development of villages and cities, climate change and food security. The project wants to give assistance and improve food security. Other important aims are cooperation with the communities and governments, exchange technologies and experiences. In addition, the Center will feature experts at the digital platform, coming not only from Italy but also from other countries in the world.
This project is also less expensive than other more traditional ones.
I would also like to recall that we also have cooperation with the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact that was launched by the experts of Milan at the 2015 expo. This project was written by 44 municipalities, 140 mayors and it has involved many cities in the North and South of the world. The Urban Food Policy Pact represents one of the most important legacy of the universal expositions. The project seeks to ensure social and economic equality and food health.
Toshihiko Murata, OCCAM Representative to the UN reading a statement from Ambassador Inoussa Ousseini, ICFT President
Knowledge and information have a significant impact on people’s lives. The sharing of knowledge and information, particularly through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has the power to transform economies and societies. UNESCO works to create inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of UNESCO’s domains, particularly in eradication of poverty. Knowledge societies must build on five pillars:
- universal access to information and knowledge;
- respect for cultural and linguistic diversity;
Role of audiovisual sector which is one of the pillars of the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT). The thrust to create knowledge societies is premised on the conviction that universal access to information is key to building peace, sustainable economic development, and intercultural dialogue. ICFT, in line of UNESCO’s program, promotes ‘Openness’ in content, technology, and processes through awareness raising, policy formulation and capacity building. Central to their mandate of combating poverty, promoting peace and intercultural dialogue, both UNESCO and ICFT consider that adequate technologies are the best way and means to achieve the renewed MDG. Moreover, development of audiovisual sector promotes international comprehension in particular through local content production in different languages.In order to succeed in this constantly changing environment, and to resolve problems effectively in every facet of life, individuals, communities and nations should obtain a critical set of competencies to be able to seek information, critically evaluate it and create new information and knowledge. Information Literacy creates new opportunities to improve the quality of our lives and to alleviate poverty. In this sense we believe that the World Food Security e-Center is an exemplary initiative that demonstrates the great potential of the new technologies capable of contributing concretely to the realization of our objectives.
Pierpaolo Saporito, OCCAM and Infopoverty President
To conclude, the Health Food Security e- Center is useful for farmers in industrialized countries, which often need rapid and complete information on issues and emergencies. In fact, it wants to go to represent a response to new and worrying needs. This project is also presented with many facets as it can be a valuable help and tool for governments to open a communication channel with their own population and hopes that the birth of this project will be a glue that unites the various associations. This initiative must also be sustained and shared because it opens up new perspectives.
Giuseppe Enne, NRD-UNISS, Steering Committee, HFSeC
To conclude, you must not miss this opportunity, support local governments and access to the platform, to ensure the flow of information and to create a community of knowledge. It is necessary to seize this opportunity and ensure the development of the Health Food Security e-Center in Africa and other developing countries.
Patrizio Civili, IDLO Permanent Observer to the UN
Opening remark as Chair
As a longtime participant I am struck by how consistent these conferences have been throughout the years: consistent in their messages as to the unique contribution that ICTs can make to human progress and to combatting poverty and exclusion; and consistent in being result-oriented in bringing practical action, lessons learned and real accomplishments to back up these messages. There has, at the same time, been a deliberate effort to ensure that these conferences reflect the continuing change we are witnessing in the capacity and reach of ICTs and the evolving multilateral framework within which ICT policies and actions need to be pursued: the MDGs through the first fifteen years of this century, and, now, the drive towards the SDGs. The “fit” of the messages of these conferences with the SDGs is manifold: ICTs are powerful tools for knowledge and policy integration, for responding to the SDGs’ call to leave no one behind, and for redressing the inequalities that the SDGs highlight as crucial impediments to sustainable development. In turn, the specific initiatives promoted by these conferences are all deliberately geared to address the basic economic and social rights, the right to food, to health, to basic
services, on which the SDGs are anchored. Also, as instruments to bridge the many “divides” that fuel conflict, ICTs can serve as powerful agents of peacebuilding as well as social development.
Christopher B. Smithers, President, The Christopher D. Smithers Foundation
The Christopher D. Smithers Foundation has been involved for 10 years on and off, especially in the last two years, after the Climate Summit in Africa.We know by our experience that the missing element with government plans or development plans when dealing with wellness and health is mental health and wellness and alcohol and drugs.
Through smartphone technology and especially ICTs, we could bring universities such as Colombia university right to villages in rural parts of Africa. Concrete info will be provided by Dr Wainberg from Columbia University. He has been involved in Africa with smartphone technology in Mozambique, teaching how to treat people through smartphone technologies connected toUS or medical centers based elsewhere, bringing the best medical care to remote communities who would not receive without ICTs. The Foundation interest lays in making sure money has the best impact. That is the first prerequisite of any involvement and the ICT is helpful in this sense because with little money you can help a lot of people.
I will now give the floor to Wainberg to deal with specific and concrete projects, especially in Africa, concerning mental health in particular, that is the focus of the foundation and is part of a plan while helping people with food security, water safety and progress. Healthy people start with a healthy mind.
Milton Wainberg, Scientific Co-Director, Global Mental Health Program, Columbia University
Director, Global Mental Health T32 and D43 NIH Research Fellowships
Principal Investigator, PRIDES sSA – Partnerships in Research to Implement and Disseminate Sustainable and Scalable Evidence Based Practices in sub-Saharan Africa.
The burden of disease data quantifies the magnitude of health loss, namely, the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population, in every country, region and globally. DALYs are calculated as the sum of the Years of Life Lost (YLL) due to premature mortality in the population and the Years Lost due to Disability (YLD) for people living with the health condition or its consequences. Africa has the highest DALYs compared to other continents. Since 1993 and every year thereafter it has been determined that mental and substance use disorders represent the highest YLD and DALYs worldwide. The magnitude of health loss due to mental and substance use disorders is vast; the global costs of mental disorders was estimated at US$2.5 trillion in 2010 and is expected to reach US$6.0 trillion by 2030.
Why is this the case? Half of all chronic mental disorders start at age 14 and 20% of children globally has a mental disorder. The early onset of chronic mental and substance use disorders during adolescence negatively impacts individuals with these disorders during what would ordinarily be the most productive years of life, that is, between 15 and 49 years of age. Also, mental and substance use disorders are highly co-morbid with infectious and non-communicable disorders. For example, depression is highly prevalent among people with tuberculosis, cancer, HIV, cardiovascular illnesses, and women in the perinatal period. Thus, one in four adults have a mental illness.
There are effective treatments for mental illness that include both medications and short-term therapies. Early treatment decreases the impact of mental illnesses and therefore its burden. Further, treatment has a direct impact on others. For example, treating the depression among women in the perinatal period also normalizes the newborn and infant milestones, which are below standard if the mother’s depression is not treated. Similarly, treating a child’s mental disorder decreases the mother’s psychiatric symptoms.
In low- and middle-income countries, 75% of those with mental disorders do not receive care, and when treatment is provided, it tends to be below minimal standards, accompanied by profound stigma and discrimination, and human rights abuses. The inclusion of mental health and substance abuse in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may have a positive impact in decreasing this global mental health treatment gap, which is also substantial in high-income countries. The WHO estimates that each dollar invested in mental health treatment returns about US$4 in improved health and ability to work. Yet, up until now, governments’ funding to provide public mental and substance use services are minimal, ranging from 0.5% to 5% of the total health budget in low-income and high income countries, respectively. Consequently, the existing human resources to provide mental and substance use care globally are minimal. The current ratio is one mental health specialist for two million individuals; this numbers are far worse in low resource settings.
Mozambique is the seventh poorest country in the world and has a population of 25 million inhabitants. Currently, there are only 13 psychiatrists and 78 psychologists in the Mozambique public health system of care. To expand its mental health coverage, in 1996, Mozambique’s Ministry of Health began training high school graduates as psychiatric technicians; currently, about 250 psychiatric technicians provide mental and substance use services in urban health facilities. Because 67% of Mozambique’s population lives rurally, most people don’t have access to mental and substance use care. Rural areas also lack Internet connectivity, which limit the use of information and communication technologies such as telemedicine and videoconferencing as a tool to increase access. Mental mHealth technology implemented by mental health specialists has demonstrated efficacy compared to other methods of intervention delivery for some specific disorders, for example, depression and alcohol use disorders. Like in most sub-Saharan African countries, community health workers are charged with multiple health related activities; however, they seldom or never are charged with mental health services. mHealth or mobile health technology via smartphones or tablets operated by community health workers has been used for multiple health conditions in several sub-Saharan African countries, including Mozambique, although is yet to be used to deliver mental and substance use services.
The next step is to scale up mHealth comprehensive community health and mental health integrated care throughout systems of care implemented by lay personnel to increase health and mental health access to rural communities.
Ryadh Ben Sliman, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN
ICTs are enablers for development. If we focus on Tunisia for example, we can see the positive contribution of Infopoverty program for rural communities and developing countries through the use of ICTs, with the creation of the ICT village of Borj Ettouil by OCCAM.
An Infopoverty seminar was held in Tunisia in June 2004 with the major representatives of International Organizations aiming at eradicating poverty. The advisory board was set with three priorities: e-health, e-learning and e-governance. The project was designed to integrate different kind of technologies, thus bringing further innovation. In Borj Ettouil, a community center, a school and a health center were built , each provided with technology based on people’s needs.
