The key objective of achieving a comprehensive and coherent United Nations system approach to ICT as a source of economic and social progress is being considerably advanced by the World Summit on the Information Society. Individually and collectively, including through the International Telecommunication Union-led High-level Summit Organizing Committee, organizations of the system are actively engaged in aligning their programmes with the outcome of the Geneva phase of the World Summit. The High-level Summit Organizing Committee, responsible for supporting at the inter-agency level the preparations for the second phase of the World Summit, has analysed the changing patterns of the digital divide, the emerging information society and its building blocks, and their implications for the work of the United Nations system in support of development, including in particular the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Many organizations within the system are providing policy advice on the formulation and implementation of national e-strategies, on regulatory reform and institutional development and on programmes and projects to improve connectivity, capacity and local content development. Initiatives within the system are multiplying to provide technical assistance and support for ICT applications in areas ranging from education and health to e-government and e-commerce. Nonetheless, the need remains for greater coordination of these efforts and their closer integration with the broader development agenda.

Inter-agency discussions have concluded that a more coherent and collaborative approach to ICT policy advice and programme support requires:

  • Millennium Development Goal-focused e-strategies integrated into national development plans and priorities;
  • Policy and regulatory reform that balances the advantages of an open and competitive environment with the need to serve the needs of the poor and underprivileged;
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships combining official, private and non-profit resources     and capacities to support ICT for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Multilateral solutions capitalizing on the transnational character of the information technology revolution;
  • Pro-poor business models;
  • Joint and scaled-up efforts to promote connectivity and access and development of     local ICT capacity, content and applications to advance the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Innovative funding mechanisms.

Under the aegis of CEB, the High-Level Committee on Programmes, in close consultation with the High-level Summit Organizing Committee, is working on mainstreaming and integrating ICT into the broader development agenda, including through the elaboration of system-wide approaches and guidelines for use by country representatives and by the resident coordinator system. Working closely with the High-Level Committee on Management and its ICT Network, the High-Level Committee on Programmes is also focusing on developing a clear vision of a United Nations system-wide knowledge management system, its optimum functionality and implementation options.