Novel Telecommunication Technologies for Socio-Economic Development
The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and Alcatel jointly organized the Workshop on Novel Telecommunication Technologies for Socio-Economic Development (Beirut, 11-13 July 2005) in line with the Letter of Understanding of 27 January 2005 between them and within the framework of the Regional Plan of Action for Building the Information Society (RPoA), which seeks to harness information and communication technologies (ICTs) for employment creation and poverty alleviation. The Workshop was attended by 41 participants from eight countries, who represented telecommunication operators and service providers, Governments, selected international experts, businesses, associations, in addition to national, international and regional organizations. The Workshop was aimed at launching concrete actions for the implementation of the three regional projects that were proposed by Alcatel during the Partners Forum (Damascus, 21 November 2004), which was held in conjunction with the Second Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society (Damascus, 22-23 November 2004). Specifically, the Workshop sought to raise wareness on and initiate partnerships for pilot projects related to market information systems for agriculture and fishing businesses, broadband access to the private and public sectors, and use of an existing regional partnership centre for incubating telecommunications projects. Following presentations and discussions of project ideas, participants merged with a number of pilot projects on the following: (a) the implementation of market information systems for agriculture products and for health services; (b) the provision of broadband access for educational content and for strengthening community centres; and (c) the formulation of a regional framework for roadband deployment in the ESCWA region. Alcatel and ESCWA are set to facilitate the execution of these pilot projects by providing support in the development of concept papers, assisting in the fund-raising process, ensuring that partnerships are adequate, and following up on the implementation towards the established goals.