Then in November 2005, during the WSIS Summit in Tunis, organized by UN, this ICT village model was certified at UN level and recognized as an efficient device in the fight against poverty with the use of ICTs.
We are now in the second year of the SDGs, a great challenge that requires governments, private sector and civil society to work together, as recognized in the Tunis Agenda, first agreed in 2005 in Tunisia, which focuses on the use of ICTs to build inclusive and development oriented information societies. The ICT sector is a dynamic and a priority sector in Tunisia, with one of the highest growth rate. Digital economy is the answer to deliver equality of chances and sustainability.
We also want to draw attention on the promising private public partnerships between Africa Middle East and Europe. In this framework, the project called Smart Tunisia is anticipated to create 50 000 jobs for skilled workers over the next five years and drive 15% annual growth in the ICT sector.
There is also the ICT 4 ALL platform for all stakeholders to get grips with the development of the agenda and to follow the ICTs progress in the region.
In reference to the role of ICTs in the achievement of the SDGs, there are still many challenges to be addressed, namely: an affordable and universal access for all, increasing multilanguage content, accessibility, cultural diversity, capacity building and participation in global policy development.
Private sector and government of course need to cooperate to facilitate the development and deployment of ICT solution.
We hope that a project shaped one the model of Borj Ettouil will be reproduced in many other rural communities to help them to join development processes.
Asahi Ota, Programme Officer and Nutritionist, Alliance Forum Foundation
First of all, at the very beginning of the implementation of the Spirulina project, we conduct a survey of the situation concerning food and nutrition in the area before making a nutrition activity plan. the survey is called Key Foods survey, in the sense of food that is accessible, obtainable and affordable. It lasts 24 hours and it allows researchers to obtain many details about the household, the food expenses and dietary habits, shopping deciding menu and cooking, and nutritional intake of infants.
We investigated one community in Zambia in 2015. Their diet was mainly composed of carbs and green leaf vegetables, such as Nshima and rape. Hence, they clearly lacked proteins and micronutrients. So we suggested adding complementary proteins and micronutrients easily accessible to this community, such as Kapenta (dried fish) once a day, 1/6 orange as a snack and Spirulina. Spirulina provides the community inhabitants with the still lacking micronutrients, such as Zinc and Vitamin B2. Spirulina does not need to be cooked, you can use it as a powder. Hence, simplicity can lead to sustainability.
What is the problem in conducting surveys and selecting what is necessary? Key Foods Survey throughout the Spirulina Project are conducted manually, on paper basis because there is not enough electricity to use any device. An application of ICTs to the survey would make it a lot faster. There are solar panels in the community and if they were correctly maintained (right now they are not), we could use them to obtain electricity. For such a thing to work, education, observation and maintenance should be provided to the community. Furthermore, another problem is the lack of map. A correct map is necessary, not to get lost and to track food activities.
Third problem, there is no internet so people do not have a connection or an e-mail address and this means that information cannot reach them, even if they wanted. If they could get information, their nutrition data would be much better. Cooperation is needed to scale up the project and work together more effectively.
We want to end by advancing a proposal: we are working to create a set of logos to mark food so that people can understand if that aliment is feasible and suitable for their age, lifestyle and health conditions.
Ambassador L.V. Lierop, Former Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the UN
I had prepared to talk about the great need for ICT application in developing countries and the great advantage that developed countries have had by using them. Yet it can be noticed how technology does not always work properly even in the US. In the case of the developing world, though, the digital divide is not a choice, it is something that has been imposed on its inhabitants and that they can do little to change. The lapses in technology and knowledge in the developing world, instead, are a matter of choice, of political will.
There are means to address lacks and issues, but the problem is that they are not correctly or willingly used.
My reflection starts with an observation made in Brazil 25 years ago when on the verge to adopt UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). At that time, it was reported that one country (US) with 5% of world population consumed 25% of fossil fuels burnt annually, 33% of the papers, 24% of the aluminum, 13% of fertilizers, and so on and so forth. The average middle income person living in the US assumes throughout his/her lifetime many behaviors not respectable of environment and consumes an awful amount of resources.
There is the hope that in the last 25 years the situation has changed but it has probably worsened instead. Income inequality is now a major problem in the US, as clearly shown by the last presidential elections, but then what does this tell about income, health, economic and development inequality in the rest of the world? What about the inequality between most countries, such as Vanuatu and Suriname, and the US? Most countries in the world combined together do not consume as much as the US do.
We have to understand that sharing technology with developing countries is not about charity. In Vanuatu, people work to extract resources used to manufacture and produce pharmaceuticals they will never be able to afford to buy and use. The world cannot continue with this inequality. We have a moral imperative to eradicate it. As Ambassador Mac Donald said, the issue of access to the broad band is a human rights issue.
Every generation faces its own moral dilemmas. There are people who questions the science of climate change and its severe consequences on the mental and physical well-being of people in the frontline of climate change, living in the small islands where food and water supply and the very essence of life are at risk.
Intellectual property laws are a very major part of the problem in this sense: the international community must address international property laws and the role they play in denying people in the developing countries equitable access to the broadband and to ICT. We should be working to change intellectual property laws to better reflect the great world described in the IWC.
It is a mistake in notion that people in the developing world need our pity and charity: they need our justice and compassion instead.
What we need to fully understand is that in a negotiation, no one ever negotiates poverty, it is not a matter of choice. Furthermore, we need to understand that if as an international community we get together to negotiate this problem, we are not negotiating as losers and winners but as partners. There are goals and objectives to share and to negotiate and achieve together and if we work together within the international community, we can achieve together victory for the humankind.
Ambassador Henry MacDonald, Permanent Representative of Suriname to the UN
This is one of the main issues to address in small countries. I lived in Suriname in 2016 for 6/7 months, I was working there as the permanent secretary of the Ministry and two months ago I was in Guyane as well and I noticed that in those two countries almost anyone has got a smartphone. However, the accessibility of wifi is very expensive. Even though smartphones are there and people have i-phones, the price of getting a wifi access is the problem. I do not have an answer for this, i do not know if it is a political or a technical issue. We need more meetinGs like this at the UN.
Britnee N. Timberlake, President of the Board of Chosen Freeholders in the Essex County
Poverty is poverty; my father was a military and we travelled all around the US and abroad and I learnt that poverty is poverty everywhere. There are systemic issues that are connected to lack of access to education, to housing and to career opportunities. We should start talking about how to create upper mobility for poor people to solve the issue from that level. Wifi, lack of technology, school where books and computers are lacking, no access to healthy food…all those are issues also in the US, even in my constituent base. I am grateful to be here to learn as much as we can and I am convinced that if we find the way to tackle poverty in one location, we can combat or everywhere.
Sarbuland Khan, Former Executive Coordinator, UN-GAID
Opening remark as Chair
After this lunch break and this very hard moving film saw and showed during the lunch, I think is so difficult to follow but I could try to do my best to revive your interest in the issue of ICT for poverty reduction. If most of you probably don’t know me, some of you do, my name is Sarbuland Khan, I was the director for ECOSOC, Economic and Social Council in the UN for almost 10 years and then, at that time, I had the privilege to introduce the concept of ICT, the issues of ICT to the United Nations. It started very briefly in 1999, 1998 actually, when the President of Indonesia, as the Chairman of the Movement, launched the initiative for managing the problems of globalization to a dialogue and shared interest and mutual benefit: that was a new concept for that time and one of the issues that came out of that, apart from the issues of trade and all the issues of the value change and production around the world and so on, was the issue of ICT which is most as key issue in ECOSOC. The President and the Ambassador to the UN of Indonesia want to launch a new issue into the UN, to bring together all the key stakeholders and that was the first time in 2000 in the high level segment of ECOSOC, when we brought not only the ministers of ICTs from developing and developed countries but also the CEO of Nokia, Samsung, Microsystem, Cisco, Hewlett Packard and all about 12 of them together with UN system as the World Bank, ITU and UNESCO and WHO and so on and so forth, all together in a task force, an ICT task force.
I want to reveal this story because the first initiative that we launch of an ICT task force was with the Infopoverty Program in 2001 and we worked together ever since 17 years to make this success story. I must say that we can take some credits, UN can give us some credits but often, you know, we do things in order not to get credits. In this case, we don’t ask for credits but we got something done in Africa like what happen in the Millennium Village.
I have a little problem with the title of the session, “from smart cities to smart villages”, because I would like to say “from smart villages of Pierpaolo Saporito to smart cities” historically, because the smart villages were set up much before the smart cities movement all over the world. But the question is: how to move this idea beyond smart cities to smart villages around the world? My point here is this: these cities agenda historically achieved as the subsiding card of the civilization, that is very civilization crisis.
But if cities are the subsiding card of civilization then villages are the limbs, the hands and the feet of food security, health or education that in villages is so important.
