NOTE: On 19 October 2015, Mr. Osvaldo Larancuent spoke at the United Nations General Assembly as part
Last Monday Mr. Osvaldo Larancuent, ICT professor at university INTEC in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR); was invited to participate in the panel ICT for Development, moderated by Ms. Anne Miroux, Director of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This is a briefing from his participation.
Mr. Larancuent reflected about how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), aligned to support the Goals of Sustainable Development (GSD), collaboratively and with a long-term approach might improve the performance of Nations, in its path to alleviate extreme poverty; improve health, education; increase jobs, potentiate socioeconomic conditions and the welfare of society.
He welcomed the Zero Draft and the WSIS+10 revision process by expressing: “In no other time in the past, billions of people have had opportunities to access information like they do today via Internet from the palm of their hands; to nurture themselves from the flow of knowledge and improving their capabilities; produce and share productive tools & remote educational programs; and being producers and consumers; joining the trends of a new wave of electronic services (e-services) helping extend the reach, the remote participation and inclusion based on ICT programs such as e-government, e- commerce, e-collaboration, e-learning; all of them promoting productivity, financial inclusion, innovation, and change in our societies. This have created an offer, and the required demand”.
Reflecting on the concept of access, in vogue nowadays, a word which needs an agreement from all of us, to apply a broader meaning: “We need more access for people to use and demand local contents available on internet, in their languages, concerning their own culture. Civil society, academy, engineers, technicians, the business private sector, they all need more participation to collaborate in this process to create the required offer”.
Discussing about how change is a force feared by human beings and society in general, he claimed: “Yes, we all know that people fear change! because of the uncertainty it creates! But we all are willing to accept change if it improves our quality of life, provides us new knowledge, new productive tools, new successful experiences. ICTs have the potential to promote growth and efficiencies, but they are tools, that needs knowledge, this is not an automated, plug and play process”.
Stressing on the same subject, he remarked: “The academies, technicians, engineers, professionals are the natural sources of knowledge and expertise; the Business and Private sector have also the expertise about efficiencies, investments and their means to finance business growth; Civil Society the social concerns to contribute respect of human rights, inclusion, participation, equality; they, we, are all willing to contribute with innovation, investments, new business models. Politicians, Authorities, Governments have the responsibility to create and implement public policy, to assure the welfare, social balance; and to improve an enabling environment, bridges, inviting all parties of society to join”.
Like an introspective thought, he added: “It is true that public policies created by Governments are limited by short timing, with political priorities and financial needs to address, but politicians and governments role is to envision and address them in a participative step-by-step process, allowing society to benefit from this short timing, in an incremental solution of problems that may be left behind in the long term. I mean, the society stays; so it is possible for them to monitor, to evaluate and to contribute the plan among each period of government. However, to grab this opportunities, governments and politicians needs to create trust and embrace a vision of actions, commitment and collaboration. I think it is important to assure that all parties in society engage in that virtuous cycle on the short, medium and long term”.
Osvaldo concluded his speech, inviting to consider this moment to continue the change adopted ten years ago, with the help of multilateral institutions such as UN and all its agencies, which have shown impressive results in their assistance and support to keep peace, ensure progress, share knowledge, measure achievements: “Models like that of Internet Governance Forum for instance, has proved success as a model of self-regulated collaboration. ICT should improve our societies, with a people-centered approach, by attracting more innovative collaboration from academy, engineers, professional, technicians, civil society, business private sectors. Governments are not alone in trying to bridge digital divide, we, stakeholders are ready and willing to help with this task. We all want, we all desire to contribute; but for that we all need bridges from authorities, in ways that make sense for all of us, creating the expected Value!”.
Image credit: Samantha Dickinson on Twitter