SWITZERLAND AND BELGIUM FUND NEW
UNESCO PROGRAMME AIMED AT BRIDGING
THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Paris, January 17 (No.2001-06)
- Switzerland and Belgium will finance UNESCO’s new Programme for Community
Multimedia Centres through new funds-in-trust dedicated to broadening access to
information and communication for community development.
The donation - Switzerland is
giving Swiss francs 1.5 million over three years, Belgium Euro 334,000 for
2001-2002 - will provide considerable reinforcement to the community media
development activities undertaken over the last 20 years by UNESCO’s
International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
The programme, Integrating
New and Traditional Technologies for Community Development, combines
community broadcasting, especially radio, with Internet and related
technologies. UNESCO has brought its extensive experience in community radio
development and its more recent work in the field of community telecentres to
the innovative area of integrated communication and information facilities.
Some of the poorest communities
in the developing world are now benefiting from the new opportunities provided
by these facilities and finding the knowledge they need for their social and
economic development. Local radio by local people in local languages, combined
with new information and communication technologies, means the literate and
illiterate alike are able to identify their information needs and share in the
processing and exchange of information.
This issue is addressed by
UNESCO and the Sri Lankan authorities in an international seminar on Integrating
New and Traditional Technologies for Community Development in Kothmale, Sri
Lanka, from January 22 to 27, 2001. The meeting presents a unique opportunity
for the international pooling of project experience in this area. Some 20
managers and project co-ordinators from community radios and telecentres in
Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean will exchange experiences in a
workshop. They will be joined by international partners representing
multilateral and bilateral donors, the private sector and NGOs, many of whom are
members of the Global Knowledge Partnership in which UNESCO plays an leadership
role, notably regarding the integration of technologies for community
development. Representatives of the G8 Dot Force will also attend.