So, the link is obvious but how to make it happen? That is the question, and that is the question I would like to pose to my panellists, how do we bring this big movement of smart cities. We have the representation of the USNG, we have Ms Çelik who is the representative USNG in New York and we have other representative coming from across the multi stakeholders’ relations that we have. So, how can we transform the smart cities movement into smart villages movement? We started in 2001 with Pierpaolo, he became with the Millennium Village under the Dr Jeffrey Sachs and then he created other villages like that in Africa. So, the model is there, the example is there, the success is there and the question is for this panel and for this group, to say how can we make this as a global movement? And this is the challenge. How can we scaled up to go beyond what we have accomplished in the last 15 years, to pick a local scale movement?
Aliye Çelik, President, Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization
My work is based on united cities and local governments. We started to be specialized in the application of ICT in local regions many years ago.
I would like to talk about our topic from the perspective of the UCLG and CSU. Local and Regional Authorities celebrate the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the adoption of a specific goal on urbanization –Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (Goal 11) and the New Urban Agenda as they do contribute to sustainable urbanization every day by using ICTs.
The collaboration with local and regional authorities is critical due to the need to take into account the national policies; indeed, there is the need of a creation of new employment opportunities, improving the education and health system immediately.
There are many efforts to bring the latest technology on ICTs to the local authorities so that they can reach out to the underprivileged, minority groups and the migrants in the cities using affordable and innovative technologies. Net work 11 is one the network of networks that was established for that purpose. Hence, it is fundamental to highlight that every single region has specific needs and, for this reason, it becomes very important for the development of this areas to be close to the citizens and local population with a transfer of knowledge not only from national to local governments but also within the cities authorities. Public and private sectors are all involved, according to their specific capacities, to improve the use of ICTs for the development, for the transition from smart cities to smart villages. The capacity to develop inclusive partnerships based on the full involvement and collaboration of all stakeholders, in particular of the local and subnational government constituency, will be critical to the success of the SDGs. ICTs are the tools to do this.
Let me recall Ban Ki-Moons’ words in his Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda, “many of the investments to achieve the sustainable development goals will take place at the subnational level and be led by local authorities” (A/69/700, para 94). Indeed, local and subnational governments are at the forefront of tackling most of the issues addressed by the SDGs in their daily work. They have a fundamental role in ensuring the safety, security, livelihoods and wellbeing of our communities National strategies to implement the SDGs need to take in account these local policies to tackle the territories where vulnerable groups and poverty is concentrated and results should be delivered effectively and quickly through ICTs.
Local and Subnational Governments, are committed to contribute their experiences and initiatives from a sub-national perspective, mobilizing their constituency and strengthening a multi-stakeholder approach by engaging citizens in a bottom-up process for the implementation of the SDGs and they need effective tools to do that. They need to reach out to all their constituents to inform them of everything going on in the city from emergency situations, fires, traffic delays, floods, security issues to availability of affordable housing, education, financing and employment opportunities, health alerts, even availability of parking spaces immediately such as in Rio and Santander. The aspect of reaching out quickly can prevent many problems that occur in the ever-growing cities.
An effective review and follow-up of SDG implementation worldwide should take into consideration, not only the contributions of each country, but also the specific needs of different cities and regions, to avoid leaving anyone behind.
Considering the strategic position of Local and Regional Governments, as the level of government closest to citizens and local stakeholders, and as intermediaries between national and local levels, it will be fundamental to create and develop the necessary enabling environment to allow cities play a full role in the achievement of the SDGs on the ground. To facilitate their involvement, an effective multi-level governance framework should be in place taking into account the need for coherence, coordination, cooperation and cohesion, not only between national and local policies but also within the city governance. ICTs can be an incredible tool for transparency and good governance as seen in Helsinki.
The topic of “localization” of the SDGs includes use of ICTs for implementation of the New Urban Agenda and achieving SDGs .
In a majority of countries, elected subnational governments have the legitimacy to lead inclusive and participatory policy processes to ensure a people-centered approach to development. They are ideally placed to lead local multi-stakeholder partnerships in which public sector, civil society and business actors are involved according to their distinct competencies, capacities and resources using ICTs.
The capacity of LRGs to cause policy to change on the ground should be taken into consideration in national government reviews. LRGs are strategic partners of national governments in supporting more balanced and inclusive territorial development, based on a strong system of cities that promote social cohesion and reduce inequalities between regions reducing poverty by reaching out. Local and subnational governments can enrich exchanges at the national level by sharing knowledge and innovative experiences through ICTs.
National reviews should be open to reports and inputs produced at the subnational level, not only by LRGs, but also by grassroots local communities, NGOs, think tanks, academia, media and others. These contributions could be instrumental to harness sub national disaggregated data and ensure more bottom-up monitoring and evaluation processes. This can be possible only through the use of ICT tools.
Allow me to stress that by listening to cities you listen to real needs of our communities and contribute to achieving all the SDGs including eliminating poverty.
Message from H.E. Amb. Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Madagascar to the UN
The delegate read the message from the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Madagascar to the UN.
I want to concentrate on the dimension of the phenomenon, on how this small reality became a positive sample of local translation of the global development projects.
An important incentive was given by both private and global partnership, turning Sambaina, created by occam in 2006, into a symbol of long-term community engagement. Sambaina, as Millennium Village, was able to capitalize on the strategy and the global efforts on Sustainable Development Goals.
The previous sessions of the 17th Infopoverty World Conference revealed the achievement demonstrated after the accomplishment of five years project made with a great deal of each component of the project.
The most important results of the project are: digital classrooms, computer facilities, telemedicine and, e-governments. Moreover, each of these issues were targeted by other indirect impacts such as economic improvement and employment opportunities. These results are fundamental, and for this reason the Ambassador has the will to revival the initiative which had only positive benefit for the local population and for the all country.
A very impressive example has seen in a primary school, where a French NGO could provide five meals in five of seven days of a week. Thanks to this experience and to the chain dynamics, at the end of the project, other many primary schools were able to provide the five meals.
Government acted as a cornerstone of the activities, facing different challenges such as the development of ICT related to the activities, development of income activities, development of economic activities and the sustainability of the projects. Sambaina was able to make the difference through the involvement of national and local governments evaluating the process.
Thanks to the contribution of finance beneficiaries who helped in improving the quality of infrastructure and the quality of the work, Sambaina reached this success. At the end of 2008 there was a base for the implementation of the success, but unfortunately on 2009 the crisis made it no possible.
Agenda 2030 and the SDGs are a logical and a legitimate extension of MDGs. Ambassador remains confident that together it is possible to work for the same concrete success achieved in Sambaina.
Thanks to the Infopoverty Programme, Sambaina has become an example of harmonized technology and sustainable development.
Pierpaolo Saporito, OCCAM and Infopoverty
Some words, just to introduce the film and thank the Madagascar Representative and Ambassador who was with us since 15 years ago.
This is a really interesting study case: the model of ICT village start during the Summit held in Tunis, 2005. In that occasion came the Minister of development of Madagascar, asking to replicate that model in his country and selecting Sambaina.
In Sambaina was applied exactly the model based on digital services such as telemedicine, education, assistance for food security and rural empowerment. This smart village was a great innovation because it had a public broadband for public use, for example the hospital or the schools were linked without any cost, all the area around Sambaina was connected.
This is an important model for developing countries because they can spend not a lot of money to create infrastructure. In that sense, we have built the village and Jeffrey Sachs came there and proclaimed Sambaina as UN Millennium Village.
The movie describe the situation just one week ago because we met people who has been at COP22 in Marrakech and they said me that there is the need of a relaunch of the village.
An important point is the idea of a replicable model because it can attract other villages and share the skills starting the connectivity. That was our plan but, unfortunately, we are still working for it.
Let’s start the movie where we are going to see the majors of Sambaina speaking.
Movie by Ravoavy Toky
Madagascar is the 5th largest country in the world. The rural municipality of Sambaina is located one hour away from the capital, composed by a population of almost 10 000 people. Sambaina has 2 health centers, 20 primary schools and some secondary and high schools. The 95% of the population are agricultural workers and 40% are still vulnerable. In general, all children go to school and the environment is protected with a decrease of bush fires.
Sambaina is the first UN Millennium Village Project in Madagascar. The is aimed at fight against poverty with the ICTs tools. Currently, Sambaina uses computers for its municipal activities even if there are some problems with the connection which can be solved with a decrease of the costs.
A few years ago, internet connection was still very expensive and unaffordable for the municipality.
Past major (2004-2007) Razafindratsimba Alfred: I participated at the development of the partnership document between OCCAM and Sambaina. The objective was the eradication of the poverty with the use of technologies and therefore, we started with the implementation of the ICT tools.
The results were in terms of teaching computer literacy to the population, especially to the peasants so they started to be trained in order to allow the illiterate to know how to write their name on the computer. This was a very important step for the peasants and all the population was stimulated to learn something using digital devices.
The proclamation as Millennium Village has brought a lot of knowledge to the municipality that deserves to be exploited and to be shared with other municipalities of Madagascar.
Sambaina is willing to continue the experiments in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are ready to fight against poverty and against the climate change for the sustainable development as Sambaina becomes a stakeholder’s showcase in Madagascar.
The UNDP in Madagascar archives experiences that can be exploited to improve future actions.
Currently, the territory is almost completely covered by internet connection so, can receive and share information for the eradication of poverty. The government policy is full support in fighting poverty to achieve the SDGs.
