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June 2002 Canada
Canada Chairs Information and Communication Technologies
for Development Meeting

CALGARY, May 7, 2002 -- Members of the G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force (G8 DOT Force) today concluded meetings in support of their efforts to further global development and poverty reduction through the advancement and use of information and communications technologies.

The members of the DOT Force met in Calgary on May 5-7 to finalize their report on the implementation of their Action Plan, which was endorsed by G8 Leaders at 2001 Summit in Genoa. The DOT Force is a concerted effort involving developing countries, G8 governments, international organizations, and the private and not-for-profit sectors working together to develop ways and means to assist the developing world in enhancing their social and economic goals through the deployment of information networks and technologies.

The DOT Force initiatives also target the specific needs expressed by African Leaders through the New Partnership for Africa's Development, particularly in such areas as: support for the development of national e-strategies; improvements in access and connectivity; and promoting entrepreneurs and enterprise in developing economies. Industry Canada is the lead agency in Canada's DOT Force efforts, both internationally and domestically.

Mr. Peter Harder, Deputy Minister of Industry Canada, Ms. Maureen O'Neil, President of International Development Research Centre, and Mr.Charles Sirois, President of Telesystem Ltd., are the Canadian representatives on the DOT Force.

Canada, in its capacity as G8 Chair, will provide a report card to the G8 Leaders in Kananaskis in June detailing the progress that has been made in the implementation of the DOT Force's plan of action. The task force will bring more than 20 concrete initiatives developed under its auspices to the attention of G8 Leaders. These initiatives encompass the application of information technologies across a broad range of social and economic sectors, including education, health, and small business development.

Although the DOT Force will formally conclude its work with the report to G8 Leaders in Kananaskis, various stakeholders will continue to develop and implement individual projects and initiatives in the months ahead. For more information regarding the G8 DOT Force,
please refer to the following Web site: http://www.dotforce.org.


Digital Opportunity Task Force

When adopting the Charter on the Global Information Society (the Okinawa Charter) at their June 2000 Summit in Kyushu-Okinawa, Japan, G8 leaders agreed to establish a special task force to address the digital divide through a broader international approach.

The Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) was formed later in 2000, with a mandate to work with other partners in a manner that would be responsive to the needs of developing countries. DOT Force brings together representatives from the G8 governments, developing countries, the private business sector, civil society and international organisations. The DOT Force thus includes:

  • senior officials from the G8 governments;
  • representatives from eight developing countries;
  • seven representatives from international and multilateral organisations, such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Telecommunications Union;
  • 11 leaders from the private sector;
  • and eight representatives from the non-profit sector.
As the world's most industrialised nations, the G8 members are already heavily involved in most international and multilateral forums addressing development issues. So as not to duplicate the work of other organizations, the DOT Force focuses on the deployment and use of information and communications technologies for social and economic development. Its objective, as stated in the Kyushu-Okinawa Communiqué, is to facilitate discussions and cooperation with developing countries, international organisations and other stakeholders, in order to foster policy, regulatory and network readiness, improve connectivity, lower costs and build human capacity in information and communication technologies. The Task Force also encourages G8 members to cooperate on projects and programs related to information technology.

Between November 2000 and April 2001, DOT force members held three plenary meetings and representatives held informal meetings during the course of six international forums. To facilitate consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, the DOT Force developed a common template of questions and issues and sought comments and input on-line through its Web site. All comments and input arising from these consultations were considered in the DOT Force's deliberations.

The DOT Force presented its report to G8 leaders in July 2001, in Genoa, Italy, where it put forward a detailed, nine-point Plan of Action (the Genoa Plan of Action) that was meant to provide a basis for developing economies to achieve sustainable social and economic development enabled by information and communications technologies. The plan also provided a framework for possible initiatives by member governments and other stakeholders, including a call for initiatives that would:

  • Help establish and support developing country and emerging economy national e-strategies;
  • Improve connectivity, increase access and lower costs;
  • Enhance human capacity development, knowledge, creation and sharing;
  • Foster enterprise and entrepreneurship for sustainable economic development;
  • Establish and support universal participation in addressing new international policy and technical issues raised by the Internet and information and communications technologies;
  • Establish and support dedicated initiatives for the information and communications technologies inclusion of less-developed countries;
  • Promote information and communications technologies to support health care and the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious and communicable diseases;
  • Encourage national and international efforts to support local content and applications creation;
  • Prioritize information and communications technologies in the G8, as well as other development assistance policies and programs;
  • and Enhance the coordination of multilateral initiatives.

DOT Force members are meeting in Calgary on May 6 and 7, 2002, to review the progress in the implementation of the Genoa Plan of Action and to finalize the progress report that will be presented to G8 leaders at their Kananaskis Summit in June 2002. Since the DOT Force will cease to exist after the next G8 Summit, its members are also reviewing the transition process that will allow other international and multilateral bodies, like the United Nations, to carry on the implementation of the initiatives approved by the G8 leaders.