17 November 2005

UN Launches Global Initiative for ICT in Parliament at Information Society Summit

TUNIS, 16 November (DESA) -- The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, today launched the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, an alliance of national and regional assemblies, bilateral and multilateral agencies, international organizations, media, corporations and civil society.

This innovative initiative is the result of consultations with committed speakers of national and regional parliaments worldwide, led by Pier Ferdinando Casini, President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and, elected last October, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).  It seeks to contribute to the empowerment of legislatures by reinforcing parliament capacity to harness information and communication technology tools, and place them at the service of the institutional process, citizens' access to parliamentary activities and of inter-parliamentary cooperation.  It is intended to provide a framework to better coordinate and give common orientation to the different international efforts underway, to leverage the forces of the Information Society in support of democracy, the rule of law, and economic and social development.

"Among the institutions central to promoting and consolidating good governance, parliaments are especially well placed to take advantage of ICTs, to foster democracy and narrow the democratic deficit, to help shape the Information Society and to improve their own particular role within it," Mr. Ocampo stated.

"We need to find new modalities to better interrelate relevant research and operational work in information and communication technology, so that they deliberately reinforce each other; to identify best practices that should be exploited in a much more systematic way; and to create a hub that could help leverage the wide-ranging capabilities of parliaments to build better societies and a better globalization".

Mr. Ocampo called for greater collaboration at the international level to make available experiences and resources to facilitate the integration of information and communication technology in parliamentary processes, and to ensure that parliaments around the world maximize their contribution to implement and monitor the internationally agreed goals that make up the global United Nations development agenda.

The global initiative is also expected to provide new opportunities to step up United Nations cooperation with the IPU, in the global struggle for fair, equitable and inclusive development.

The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament was launched during a high-level dialogue on "Governance, Global Citizenship and Technology:  the Role of Parliaments in the Information Society", held on the opening day of the World Summit on the Information Society.  Participants included Geoffrey Quinton Doidge of the South African Parliament, Paolo Gentiloni Silveri of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Anders Johnsson, Secretary-General of IPU and Adama Samassekou, President of the African Academy of Languages and former President of the World Summit on the Information Society Preparatory Committee for Geneva phase.

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