Chief of district Manjakandriana, Razafinanatoanina Andriamanana: Madagascar has already developed tools including the National Development Plan and the Implementation Plan in order to achieve the SDGs. We help and advice municipalities for the realization of the effective decentralization.
How the knowledge and technologies help to launch the SDGs?
We have been working till now everybody all together, with Ambassadors,, NGOs, UN, International Organizations…. I think you are all experts in international activities and is not so easy to see an NGO specialized in ICTs. It is very important in the UN system to work together with civil society and private cooperation. We would really like to relaunch the UN Millennium VIllages and ICT VIllages. We started at the beginning of 2000 with the MDGs and this is the 17th session of the Infopoverty World Conference, so are 17 years that the discuss is in continuous development. It is not easy for an NGO, even if is supported by all the people, Italian governments, UN system so we have to appreciate this job. Everyone here has gathered even in such difficult weather and I can tell we are very committed. As the Representative of Madagascar mentioned, we hope to successfully relaunch the ICT Millennium Village because time is rapidly progressing. In many African countries smartphones are available. This is a jump in time, with smartphones already in the hands of farmers without passing from the installation of telephone lines, as it was in the US. Mr Goda, CEO of Nippon Biodiesel Fuel Co., Ltd., has 250 000 rural farmers, he has been working electric money supported by FAO and this means now we can make progress as previous speakers mentioned. Many issues of education, poverty can be addressed and we can make a change in this sense and give our contribution. I hope we continue to have such strength, with everyone getting together, not only UN organizations. Indeed, we need support from civil society, NGOs, governments, and agencies.
Giovanna Bottani, Operations Senior Consultant, STMicroelectronics Foundation
In the video transmitted during the Conference, we can see the testimony of a young student from Burundi who decided to attend one of the computer classes organized by the STMicroelectronics Foundation in the country. Unfortunately, her village is far away from the school and every day she used to walk for over 10 hours just to reach the informatics center. Nevertheless, she never gave up, she finished her studies and now she wants to share her knowledge with everybody in the community. From her example and words, we understand that, despite the fact that over 3.9 billion of people are still “offline” all over the world, with dramatically higher percentages in rural areas, there is a strong awareness on the importance of ICTs tools, perceived as important instruments capable of democratizing information and therefore knowledge.
On the base of this belief, in 2001 our Founder accepted the challenge to fight the digital discrimination by creating our Foundation. Its mission is to boost informatics literacy among less privileged communities around the world. This is concretely implemented with the “digital unify program” that aims to find the best partners, to setup informatics centers, to bring internet connection in disadvantaged areas, and to teach computer basics to people who have never touched a PC before, while empowering local partners through the train the trainers’ approach.
The key tools of the DU program are the Informatics and Computer Basics Course (ICB) and the tablet for kids’ course.
Since the inception of the activities in 2003, the Foundation has reached 26 countries and trained over 400.000 people. These achievements were reached thanks to the key assets that compose our model: the commitment of all STMicroelectronics Foundation’s people; STMicroelectronics and its employees who support us as volunteers; our country managers who continuously work with us; the local partners we work with in the different countries; hundreds of trainers; and the continuous feedback of our beneficiaries.
After 14 years of continuous activity, we would like, capitalizing on our experiences to go further, enhancing the reach of our program. For this reason we are initiating a fruitful collaboration with OCCAM, we will join our efforts to fight together the Digital Divide. The first step will be to contribute relaunching the activity of the ICT village of Sambaina in Madagascar. We would also like to take the opportunity offered by this conference to look for new possible partners that could help us extending the reach of our mission with further networks and resources.
Rehan Chaudhri, Principal Peak XV Advisors
The general topic is the evolution of the energy for the next fifteen years and the dramatic impacts on global economic development, poverty alleviation, and improvement in quality of life. We can distinguish three trends in emerging energy:
- Renewable energy technologies – solar, wind, geothermal and biomass are becoming economically affordable and our urban centres and villages are now developing in a more sustainable manner.
- Battery costs are declining making energy storage a reality – costs may currently be expensive but battery prices are declining rapidly and capacity is improving. By the middle of the next decade we will have energy store system and micro grids that allow independent micro energy system in regions with high levels of irradiation allowing for affordable, clean, and efficient generation of energy in regions where reliability is low.
- Natural gas is becoming a cheap cleaner fossil fuel source for global base load electricity generation. Seven of the largest shale natural gas reserves are in the emerging markets and the two largest consumers of energy also have among the top three largest reserves. Natural gas can be combined with renewable and battery technology resulting in low cost sustainable energy production. By 2022-2024 the average electric vehicle compared to the petrol vehicle may be the same price, however, maintenance costs will be much lower.
Additionally, micro grids are far more efficient (traditional centralized electricity generation and distribution wastes over 50% of energy), are more reliable and localized in nature. This will help sustain rural development in a manner almost unprecedented in the past century.
Battery technology: Penetration is growing rapidly, more than other technologies at a similar stage, and it will become cheaper in the next five years due to the continued innovation and competition. Initially, batteries were used for small devices such as smartphone. From 2011, battery technology increased in capacity and became a catalyst for electric vehicles. As capacity continues to increase and prices drop, large scale energy storage systems will become economically and prevalent throughout the world.
Electric Vehicles: Electric vehicle penetration is growing rapidly and currently half the global fleet is China. By 2022-2024 the average cost of an electric vehicle will be the same of the petrol vehicle battery and demand for transportation fuel will begin to be displaced by electricity based solutions.
Renewable solar energy: In the graphic showed, the red area illustrated in the map, is the area with more solar radiation and correspond to the central and south of the world. By 2030 the majority of the world’s energy will need to be based on solar/renewable/battery/natural gas technology and this is a dramatic change for people all around the world who have limited access to the electricity. For example, the cost of diesel generators in India substantially higher than solar based solutions. Additionally, solar/battery energy solutions are already converging towards grid parity in many parts of the world with high irradiation levels. This change will accelerate the use of energy for education, clean water, and agriculture becoming catalysts for economic growth.
Low cost natural gas: Russia, the US and China have the top three global shale gas reserves and seven of the top ten reserves are located in the emerging markets. The emerging market countries importing oil will benefit as they achieve greater energy independence. The large natural gas demand is currently from Asia. Increasing technology transfer as well as exports will make natural gas one of the key resources for future low cost global electricity generation.
Electrical energy storage and microgrids: Microgrids are a cost effective and efficient means to implement renewable energy and capacity and are competitive with diesel based solutions. A lack of alternatives, current expensive power and the impetus for reliable, clean and affordable option, translates into a large global opportunity for micro grids. Combined with financial technology, these systems can now be economically implemented.
Makoto Goda, CEO, Nippon Biodiesel Fuel Co., Ltd.
I work with my company in Mozambique; in our area operators are provided with tablet or smartphone with POS and some applications based on android system and through these devices they can purchase agricultural products from farmers through e-money, record how much each farmer use money and check their consumption, record the money given by donors. The company provide these devices as an “Information Platform” so villagers, local governments and whoever can use these devices and it enables people easy to connect to the web. They can go to this place and use this tablet to not only get information but also order something on the net: they just need to go to the kiosk and begin connected whenever they want. We have a project with FAO based on the use of this system which permit the beneficiary to purchase products in shop through electronic voucher. The card need to be activated and has a limitation only to purchase agriculture material, chemical tools. They cannot use it for other things. In this way, it is very easy to control how are you using the money and check it. Traditional story of money has started to change. M-PESA technology is quite simple. The impact of M-PESA is African Central Banks has started to create new and original financial rules appropriate for each situation. Kenyan government has changed the rule combining e-money and legal currency. Bitcoin has shown that not only the central bank but anybody can issue any kind of money. If everybody trust it, and it is a basically point, anybody can issue the money. Certificate is given not only by Central Banks and government but also by blockchain. The system of money must have three functions, a common unit, must be recording and clearing. Beyond those three functions, the money must be trusted to be accepted by next person who will receive it. Near future sapiens will create a new story of money and story will change based on change of real environment. Important point of change of real environment, we must consider natural resources are expansion phase or shrinking phase. In expansion phase the story of money can be based on competition. In shrinking phase, we need different rule based on fairness. There was no electricity in the villages before the Nippon Biodiesel Fuel came in this area so they could not connect but now we have provided the energy and the connection for the access to the internet services.
H.E. Amb. Antonio Gumende, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the UN
The ICTs is an important tool when we talk about the process of the implementation of the SDGs. In an area where there is no opportunity to make an effective impact, ICT represent a great opportunity. If you look at the explosion of access to mobile communication for instance even in a country like Mozambique where there are few possibilities, in a high segment of the population you can see the growth has been achieved. If you see the percentage of population living in urban area or rural area the technologies applied are the same, and this is the first element. The second element is not connected so much to ICTs itself but to infrastructure because you see that even the investment to these technologies tends to occur in different part of the world, and even if Mozambique is not integrated so much in this community, is recognized that ICT is an important key for education, health, agriculture.
They still have to address this kind of challenge and one effort can be deployed is to target school because education is everywhere nowadays. The related issue, which has been discussed, is the access to energy and Mozambique has a mix of energies and a diversification from renewable to natural gas, in the area where Makoto Goda works. Mozambique has the potential to address this challenge and to be potential in ICT tools. Working together we can be able to improve the digital devices we talked about for many years.
