Final Declaration, XVII Infopoverty World Conference

TRANSFER AND APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES: AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMBAT POVERTY, REDUCE INEQUALITIES AND MAKE THE WORLD SAFER

 Thanking

  • The President of the Italian Republic, H.E. Sergio Mattarella, for his high interest and support for the Conference;
  • The President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Ms Laura Boldrini, and the Prime Minister, Mr Paolo Gentiloni, for their High Patronage;
  • The European Parliament, represented by Hon. Brando Benifei, and Mr Bruno Marasa’, Director of European Parliament Office in Milan;
  • The Representatives of the Governments of: Italy,H.E. Amb. Sebastiano Cardi; Japan, H.E. Amb. Yasuhisa Kawamura; Madagascar, H.E. Amb. Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy; Malawi, H.E. Deputy Permanent Representative Lot Dzonzi; Mozambique, H.E. Amb. Antonio Gumende; Suriname,H.E. Amb. Henry MacDonald;Tunisia,H.E.Amb.Ryadh Ben Sliman; Vanuatu, H.E.Amb.L.V.Lierop for their active participation, their valuable contributions and commitments;
  • Representative of UN-DESA, UNCCD, FAO, IDLO, UN-GAID, CICT-UNESCO and of numerous non-governmental stakeholders active in the process of sustainable and digital development for their engagement and their thoughtful and valuable ideas and suggestions;

 Taking into consideration the statements summarized in the attached Report,

 Adopt the following DECLARATION

The effective way to combat poverty, reduce inequalities, and make the world safer is through the transfer and application of knowledge and digital technologies, thereby accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ICT revolution has opened up new ways of guaranteeing access to all in order to achieve a more democratic and inclusive society. The incumbent Digital Era is facing the challenge of climate change, mass migrations, extreme poverty, hunger and epidemic diseases; ICTs and new technologies can play a crucial role, if properly applied, to enable disadvantaged communities to benefit from basic digital services, such as e-learning, e-health, e-governance, food security, and finance, providing clean energy and adequate infrastructures.

Empowering governments to apply effective evidence-based economic and social policies in rural areas, along the lines of the Smart ICT-Villages model realized by the Infopoverty Program in the UN Millennium village of Sambaina, Madagascar, in 2007, and the BorjTouil, WSIS village in Tunisia, 2005, could be strategic in creating  broader sustainable development synergic with the international policies of Smart cities, avoiding slum development and implementing job creation for the provision of food and goods to cities from the hinterland.

The energetic involvement of all stakeholders participating in the Conference – governments, industry, civil society, academia, international institutions, the UN system – is essential in order to take advantage of these opportunities and respond to the appeal launched by the various countries to begin focused actions on the ground to apply the tested best practices and promote a Global Alliance in order to implement and enhance on a wide scale the most effective ICT applications and e-services, as a transformative tool to implement Agenda 2030 and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

The solutions presented at the conference to alleviate the pressure of migration and help populations in their own home countries, assist refugees, empower disadvantaged peoples by providing basic e-services are all strongly recommended for support by the international community.

To this end, noting the urgency of concrete actions to realize these objectives, approve these projects:

  • The “Health Food Security e-Center,” presented by Giuseppe Enne, Chair of the Scientific Committee of NRD-UNISS, is designed to strengthen e-agriculture services through remote diagnostics of plants and animals diseases, food preservation, hygienic quality, human nutrition, the training of human capital, and job creation. These digital services are addressed to rural communities in need, through a platform which connects the service providers (R&D, laboratories) to the service users located in developing countries. The e-Center, organized as a Consortium, which is open to academia, NGOs, companies and public and private institutions, is led by OCCAM and opened to interested stakeholders.
  • The “Milan Urban Food Policy Pact” (MUFPP), introduced by Claudia Sorlini, president of the Scientific Committee of Milan Expo, is focused on the most compelling food issues. Signed by 130 cities at Universal Exposition of Milano 2015, it is able to cooperate with HFSeC gathering and disseminating the best practices, as useful models for those communities which need to face hunger and social equity in a sustainable way.
  • The “Digital Unify Program”, (DUP), set up by the STMicroelectronics Foundation, aims to share e-learning and distant training in remote areas, facilitating job creation for women and youth. The key tool of the DUP is the Informatics and Computer Basics Course (ICB), which has managed to reach twenty-six countries since 2003. It is proposed to be installed in the Sambaina UN Millennium Village as a contribution to its relaunching plan (see below).
  • The “eMedMed” project, has been developed by the Infopoverty Program 2015 with IITM, the International Institute of TeleMedicine, in order to provide e-health services through specialized innovative mobile devices that link both local and peripheral hubs in South Mediterranean countries, with a view to ensuring basic medical assistance to the population and resolving a large number of healthcare problems. Moreover, the project, based in Catania, is also designed to meet the health security challenges resulting from the migrant and refugees emergency.
  • The “renewable energy solutions”, presented by Rehan Chaudhri, Principal Peak XV Advisor, covers wind, solar, geothermal and biomass renewable energy technologies as well as storage batteries. With prices of these technologies declining and capacities improving their competitiveness has increased. Likewise, natural gas is becoming a cheaper and cleaner fossil fuel source for global base load electricity generation. The evolution and wider use of these energy sources can lead to decentralization of the energy sector that will enable developing countries to achieve greater energy independence, with a dramatic impact on global economic development, poverty alleviation, and improvement in the quality of life.
  • The “Mental Health Program”, promoted by the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation, is designed as a new model, aimed at comprehensive and integrated community mental health care, with the new technologies playing a major role, and implemented in
  • The Project in Mozambique, presented by Milton Wainberg of Columbia University, has been carried out, preparing trainers and technicians to cope with the epidemic of HIV. The same method has been followed with mental health, providing training for 120 psychiatric technicians. Considering the success of this actions the Smithers Foundation proposes to organize an
  • African Summit in order to share best practices on Health and Climate Change.
  • “E-money services”, by Nippon Biodiesel Fuel Co., serves the operators of tablets and smartphones based on the android system. Through these devices, they can purchase agricultural products from farmers, record how much money each farmer uses, check their consumption, record the money given by donors. This project is ready to be applied in villages.
  • “Improving the agricultural productive capacity”, a project launched by the Government of Sao Tomé and Principe and led by NGO Alisei and Por Qua Tela, works to allow accessibility to quality agricultural products, promoting the use of innovative technologies and reducing risks linked to food insecurity.
  • “1Billion Voices Digital Expo” Project introduced by Dominika Żak, is creating a direct link with people with disabilities from all corners of the planet, permitting them to virtually participate and make their voices heard through communication technologies and the engagement of young people.
  • The National Council of Women operates different projects, addressing women heads of households and leaders of communities. It enables access to broadband to enable the growth and progress of women, children and families across the country.
  • The “Smiling Foundation project” headed by Lidwine Meffo, teaches women in African  villages how to read and write and how to take better care of children, use the ‘Mobile Money’ system to transfer money, and prevent corruption in the telemedicine complex.
  • The “Idili and Sustainability and Food Security” Project (ISFSP), by Affecting Change International, has been developed in Kenya. Directed by Michael Barton, who is working to find solutions for the wide diffusion of sanitation practices to prevent HIV/AIDS, with the broader goal of improving agricultural productivity, to be achieved with the application of modern agricultural practices on a systematic basis by technical improvement and implementation of farm management, and empowerment of youth to use their energies through participatory demo sites and design workshops.
  • The mayor of Seat Pleasant, Eugene W. Grant, presented a new approach to a better strategy through the use of ICT tools, in order to create sustainable opportunities for the Seat Pleasant community. It focus will be on empowering villages by making them smart villages  and connecting them with smart cities by offering adequate  services, microgrid, creating jobs and supporting entrepreneurs in order to provide more healthy  food for the urban population.
  • The “Spirulina Project”, presented by Kohsuke Hara, on which Asahi Ota is working as a nutritionist, providing what is needed for an undernourished population in powder form that needs no cooking, the simplicity of which can lead to sustainability.

The Conference endorsed all these projects for a concerted action within the ambit of the Infopoverty Program 2017-2018, to be offered to the Governmental institutions and the UN system as a practical contribution to accelerate the achievement of SDGs.

The Conference further took in high consideration the statements made by:

  • Navid Hanif, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Department of Economic: and Social Affairs: to work with Infopoverty to advance practical solutions for implementation of the 2030 Agenda, designed to leave no one behind.
  • Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, UN-DESA: to support member states by contributing to the intergovernmental process and work together with a people-centered approach to reach the most vulnerable people and bridging the digital divide.
  • Melchiade Bukuru, Chief, UNCCD Liaison Office in New York for ICT diffusion and applications to help bridge the knowledge gap in the measurement of the geography of land degradation and desertification, which coincides with abject poverty, chronic malnutrition, hunger, political instability, conflict and where disasters wreak the most havoc.
  • Carla Mucavi, Director, FAO Liaison Office in New York to use the proposed platform to make a contribution and a solution to the critical needs of Countries. This can happen only with the spread of technology and information in developing countries to enable them to exploit the full potential of ICTs.
  • Patrizio Civili, former UN ASG, IDLO Permanent Observer to the United Nations to ensure that ICT’s contribution to addressing inequalities  and overcoming disparities and exclusion that endanger solidarity and fuel conflict is projected as a powerful tool of peace building as well as sustainable development.
  • Federica Scala, legal officer, IDLO Observer Office to the United Nations, to project and realize the strategic role that ICT can play in the justice sector, particularly in facilitating access to justice and access to legal institutions and access to legal information which are crucial agents to advance development and its sustainability.
  • Sarbuland Khan, former Executive Coordinator, UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development to mobilize a global effort to harness new and emerging ICT technologies to advance the 2030 Agenda and achieve the SDGs.

