Mongolia and Pacific Island nations to benefit from UN technology training

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11 September 2008 – Officials in Mongolia and Pacific Island States are set to receive training in information and communication technology (ICT) geared towards helping them achieve their social and economic development goals, thanks to two new agreements signed with the United Nations.

The UN Asian and Pacific Training Centre for ICT for Development (UN-APCICT), which is leading the effort, will customize its training curriculum – known as the Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders – in cooperation with Mongolia’s Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) and the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).

The Academy consists of eight core modules that begins with ICT basics and builds up to more advanced ICT for development topics, ranging from ICT for development policy, process and governance; e-government applications; security and privacy issues; and ICT project management.

“Mongolia is a challenging place for development – landlocked, and with extreme climate dominated by sparsely populated steppe and semi-desert,” said Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of APCICT, a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

“The uses of ICT there are many, especially when it comes to combating the tyranny of distance,” she added.

In Mongolia, ICTA is implementing the e-Mongolia National Programme with the aim of enhancing people’s quality of life through projects such as “PC for All” and “IT Literacy for All Citizens.” It is organizing the first national Academy workshop in November for ministers, members of parliament and other senior officials.

Ms. Rhee noted that the Pacific Island nations, while completely different to Mongolia on the surface, face many of the same challenges that ICT could help to overcome.

“The 22 island States are faced with the problems imposed by the small scale and scattered nature of their populations and markets, vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, and the lack of supporting infrastructure such as electricity and communications.”

A regional Academy workshop was just held last week in the Cook Islands which, along with Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, have ICT policies in place. Other island nations have also indicated support for ICT for development, with many of them requesting similar training in their countries. As a result, SOPAC is planning to hold 14 national Academy workshops over the next two years.

Based in Incheon, Republic of Korea, APCICT works to strengthen the capacity of ESCAP member countries to use ICT for development.

SOURCE: UN News Centre

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