H.E. Lot Dzonzi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Malawi
The experience with Infopoverty began in October: a medical doctor whose abandoned medicine once attended an event in the UN Headquarters which end up an intervention from Mr Murata, and during the processes of the action he started to talk about the program of Mr Goda in Mozambique. Malawi is so much attached to Mozambique and when you look at the map of Malawi, you can see that Malawi “is held” by Mozambique: this for how close is it geographically, culturally.
The similarities of the communities where Mr Goda is working in Mozambique are a lot. In Malawi there are some mobile devices and phones which permit to connect each other but most of all it permit to exchange money even if the extent of that project is very limited to the urban area because in the rural areas people have no money to send and have no connection. Millennium Village brought a lot of benefit to the rural community improving their level of food security, improving their ability to store the food without damaging it. There is a hope that digital devices can open opportunities to these areas.
Eugene W. Grant, Mayor of Seat Pleasant, Maryland
Let’s refresh our memories for a moment. According to the 2014 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report by 2050, 66% of the world’s population is predicted to live in urban communities.
Close to half of the world’s urban dwellers reside in relatively small settlements of less than 500,000.
As you know, this presents continued challenges in acceptable human development. In every community, settlement, village we will see increased challenges as governments attempt to address the needs of its constituents. The challenge of limited government resources cannot in anyway address all the needs of its citizens it faces daily. As a result, we continue to see the spiralling effects of poverty, hunger, declining health, limited education and so much more. The reality is that the needs outweighs the resources controlled by government. There has to be a better way! I represent a small community that is in the shadows of one of the world’s most recognized cities, Washington, DC. In those shadows, I am challenged like many places around the world to deliver services that address many of the points outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. But how do I when: I have a 17% poverty rate and 16% unemployment rate.
Our health disparities are in some cases as bad as the developing world. These concerns and so many others present challenges that make it difficult to address along with the ever changing and advancing world. Like Seat Pleasant, so many of my colleagues around the world who represent small communities and villages are faced with the same challenges and more. As a government, we believe we have come up with a strategy that will help alleviate many of the problems, reduce government subsistence and create sustainable opportunities for the community. While this is not a panacea to all challenges it is however a major step in the right direction. This important international conference creates the proper forum for the exchange of ideas and processes to share with one another. Moving forward, Seat Pleasant is partnering with one of the world’s largest corporations (International Business Machines corporation or IBM) to build an authentic Smart City through an Intelligent Operations Center or IOC and a truly functional interactive app. When we think of Smart City’s around the world we generally think of large cities in India, Japan and the United States.
We don’t think of them in terms of Small City’s or Villages, but we should do it. We must go from Smart Cities to Smart Villages. We believe that for the smart city concept to really be successful they must think small and offer big services. It is difficult to create a Smart City that is even affordable for large cities. The costs to really do it right are high. For instance, the city of San Diego in California began the development of what they consider to be a Smart City by dividing the city into 13 small zones to offer the types of services they needed for their communities. But I contend that their services are managed through a shared service hub which limits their ability to fully utilize all the data collected to help solve all their cities challenges through descriptive, predictive, prescriptive and ultimately the use of artificial or cognitive intelligence. We see being “small” as a unique opportunity, an asset and not as a deficit in creating Smart Villages. As we incorporate ICT innovations within communities we do so with the understanding that those innovations are only tools. The real innovation is within harnessing the intelligence of the people. It is the people, if empowered will help to address the SDGs we all as world citizens have adopted. My city has already moved forward in this direction. As an example, Seat Pleasant convened a consortium of all NGO’s in our region to partner to address our constituent’s most basic needs. With ICT allowing us to streamline the delivery of services, we have the ability to support these groups so that we become a constituent-obsessed government that uses innovation to uplift our citizens, businesses and visitors. As a small community/village, Seat Pleasant considers its approach to Smart City as the Center of Competency that will create a shared service hub within a multi-tenanted environment that creates an intelligent or smart community. We define Smart City as a community that offers services that are better, faster and more personalized making it a city for “me” using information communication technology through the internet of things. In this approach, every citizen becomes the “mayor” to manage resources and empowers themselves to improve their lives. However, our definition is even more broader. Our approach is to engage, educate and empower the individual and collective citizen to solve societal issues where the burden is on all and the solutions must come from all. The utilization and benefits of ICT’s are shared with the entire village regardless of what a person’s socio- economic status maybe. This approach will help to address and subsequently achieve the SDG’s. Examples are: vertical farming, micro grid, using data to improve outcomes, support entrepreneurs, Access to GIS. This is a daunting task. It won’t be easy but it must be done. We must be bold and not hesitate to act. Extreme poverty continues to decline, but 766 million in the human family still live below the poverty line, 100 million living in hunger, 201 million unemployed and growing, increasing social exclusion particularly in the developing world but not limited there. Yes, it is true every village does not have access to the internet; 3.9 billion still do not have internet access. However, our concept in Seat Pleasant is to make available our shared hub to our neighbours and others and give them access to the resources we have to help them address their problems. Likewise, as a world community we can do the same. While there are those who are sceptical. I have adopted the same philosophy as the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize honouree and United Nations mediator Ralph Bunche who called himself “an incurable optimist.” Ralph Bunche said, “hearts are the strongest when they beat in response to noble ideals.” Ladies and gentlemen; brothers and sisters of the human family our hearts today beat and we have a noble cause. This is the right time to do what is right for the human family.
Maria Grazia Cavenaghi-Smith, Former Director, EU Parliament Information Office in Marseille
Opening remark as Chair
We should overcome the belief that uniting economic growth and social justice is a paradox, because it is not and we are able to unite those two elements and we must do that. The moment has come, the political and economic and financial situation in our world has become exasperated and we have never seen such a civil response and engagement as in these days, meaning we are ready for the next step, that is everyone needs to be included and to participate, to share wealth, knowledge, medicine access, good quality education at no cost…in Europe we do have health for everyone and education too for no or very little cost and this could be done in the USA too. We should apply this model everywhere.
Cheryl Wills, NY1 News Anchor and Author
Working on the news, for the last 25 years I have been reporting on mass murder of black and brown children in USA and New York City in particular. Is this the developing world?
One mile north from New York, the situation can rival the one in Malawi and Mozambique. We unfortunately do not need to cross the ocean to find poverty and social despair. I am convinced that the way to combat poverty globally is knowledge of self.
In 2009, I discovered to be descendent of a slave who fought in the American civil war. I was raised in housing projects, and I am the daughter of a New York City fireman who left our family. I have always asked myself who I was. This is a major problem for black children, with slave ancestors, all over the USA. Who are their ancestors? Children who cannot answer basic questions about their identity are susceptible to all those social illnesses that are destroying the social fabric of the city, country and world. I made research and found out one of my ancestor fought in the civil war, making something tremendous for this country.
1 in 3 African American men will be involved in the criminal justice system. This is an unacceptable abomination. They are not bad people, they are trapped in the system, they have no clue about who they are, they do not know their history, they use language they honestly have no clue what it means.
My initiative consists in the creation of a picture-book, which I am carrying to schools, trying to educate one child at a time and sharing stories of my ancestors. I wish I had known about them when I was at school, studying the civil war as it did not concern my family at all. This way, i challenge children to reevaluate their impoverished circumstances, the context they have been living in. You can throw poor kids technology all day long, yet if they do not know who they are, they are going to burn it down.
My grandfather enlisted not as a slave but as a farmer and this can teach children that even if you are in a desperate situation, that does not have to live in you and define you as a person. Too many people, such as Nelson Mandela, have proved that poverty does not mean you are mentally impoverished. If you have a solid foundation of who you are, you can break through poverty.
Sandy Wills, my great great grandfather received a certificate of discharge yet could not read it because he was black and thus illiterate and had no right to education. He was buried in an unmarked grave. Yet Barack Obama acknowledged him and his contribution to the nation.
The way to combat this issue is to help people get a hold of who they are. When you reintroduce people to the truth about who they are, you can combat madness affecting this country. I have a copy of President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation. This reminds us and the students to whom I show it that it is time for an emancipation of the mind, otherwise all other discussions are a waste of time and the digital divide will get wider. they have to be taught about their greatness so that they have a responsibility.
All of your research would not have been possible without ICT.
All of the documents were uploaded and put online and this way I could access them. I also discovered my ancestor’s wife sued the government for denying her the pension of her husband, because she was black.
In 20 years we have had such a tremendous improvement and development and reached unimaginable points. We need to have this future perspective available for everyone.
Dominika Żak, One Billion Voices project leader
For many of the one billion persons with disabilities in the world, the benefits to have access to technology, full participation and inclusion are elusive and thus their voices are not heard.
I believe in the power of sharing knowledge and technologies to benefit people. I had an idea and contacted students from various universities and youth with or without disabilities. We were committed to engage and contribute to the endeavors of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).
Raise awareness about people with disabilities and this created a digital exhibit called ‘I am one of one billion voices’, included in the official UNDESA Program to celebrate the UN International Day of persons with disabilities and tenth anniversary of CRPD..
Everyone participating could make his voice virtually heard and say why they thank the Convention on the rights of people with disabilities (CRPD). The projects create a direct link with people with disabilities by using ICTs, engaging youth on themes relevant for them.