The 17th Infopoverty World Conference, thanks the Representatives to the UN of the Governments of Tunisia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Vanuatu, Zambia, Madagascar, Niger,  Italy and Japan, appreciating their statement and proposals.

The Conference decides to consider as a priority the application of the above-mentioned projects in:

  • The South Saharan Countries (Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso…), are affected by extreme poverty, the principal cause of the current alarming exodus of people, in order to provide assistance for rapid development, transferring knowledge and adequate technologies to spur large-scale job creation, following the Migration Compact and the Addis Ababa Agenda.
  • Sambaina, in Madagascar, to relaunch the UN Millennium Village, created by the Infopoverty Program in 2006, empowering it and providing new e-services on health, education and food security, implemented by renewable energy, job creation and e-money solution, following the appeal from the Mayor Razakatoanina Mamisoa and the Madagascar Permanent Representative to the UN, as a model for a new policy of rural development for the whole nation.
  • BorjTouil, in Tunisia, the ICT village of WSIS 2005 (World Summit on the Information Society), where a Hub for school, dispensary and community, was created to share basic services. As stated by the Tunisian Permanent Representative to the UN, it will be necessary to empower it with a wider application of telemedicine and e-training on food security, with the objective of updating the model in order for it to be reproduced in many other rural communities to help them to advance their development processes.
  • Mozambique, has the potential to address the challenge to eradicate poverty, as it is determined to use ICT as an important key for education, health, agriculture and electronic money.
  • Malawi, wishes to empower Smart Villages, which brought a lot of benefits for the rural community improving their level of food security and their ability to store food without spoiling.
  • Vanuatu, calls for improving the international community for international property laws to address the role they play in denying people in the developing countries equitable access to the broadband and to ICT.
  • Suriname, stresses the need to create an adequate infrastructure for communication, to reduce wiifi cost, and enable people to use their smartphones and to be connected with a broadband international connection system, considered as the priority for ICT development.
  • Sao Tomé, with the needs to improve the agricultural production capacity, to contribute in reducing vulnerability, food insecurity risks and the accessibility to quality agricultural products, to increase and diversify the 1400 farmers’ food production using methodologies and adequate technologies.
  • Sierra Leone, following the suggestions of H.E. Madina Rahamam, Minister of Health, applying telemedicine to prevent Ebola and to ensure a large assistance to the remote communities.
  • Zambia, emphasizes the need to implement the successful experimentation where the diet of one community was investigated by the Key Food survey, under the frame of the “Spirulina Project”. Thanks to the above mentioned survey it was possible to design a nutrition activity plan shaped on community inhabitants needs.

Considering the dramatic challenges faced by the poor population and the practical solutions shared, and the will of the project owners to share their capacity in concrete applications, the Conference

Invites:

All stakeholders to join the GLOBAL ALLIANCE, to empower fighting poverty and accelerate the SDGs achievement.

 In particular:

  • The Governments could seize the opportunity to concretely apply the solutions endorsed by the Conference and adopted in their program, in order to accelerate the rural development through the implementation and diffusion of Smart ICT-Villages, and re-equilibrating the degraded megalopolis ensuring health and food security to all.
  • The NGOs could share the best practices with the aim to achieve an adequate digital component with more and better technical competences, acquiring useful digital services by working in synergy with the governments and UN system.
  • The UN System could take advantage of these larger capacities and competences to enhance its role as a driver for the sustainable social development, urging, as ECOSOC, a strong convergence between knowledge and technical systems to make it available in order to reach the SDGs and Agenda 2030.
  • The Academia could enrich its mission acquiring new audience, finding new innovative solutions to satisfy essential needs of the emerging countries and disadvantage communities, sharing data as service provider main player.
  • The Companies could intensify researches for new integrated applications addressed to the emerging population, understanding the great potential of this market able to sustain the entire global system and transferring adequate technologies to make the world safer.
  • The Donors could have a solid reference and survey in order to maximize the given support, through the promotion of digital services networks directly to the users.

Recommends to use the Health Food Security e-Center Platform, as the practical tools to operate, transferring competences and technologies, digital services such as food security, e-health,  and e-Learning, directly interacting with the users.

Thanks the Smithers Foundation for the organization of the African Summit on “E-Health and Climate Change” as follow-up of the Conference and for the launch of the Infopoverty program 2018-2019.

Give mandate to OCCAM, thanking for the organization of 17th IWC, to continue serving as the Permanent Secretariat of the Infopoverty Conference and Program in order to facilitate the implementation of the present Declaration and to organize the IWC 2018.

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