UN Urged To Narrow Global Digital Divide
     A UN panel on Thursday urged the world body to redirect its aid programs to help poorer countries with less Internet access catch up, the Associated Press reports.
     The panel's chair, former Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen, said panel members were disturbed by the lack of a UN strategy for helping spread technologies such as the Internet, and suggested the world body allocate more money.
     "The United Nations has a series of unconnected, small initiatives, all trying to do their own to" push information technology, Figueres-Olsen said. He added that the world body should make the same commitment to technology that it has to combating HIV/AIDS and fostering gender equality.
     Gillian Marcelle, a technology consultant from Trinidad and Tobago, said technology would improve living conditions and close the wealth gap dividing nations (Anick Jesdanun, AP, 20 Apr).
     Shushil Baguant of Mauritius, chair of his country's National Computer Board, said time is running out for solutions. "If you don't do the right thing and address it at this moment, you are going to accentuate the gap," he said (Reuters/Yahoo! News, 20 Apr).
     The panel, assembled by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is comprised of 18 government and business leaders. They will provide details for the UN Millennium Summit in September (Jesdanun, AP).
Source : UN Wire. April 25, 2000