For children with disabilities, the ability to access information and participate is a luxury even in developed countries. Indeed, just 60% of persons with disabilities in developed countries complete their education and this percentage of course drops terribly in developing countries. If we consider that living with a disability increases the average cost of living by 1/3, we should also add that the lack of education of course further exacerbates poverty.
Sabrina Bertucci,One Billion Voices
Everyone should have the possibility to make his/her voice heard and together we can find solutions to world greatest challenges.
The team of One Billion Voices believes in an inclusive and sustainable world. For this reason, raising awareness, transferring and sharing knowledge have a strategic role in eradicating poverty.
Saideh Browne, President of National Council of Women
The National Council is housed in New York City at the Center for Social Innovation. Innovation is the key to eradicate poverty domestically and abroad. The women we serve are head of households .and leaders of communities
The council works by following the UN principles, especially by promoting international cooperation in the social,educational, economic, health and cultural fields. The organization lines with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and reaffirms the role that micro, small and medium size enterprises have in achieving the SDGs in promoting innovation, creativity and equal work for all. Human creativity and innovation, at both individual and group level, have become the true wealth of nations in the 20th century. Sustainable Development is an holistic approach requiring the strengthening of interdisciplinary linkages. Technology is an enabler of innovation but it does not equal innovation per se. The key aspect is the added value to bring real improvements in people’s lives. We should really consider the issue of the access to the broadband and digital devices, sharing of knowledge and training, the need to ICTs in developing areas. Addressing those issues on a large scale is of course a matter of political will.
I will share two stories.
While enrolling citizens in the affordable care act system, I noticed how the inability to use a computer delayed the process of enrollment for many. In the process of enrolling citizens, I first of all had to set up an e-mail address, since many of those I had to help did not have one nor know how to do. I taught them and that was way before to choose what rural place, in a city without broadband healthcare they wanted. Many criticisms about the delays of this act failed to mention the end user inability to use technology. In the news, we hear about failures but no one mentioned this aspect. That is an indicator of how lack of experience with technology can impede progress, even in the USA.
Second story: Massachusetts Missouri and Mississippi are the three benchmarks for our activity, since control groups coming from those three States perfectly represent snapshots of women in USA.
I was in the Southern part of the USA, in a very with no internet access in my residence. I had to go to a fast food in order to check mails and send messages and noticed that many moms were sitting there with their kids doing homework because of the lack of access at home. Broadband providers even in the US do not feel compelled to wire rural cities with broadband.
Secondary and tertiary issues related to this problem consist in bad nutrition habits and in being out of home at night, until homework is completed, having no comfort and all because there is a lack of broadband, technology and devices. It is important to look right to the US when dealing with this topic.
I am also working to wire public housing projects in New York City. I am fighting against incendiary comments and still trying to do it anyway because otherwise it would be difficult to find a job by only using your phone, not being able to connect to internet by computer.
We have to raise awareness also on how lack of access to broadband and technology also affects other areas in the SDGs such as SDG 3 about health, SDG 16 about partnership for the goals, and SDG 17 about sustainability.
In our society, it is easy for us to gloss over the need of the rest of the country and make assumptions about how things work in the rest of the country without actually knowing. Growth and progress of women, children and families across the country is disempowered and impacted by lack of technology.
Lidwine Meffo, Founder & Executive Director, the Smiling Foundation
The work the Smiling Foundation is conducting consists in the promotion of education and eradication of poverty in Africa.
In Africa, ‘Mobile Money’ is used to transfer money through the phone system. In some areas it works, in some areas it does not because of the cultural beliefs. Indeed, the elderly do not trust it and do not believe in this system. There is also Moneygram and Western Union, which is by the way suspended in the Cameroun for tax reason.
Virtual money is still an abstract concept from the cultural point of view in many African countries such as Angola, Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, as women show me on a daily basis.
We creating libraries for women wherever we work, at least to teach them how to write their names.
During the last Commision on the Status of Women (CSW61) we had 50/60 women from 18 countries who came here just to share their stories.
Our project consists in going to villages and teach women how to write and it is stunning that there are 50/60 years old women who do not even know how to grab a pen.
Whereas, regarding the telemedicine issue: people contact me to bring devices to hospital in developing countries but it is not that simple, systems are very corrupted and there is a huge problem of compatibility. Also, people do not believe in the wi-fi or do not know how it works.
A women workshop was organized at COP22 in Marrakech where they learnt how to write their name. During the three days workshop, they learnt how to write, how to take better care of children. They were asked how they felt, what they needed. They were very happy of the outcomes.
We cannot just seat and do nothing, just talk and comment on the status of thing and criticize it, on the contrary we should act.
Julia Rashba, the Smiling Foundation
I feel fortunate to work for an organization committed on breaking all barriers, which is ahead of many hospitalities organizations in defeating poverty. The foundation is indeed ahead of our time yet there is still much more to do.
Maria Grazia Cavenaghi-Smith, Former Director, EU Parliament Office in Milan and in Marseille, OCCAM, Liaison Officer
BUILDING A PLATFORM FOR THE SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGIES
Persisting extreme poverty and inequality have been a major cause of conflicts across rich and poor societies preventing them to enjoy the benefits of globalisation.
For this reason Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the UN ECOSOC, has called on everyone to work harder to ensure inclusion at all stages of development, so that no one is left behind.
He said: “We need development that is holistic, inclusive and beneficial to all, for it to be sustainable and conducive to peace. This is more important than ever, given the challenges we face in the world today. We must ensure that our efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are focused, effective and mutually reinforcing,”
I am quoting him because this is the specific aim of our session: changing the relationship between poor and wealthy people, donors and recipients, empowering each one of us to express our own identity, choosing the best way to develop those hidden and special skills that will make the difference.
If we take into consideration:
the global financial crisis,
the increasing difficulty in transferring money
the consequent uneven distribution of wealth and health
and political and social unrest
It is obvious that we need to make better use of our technological knowledge.
We must reach an intensive and innovative social use of new, smart and low- cost technologies. We must make them accessible and available to those in need.
Only by so doing we can accelerate the development towards a more just and wealthy society where communities have equal opportunities.
This is why, over the 17 years of our Conference, we have appealed to the best entrepreneurial spirits, to researchers, governments and institutions to join our efforts to find together the best solutions for translating into reality our common vision of a truly global information society.
We believe it is possible to eradicate poverty and make the world safer … and it is our duty to act NOW!
Because the greater economic and political challenges we are facing – with the rising wave of nationalist movements and parties all over – has provoked unexpected, overwhelming civil movement reactions…all aided by the fact that we are now all connected and we can all find out the truth easier than ever…just with a touch on our cell phone.
We now need to make sure the powerful tools we have in our hands are made available to all at low or no- cost.
We must make sure that they are used wisely, with appropriate digital services, for self-empowerment and job creation, quality and no-cost education, health care for all, food security…the possible applications are endless….
e-MedMed (Medicine) and the World Food Security e-Center, capable to provide directly to communities in need Telemedicine, eLearning, e-Training and e-agriculture services through a global digital platform.
This may seem a GLOBAL PARADOX IN OUR INTERCONNECTED WORLD, WE NEED TO FIND THE SOLUTION TO UNITE SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
20 February 2017 – Highlighting that many around the world are left out from being able to benefit from global prosperity dividends and that even flourishing societies are seeing inequalities widen, the head of the United Nations labour agency called for solutions that can bring economic growth combined with social progress.
In his message on World Day of Social Justice, UN International Labour Organization chief Guy Ryder also underlined that the feeling of absence of social justice: children without secure futures, parents without decent jobs and a general feeling of abandonment, have grave consequences not only for communities and societies, but for economies as well.
“We need solutions that lead away from conflict and towards recovery, to economic growth with social progress, solutions that build institutions based on labor standards that guarantee rights at work,” said Mr. Ryder.
“In an interconnected world this is a global agenda and a global responsibility,” he added.
Robert St Thomas, Smarter Solutions
IBM is a globally integrated technology and consulting company that attracts and retains some of the world’s most talented people to help solve problems and provide an edge for businesses, governments and non-profits. Innovation is at the core of IBM’s strategy.
I want to talk about big cities services from small customized platform enabling the economic development. There are many issue with migration, forced migration, and we are going to talk about the lack of migration in the rural areas, island, home towns to find a better life in the cities but many of them do not end up in this way
The cities are overcrowded, migrant are stretched to provide services, people start to trafficking, have disease. I would like to show one of the five transformation has started with the operation of my foundation, allowed to share all sources to be fused together
It is important to understand if microgrids and other devices can help the local communities to take care the people safety and what is the best for the local communities.
Seat pleasant app: it wants to fuse the cities with the governments, the idea is less of the differences between me and the government and try to understand what the government is doing for me?
This means for the people to be a part of the government, a part of the whole, for example what they feel is need in the schools?
It creates a sense of empowerment and without regarding the economic status.
So the idea is to have this fusion between cities and government making it available for all the cities, not only seat pleasant, in order to permit to have the mean and the resources.
The idea is to share this app all around the world in the small cities with no tax addiction to reach the SDGs
It has offer to Seat Pleasant some laboratories to the universities, to allow the students to participate in growing this concept. So, the question here is: How improve the global consideration?
