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Press Release_Day 0 event ahead of Internet Governance Forum 2014_final




Leaders see increasing access to technologies as essential to improving people’s lives during ministerial event held ahead of the Internet Governance Forum


High Level Leaders Meeting focuses on building capacity for economic development through greater access to technologies


Istanbul, Turkey, 1 September 2014—The Republic of Turkey hosted a High Level Leaders Meeting on Capacity Building for Economic Development today in advance of tomorrow’s opening of the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum.


Dr. Tayfun Acarer, Chairman of the Board and President of Information and Communications Technologies Authority for the Republic of Turkey, welcomed several ministers of United Nations Member States and a diverse group of leaders from international organizations and the private sector to the High Level Leaders Meeting.


Dr. Acarer highlighted Turkey’s increased access to technology as a sign of the country’s improved development. Dr. Acarer noted that the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was a very important event to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to consider the future of the Internet.


Participants were brought together to consider how providing access to information and communications technologies, including the Internet, could improve people’s lives and develop their capacity.


By the end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users, and two-thirds are from developing countries. However, this means that more than four billion people still do not have access to the Internet, and most people without Internet access live in developing countries. In Africa, only 20 per cent of the population is expected to be online by the end of 2014.


Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, said that people need the competencies of media and information literacy to the Internet. Having this range of skills, Mr. Engida said, empower digital citizens to “access, retrieve, understand, evaluate and use, create, as well as share.”


Mr. Engida said to build inclusive societies, education is essential, and that everyone must adapt to new working environments and media making media and information literacy for all a priority. Mr. Engida urged governments to invest in more education for skilled individuals.


“Successful capacity building for sustainable development is about empowering and enabling people through the transfer of knowledge and skills to make progress for future generations,” Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, said.


Mr. Gass said that development practitioners and experts have recognized the power and impact of information and communications technologies to promote knowledge exchange, technical cooperation and capacity building for sustainable development.


According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in developing countries, the number of Internet users will have doubled in five years, from 974 million in 2009 to 1.9 billion in 2014. The ITU has noted that by measuring the information society, we can track progress, or identify gaps, towards achieving socio-economic development for all.


“We are working to bring all the people of the world online,” Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, said. “Human capacity building in information and communications technologies is an ever more important policy for any country seeking to harness the power of information and communications technologies for development.”


The High Level Leaders Meeting was held ahead of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which opens tomorrow and is expected to gather more than 2,500 participants representing governments, inter-governmental organisations, private sector, the technical community and civil society.


Jānis Kārkliņš, Ambassador of Latvia and Chair of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group of the IGF said that the notion that ICTs are a catalyst and even an engine of development is under consideration in a framework of elaboration of the post 2015 sustainable development agenda


“Ensuring free flow of information, freedom of expression and an environment conducive for innovation is an important part of public policy that falls within the remit of governments,” Mr. Kārkliņš said. “Today’s ministerial level debate provides valuable input that is necessary to assess the strength and challenges of IGF. Today’s discussions contribute to enhancing multi-stakeholder dialogue that is so important for increased understanding and capacity building.”


Participants are expected to examine cross-border Internet governance issues including, network neutrality, cybersecurity, surveillance, social media, freedom of expression and digital inequalities. These topics and more will be discussed at more than 100 events over four days. The theme for the Istanbul meeting is ‘Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance,’ and an emphasis is being placed on strengthening the evolving multistakeholder model for Internet governance. The opening session of IGF begins at 1430 Turkish time tomorrow.


For additional information, visit: http://www.intgovforum.org and many IGF events will be webcast at: http://webcast.igf2014.org.tr/index.html


For more information, please contact the UN Information Centre, Ankara:

Mr. Ahmet Parla                                           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                          +90 533 500 1497

Ms. Tuba Coskun                                          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                      +90 533 392 0639

Mr. Emile Kaboré                                         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                   +226 5031 3397

Mr. Wynne Boelt                                          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                          +90 535746 5481


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