The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York co-hosted an informal discussion and information sharing session on Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) in collaboration with a group of leading private sector ICT service providers on 09th June 2015.
The informal discussion, which was held at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka was attended by representatives of the Permanent Missions and ICT service provider giants Microsoft, Google and AT &T. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Rohan Perera opened the session.
The objective of the informal discussion was to bring together Member States and the Private Sector to learn about the ICT4D initiatives around the world, to identify how governments and private sector have successfully deployed ICT4D, and to discuss the present challenges and issues in public-private partnerships in ICT4D.
The informal discussion coincides with the commencement of the United Nations General Assembly intergovernmental process to launch the ten year review of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS+10).
Opening the session, Ambassador Rohan Perera stressed the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to sustainable development and identified ICTs as a key enabler of economic development. He emphasized the need for the public and private sectors to work together to foster development through ICTs, and referred to key global achievements facilitated by these partnerships.
Ambassador Perera referred to the effectiveness of this approach in Sri Lanka, where many WSIS outcomes have been implemented. Notably Sri Lanka has jumped 11 places in the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index, leading in South Asia. He said that Sri Lanka has taken a lead initiative in Multi-lingual Internet initiatives, putting in place technical conditions to facilitate local languages on the Internet. He observed that the legal framework for e-Governance and e-Commerce is in place in Sri Lanka, and stated that Sri Lanka has adopted the requisite legislation for electronic commercial transactions, based on UNCITRAL model laws.
Ambassador Perera added that having identified the need for investment in combating criminal activities on the Internet, Sri Lanka is strongly committed to responding quickly to the invitation to join the Budapest Cyber Crime Convention of the Council of Europe.
The presentations by the private sector representatives focused on how ICT providers have partnered with the governments around the world to harness the full potential of ICTs for development, and to make ICTs more affordable. Sri Lanka was cited as an example where a mobile phone service provider has collaborated with government professional healthcare institutions to disseminate health related information among rural women in all three languages.
In order to give the benefits of ICTs to developing countries, the importance of continued investments and public-private partnerships in the ICT sector was stressed.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
10th June 2015