The implementation paradigm here, in the focus of this session is the change of the relationship between poor and unhealthy people and we are talking about small investment that can be provided by the richer NGOs, stand for local communities and we cannot address all the issues but just one or two issues for those invited communities and could be education or kind of activity which can be addressed to different culture, religions to be respected.
We want to provide big cities services to this small town environments allowing people to grow and it means to connect a global platforms, what Pierpaolo talks about, and this could connect people all around the world with resources of one to create ecosystems model.
By themselves they cannot reach the big cities services like Chicago or New York but working together they can afford the big cities services.
So, the idea is take these big cities and make available investments, and the school support.
I think the Seat Pleasant is a repeatable model for activities that are based on people and based on needs, supporting by technologies.
For all kind of people services are now available in the range of NGOs and private sector finding profiles afford to anybody wants to reach them.
David Neely, President & CEO Affecting Change International
Increasing agricultural productivity is critical to accelerating economic growth and improving the wellbeing of both rural and urban people in East Africa. There have been many strategies pursued in an attempt to increase agricultural productivity and enhance food security in the region with little success. The region is repeatedly caught up in the vicious cycle of food insecurity which perpetuates poverty.
Affecting Change International is working with local project partners to determine the current state of food security in the region, specifically Kenya at this point. ACI is working to identify the constraints and collaboratively develop possible remedies for enhancing food security. Notwithstanding the importance of agriculture to the region’s economy, it has low agricultural yields and is still largely prone to food insecurity. This is largely a result of the traditional and small scale nature of agriculture in Eastern Africa characterized by reliance on rain fed agriculture; low diversification; low usage of modern technology; poor water management systems; land fragmentation; and high post-harvest losses among others. Remedies such as the proliferation of modern permaculture techniques, improved seed and farm management, integrated water management, effective village to village education, as well as addressing climate change and population growth are all part of an effective solution to the current food insecurity problem throughout the region. ACI’s Idili Sustainability and Food Security Project (ISFSP) in Kenya is our attempt to bring these solutions to the region. Michael Barton, our ISFSP Project Director will provide further explanation as to how our project is affecting positive change in the area of food security.
Habari Zenu, and greetings from Kenya. Care for the Earth, Care for People, and Sharing or Returning of the Surplus. These are the three ethics of Permaculture. Permaculture stands for ‘Permanent Culture’ or ‘Permanent Agriculture‘. It is a Lifestyle choice dedicated to designing resilient ecosystems and social structures. Some lofty goals! However, the further I plunge into the study of Permaculture, the more confident and optimistic I become toward the long-term achievement of these goals. Upon completion of my university study in 2015, these lofty goals seemed unattainable, and I felt ill-equipped to tackle these issues for which I held such passion. What I had in knowledge I lacked in application. I yearned for practical experience, coupled with inter-generational wisdom. Two years later, I am no longer frightened because I now stand with a vibrant community that is growing, sharing and learning along the path to achieving a Permanent Culture. How did my perspective change so quickly from fear to excitement? My personal journey between these poles came through observation and interaction, which interestingly, are among the twelve principles used to implement Permaculture design strategies globally.
In my post-university studies toward the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) I visited six different demonstration farm sites in four distinct climate zones. These sites had adopted practices that were appropriate to their respective environments and that were capable of meeting their specific needs. The most impressive demo site was the DNRC, or Dryland Natural Resource Center. They used water-harvesting earth-works or swales to slow, sink, and spread water on contour for the purpose of re-establishing watersheds and managing this vital resource. The DNRC began eight (8) years ago with 25 member farmers and now has roughly 550 spread over 11 geographic areas in that county. Since completing my PDC, I have participated in and visited three more sites and have heard of at least five more plots in and around Kenya. Although this encourages me, it is not enough. I have since been working in my community and networks to promote Permaculture thought and practice. From this, the Idili Farms Project was born. Because Permaculture is entirely scalable, my team and I are currently working on the development of four demonstration sites, each operating on its own unique scale to meet a specific set of needs.
The most dynamic of these is a site allocated by the Orkonyil Community Welfare Association in the Loita Hills. This property is not owned by any individual, but rather is set aside with local governmental support for a Permaculture project, with the eventual goal of creating an ICT Village Center to offer education, medicine, agriculture training, and e-Commerce. This community lacks even basic horticultural knowledge as it has only begun its transition from nomadic pastoralism to agriculture in the last three to four generations. They face human/wildlife conflict and food insecurity, both of which are exacerbated by rapid population growth. To direct the area’s development, my team and I conducted large scale geo-referenced community data collection. Using a customizable and open-source app called ‘Cyber Tracker’ we trained community youth to collect and develop a GIS database. This survey process and the data it collected has changed how the community views issues such as disease and resource management. As we continue working with the Orkonyil Community Welfare Association, we at Idili Farms see an opportunity to expand the same technology to address food security by using customized apps focused on pest control, soil building practices, and the benefits of Agroforestry systems. This gives immediate benefit to their community, and it assists Idili Farms as we further develop systems and practices to promote the global application of Permaculture. Another of our key projects is located at Brackenhurst, a 300-bed conference center an hour outside of Nairobi. Our partners at Brackenhurst host an international school; facilitate Plants for Life, an NGO affecting indigenous reforestation; and operate EduTours Africa, which organizes and develops study-abroad trips. The programs managed by Brackenhurst, and specifically our strategic partnership with them, aim not only to showcase, but also to provide educational opportunities as well as to host hands-on training courses on their grounds for people from all parts of Africa. The final two sites are a school Permaculture garden and the Idili Farms plot, both of which demonstrate how Permaculture can be applied at the household level.
With regard to our strategies: Why demonstration sites? First and foremost, they are interactive and educational environments that build community and solidarity through experimentation and participatory development strategies. Success in such endeavors has potential to change entire villages and communities. Why does Idili choose to work with schools? The answer is simple: In my days as a student, I felt my energy and passions were under-utilized to effect change. It is Idili Farms’ desire that the youth of today have a more complete experience than the one I had; an experience that marries both academic information and hands-on learning and mentorship. Working with schools and students is a deliberate choice, not a temporary strategy.
We at Idili Sustainability and Food Security Project aim to empower the youth of today, already in tune with the tech age, to couple their energy and innovative mindset with practical Permaculture skills. Presently we are accomplishing this goal through participatory demo sites and design workshops. In closing I want to leave you with a thought from Bill Mollison, a founding father of Permaculture, “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” Thank you for your time. Nashukuru sana.
Robert Cipriano, CEO AllHumanity
AllHumanity Group is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to help people in need globally.
Its purpose is to provide leading-edge technology and services to the humanitarian sector to increase reach, impact and sustainability.
It is a social network made of ordinary people who wish to reach out and help others.
They have been providing humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, child advocacy and education around the world for over a decade. Projects in such places as South Africa, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, South America and in the US.
It is important to find new ways to achieve the SDGs. What is the humanitarian virtual reality?
Virtual reality allows to have a view of all the new perspective and this is the humanitarian nature. The term virtual reality means virtual outcomes from realities.
Allhumanity wants to support content creators, using their abilities to change the world and we can find them right here: NGOs, charities, international stakeholders, educational institutions, UN delegates, medical and disaster teams, missionaries. We are developing project partnership which directly support UN SDGs, we have capabilities to provide education and training.
Allhumanity empowers more people to affect global change, giving voices to the most vulnerable and providing access to new possibilities to the emerging countries.
We can no longer say ‘if only people felt the pain and suffering around the world’, we can no longer look in the other way now that looking has become more so easy. There is no longer hiding behind miles and lack of access to technologies, there are no more excuses to leave people behind.
Allhumanity group is partner of UN agencies and many companies to encourage progress and put them under pressure to improve sustainability performance. We also have relations with universities, excellency centres, medical teams, disaster specialists… Oxford universities and 13 uni around the world to start spreading VR technologies around the world.
We have created a regional access to the universities all around the world to provide technologies. We are starting to get over the phase of amazement created by new technologies and we are starting to ask ourselves what does it mean for humanity and for us.
Children in africa can be educated from everywhere in the world and educators located everywhere in the world; medical workers can now experience everything, thanks to virtual reality
Transparency in the humanitarian care can now be achieved by sponsoring those social groups such as groups such as churches or schools and medical hospitals. We provide solar power and clean water solutions and humanitarian technologies that now can be maintained from villagers saving a lot of money thanks to VR technology. Humanitarian workers, medical workers etc can now create their VR model to make aware donors of real conditions of people in refugee camps and emergency situations.
This is not the future, this is here.
Federica Scala, IDLO Legal Officer
I am here today representing IDLO, the only intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to advancing the rule of law. IDLO works to enable governments and empower people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice and sustainable development. Its programs, research and policy advocacy cover the spectrum of rule of law from peace and institution building, to social development and economic recovery in countries emerging from conflict and striving towards democracy.
Last November IDLO adopted its new Strategic Plan – called Strategy 2020 – that will guide and inspire the work of the Organization for the next four years. The Plan is deeply grounded on the values that are at the heart of its mission: creating a culture of justice. If you look at the definition of justice in the oxford dictionary, it is firstly defined as “a just behaviour or treatment”. For IDLO “justice” means more than that:
it means access to justice, it means equality, inclusion, universality, fairness, transparency and accountability. If you embrace this concept of justice, the role of ICT becomes pivotal. Strategy 2020 is also profoundly rooted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda is the golden key to open the door to a world of possibilities: the possibility of people winning over poverty, inequalities, exclusion, injustices and leaving no one behind. A world where it does not matter who you are, where you were born, where you live, because you will be granted access to human rights, as well as economic, social and political rights, that will empower you to create a world founded on peace, justice, respect for human rights, tolerance and solidarity – the same ideals enshrined in the UN Charter. “Why” we all do what we do is clear. The “how” is a more complex matter. The answer to this question comes from the “means of implementation” enshrined in Agenda 2030: from finance to capacity building and, of course, technology transfer. The role that ICTs can play in the development spectrum 2 is in many ways fundamental. It is indeed difficult to think of any factor that has a greater potential for “universal” reach and cooperation than the ICTs. ICTs application in all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – proved its ability to empower people, especially the most vulnerable ones – children, women, persons with disabilities – just to name a few. Like ICTs, the law works across the spectrum of Agenda 2030 by enabling society to tackle the big development challenges the world is facing today: from poverty to lack of water and sanitation, from gender discrimination to irresponsible consumption and production. It comes as no surprise therefore, that the combination of ICTs and law is an extremely powerful tool, not only to implement Goal 16 but to enable countries to achieve the entire set of Goals embedded in the new development framework. Today, I would like to grab this opportunity to further stress how the use of technology in the justice sector can enhance transparency, effectiveness, accountability, and easier access to legal information. Let’s think for a minute about the importance of access to legal information vis a vis people living in rural areas: the possibility of using a simple mobile phone to learn about new laws and regulations on a specific matter brings justice from courts to people.
The use of technology in the justice sector is also a multifaceted concept: on the one end, it refers to the
relationship between the justice sector and the end users of justice; on the other end, it refers to the effective cooperation and communication among the different players within the justice system. This dichotomy contributes, in both cases, to reinforcing the justice system both internally and externally, while reinforcing trust in public institutions and promoting human rights. Last but not least, ICTs can strengthen any justice system regardless of its nature – civil law or common law systems for instance, while different, can equally benefit from it – therefore promoting a key principle such as legal pluralism – a principle IDLO proudly stands for. IDLO truly believes in the strategic role that technology plays in the justice sector and this becomes evident by looking at its policy and programmatic work. From the policy perspective, IDLO has convened and participated in several events aimed to bringing together Member States, international organizations and the private sector to share best practices and expertise on justice and ICTs; at the programmatic level, just to give you an example, IDLO worked in Kyrgyzstan on a e-justice project intended to enhance transparency of the justice chain by creating a publicly accessible portal where court decisions are published and by assisting the court system in improving its technological capacity to utilize this portal, as well as other IT tools designed to make the judiciary more efficient and transparent. Even though we are still lagging behind the full and complete enjoyment of the benefits that result from the use technologies, we have so much to learn from each other’s experiences and successes in fields ranging from justice to food security and from health to rural development. It is exactly for this reason that the work done by OCCAM and its InfoPoverty conferences is so central. By bringing together different stakeholders these Conferences have created a unique platform for advocacy and political action to bring the power of ICTs to the centre of the development effort geared toward the creation of a prosperous world for all. The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.
Conclusive roundtable chaired by President of OCCAM, Arch. Pierpaolo Saporito
We think that everybody at the XVII Infopoverty World Conference has learned something new in this time spent together sharing the different representative points of view.
- The Governments, represented by their UN Ambassadors such as: Tunisia, Suriname, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Italy, Japan, Vanuatu, Sierra Leone, Niger, South Africa, Palau, outlined very well the different needs, progresses and problems of their countries but also demonstrated a great adhesion to the challenges that the new technologies are bringing to them, even though they are still in a potential status. Nevertheless, despite this, there is a strong knowledge and awareness of requiring both adequate solutions and infrastructure to face the needs of the population, giving priority to the food security and health systems
- NGOs: They always have many ideas and projects but, unfortunately, they remain poor of resources, facing increasing emergencies every day, such as migration and refugees, with a lack of economic assets.They presented many useful projects, where the digital component is still not adequate, but with more and better competences, this could be well achieved, with improved results.
- Companies. They symbolize the driving force of the digital revolution, but the problem is that they are always oriented to consumption and, thus they leave in the shadows the applications and researches addressed to the poorest people. Moreover, they do not understand the capacities of these investments and the great potential of this market which is able to sustain the entire global system, freeing it from the persistent crises of the developed countries and the stagnant markets.Hence, the Conference selected virtuous models of energy innovation and e-money systems that may bring great benefit to the emerging countries.
- The UN System, represented by high-level delegates. They are involved in reaching the SDGs and Agenda 2030, with integrated plans aimed at demonstrating the interaction capacities and high competences held by ECOSOC. Moreover, to be more efficient, they should share their knowledge with the populations in need, according to the slogan: “no one left behind”. Nevertheless, a lack of adequate ICT solutions able to accelerate the achievement of the mission are still apparent.
- The Academic system. It has the will to find, beyond the limits of the existing market, new, open and innovative solutions to satisfy essential needs, such as the project promoted by OCCAM called the World Food Security e-Center and e-Health. A development of the relationships with industry, in order to link research and experimentation with production, is to be hoped for.
The importance of the topic “Transferring knowledge and adequate technologies: the way to combat poverty and make the world safer” has been widely underlined, observing that it is fundamental not to waste the vast resource of knowledge and expertise accumulated by the centres of excellence, in order to redistribute it and fill the growing gap, giving adequate tools for the development of these populations who historically were left behind and now are becoming the new emerging countries asking for a place in the world.
The result is a clear scenario on what we have to do and it appears as a positive outcome:
- For the countries, which can find easier solutions for their citizens, tailored to their needs;
- For the NGOs, able to make their actions more efficient, improving their competences with low-cost and high impact technologies.
- For the companies, which can find solutions at low rates in order to open new markets;
- For the UN system, which can enhance its role as a driver for social development, keeping strong alliances between the knowledge and technical systems;
- For the Academies, who can share their knowledges and expertise to a former excluded audience, becoming the driving force of civilization and values.
The program of Infopoverty 2017/2018 is therefore outlined at different levels. Indeed, optimizing the proposals and the questions forwarded in this Conference, considered as a significant sampling of this current digital era, can become a test to be verified in the field.
- For the Government: infrastructures with digital broadband. This is a priority that should be dealt with in an innovative perspective and it will be more accessible if the governments consider their communication bands as a public good, to be used to connect hospitals, schools, public offices with no cost, as they do for their military security services. They can do this if they stop relying on private companies which, by operating for money, make the social use inaccessible for its high costs. Whereas, creating a public infrastructure, as has already been experimented in the region of Sambaina, in Madagascar, with the village proclaimed an UN Millennium Village, where schools, hospitals and administrative services operated at no cost, the governments will start a strong acceleration of sustainable development and wellness, from which the private companies can also benefit. This leads to generalized access for everybody and the capacity to use the different devices and sensors as working tools.
- For the Companies: the creation of new mobile devices (sensors and robotic devices) that can operate as scientific tools, able to receive and exchange information optimizing working activities (remote diagnosis, e-learning and e-training, job creation, e-money, e-commerce, and so on and so forth) and therefore, widening the market to many populations up till now excluded.
- Digital Services able to provide and exchange information and, transfer knowledge in order to strengthen policies in the fields of food-security and health, otherwise impossible to realize if we consider current economic terms. This is the value of the World Food Security e-Center, that aims at facing the main problems afflicting poor countries by transferring to rural communities competences and technologies to fight food emergencies, activating development processes from the bottom up.
- A correlated platform for services that creates an expanding network of service providers and service users according to their needs and capacities. With the support and supervision of the United Nations, this platform will be managed by local governments, fostered by academics and centers of excellency, furnished by the companies with specific devices, spread out by the civil society and implemented by using the apps and social media according to the current dynamics.
A first operative step can be already foreseen and proposed:
Considering the launch of the first operative model of the center of digital services for development (Health Food Security e-Center), operating in Milan (Italy), we invite:
- The Governments to concretely apply and experiment this model in their countries, with their local institutions, considering the problems of rural development and its applications on the field.
- The NGOs to open a “link window” for an experimental use
- The UN system to join this challenge, by strengthening the digital factor in its projects already begun and connecting the different expertise of the specialized NGOs, and by reinforcing successful experiences, such as the one already experimented in the village of Sambaina, Madagascar, or the WSIS ICT village in Borj Touil in Tunisia.
- The Companies to propose solutions with the use of devices suitable for people’s needs, such as the sensors for sampling detection, physiological testing, imaging, and so on.
- The Universities to connect expertise, for instance with open service providers
- The European Parliament to take in charge the promotion of digital services networks, composed of academics, companies, NGOs and local institutions, in support of the struggle against poverty and of the development of those countries with a huge wave of emigration.
- And it is important to associate the strategy of the smart-cities – already successfully begun – with the smart villages, whose importance is relevant for the development of territories, the re-equilibrating of degrading megalopolis and for the economic sustainability of food-security granted to all.