Monday, October 19, 2009

Conference on Development and Information Technologies, 23 – 24 October 2009, Castelldefels, Barcelona

The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) will be holding a Conference on Development and Information Technologies on 23 and 24 October 2009 at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) in Castelldefels, Barcelona. The Conference, organised by the UOC and co-financed by the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament, will be on “Mobile Phones and Internet in Latin America and Africa: What benefits for the most disadvantaged?”

If interested in submitting a paper for this event, please visit the UOC website.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Importance of ICT in Development, Human Rights Highlighted at ITU Telecom World 2009

On 5 October 2009, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) opened the 11th Edition of the Telecom World Forum in Geneva. The opening featured remarks by the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon and the ITU Secretary General Mr. Touré.

Telecom World 2009 is a unique event that brings together government officials and leaders from international organisations and the business industry to discuss the role of information communication technology (ICT) in bringing solutions for the global well-being.

At the opening ceremony of Telecom World 2009, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, highlighted the importance of ICT in the work of the United Nations, in particular in the field of peace, human rights, development and climate change. He also called upon governments and the private sector to remember what is at stake and to find “more creative ways to use ICTs to usher in a new green economy” and added, “Let us work together to find new ways to cut waste, reduce emissions, create jobs, protect against disasters and promote better standards of living.”

Mr. Touré not only outlined the importance of ICT in development, but also linked ICTs to human rights. He stressed that “Communication is a basic human right,” and that “if we are to meet the Millennium Development Goals for ICTs then we will need to work in partnership. And we will need to innovate. And we will need to develop new technologies which will help us deliver on our promise to connect the world.”

During the five days of the Telecom World 2009, participants discussed several issues, such as development; ICTs and climate change; and cyber security; as well as technology foresight and access; empowering development through communications; and business models and policy developments.

With regard to cyber security, Mr. Anuj Singh, Director of the Global Response Centre (GRC), an organisation that aims to track and defend against cyber threats, demonstrated an advanced early response system to combat viral attacks. He also called upon ITU Member States to collaborate in order to respond quicker and in a more efficient way to cyber threats. To support this call, Mr. Touré added that “every country is now critically dependent on technology for commerce, finance, healthcare, emergency services, food distribution and more. Loss of vital networks would quickly cripple any nation and none is immune to cyber attack.”

The relationship between climate change and ICT was also taken up. Although ICT industries does contribute to climate change, participants also underlined ICT’s positive role in addressing the problem. At a Roundtable meeting with Heads of State and Government and chief executive officers, Mr. Ban noted “I know the information and communications technology industry itself is part of the problem, causing 2 to 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. But using these tools, your power, you can reduce at least 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from the other sectors.” ICT can also be used to encourage States as well as the private sector to use “environmentally friendly design”; to promote the development of more energy efficient devices; and to have better monitoring mechanisms in place.

Another issue debated at the forum was new mobile technologies that can revolutionize ICT in developing countries. Since the previous Telecom World Forum, held in 2003, the number of subscribers of mobiles phones has increased tremendously with an estimated 4.6 billion subscribers by the end of 2009. However, these subscribers are not equally distributed around the world. There are still regional disparities in the use of mobile technologies and internet connections. Difficult terrain and high costs, among other challenges, pose significant problems for countries wishing to implement simple internet connections. For instance, in Africa, “there is only one fixed broadband subscriber for every 1000 inhabitants, compared to Europe where there are some 200 subscribers per 1000 people.”

The Forum concluded on 9 October 2009. Delegates and participants from 186 countries recognized the contribution of the information communication technology industry to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in sectors like education and health. They also agreed on a set of recommendations, including the necessity to find new solutions for fast-moving industries; the promotion of new products and services in the world; and greater inclusion for developing countries in information technology. Moreover, the participants recognized ICT’s key role in combating climate change as it can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in various sectors and to risk reduction in case of natural disasters.

One of the other highlights of the ITU World Telecom 2009 was an exhibition on technologies and advanced applications through 35 thematic pavilions. Each pavilion linked a key issue, such as global health, social exclusion and climate change with new technologies and ICT challenges. The exhibition was built around the theme Open Networks — Connected Minds.”

Coinciding with the Telecom World 2009, was the ITU Youth Forum , for which the two sponsors: ITU and the State of Geneva, had invited 250 university students coming from 135 countries to participate. The students got selected on the basis of submitted essays on “What is the biggest problem facing your community and how would you use ICT to solve it?” During the forum, the students were able to challenge their knowledge by participating in debates and to interact with leaders from the public and private sectors.

For more information on Telecom World 2009, click here.

See also: The World in 2009 – ICT Facts and Figures

Monday, August 24, 2009

IITF Intervention at the 2nd Session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Second Session
Geneva, August 10-14 2009

Speaker: Malia Nobrega, Indigenous ICT Task Force, Indigenous World Association, Waikiki Hawaiian Civic Club
Agenda Item 4a: Implementation of the Declaration at the regional and national levels

The indigenous caucus convened at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) called for universal indigenous connectivity and the development of indigenous specific information and communication technologies (ICTs). At this time the International Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF) was formed and mandated to continue the work of WSIS.

Since then the IITF has worked successfully with indigenous delegates at forums such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to lobby states and other multi-stake holders to recognise the special position of Indigenous Peoples.

In article 15 of the WSIS Declaration of Principals and article 22 of the Tunis Commitment states that:

"In the evolution of the Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation of Indigenous peoples, as well as to the preservation of their heritage and their cultural legacy."

The IITF also continues to carry out it’s work in implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples specifically Article 16 and 31 of the Declaration that states:

Article 16
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

Article 31
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Examples of Implementation of the Declaration
Two examples of the work of the IITF that implements the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are:

1. International Indigenous Portal
The IITF has worked hard on implementing the first, global Indigenous Portal. It was launched two years ago at the UN Permanent Forum on the Indigenous Issues. This is a portal that is for, by, and about indigenous peoples and can be found at The portal has an indigenous manager and indigenous regional editors that work in 4 languages- English, French, Spanish, and Russian.

We recently launched the indigenous portal for mobile phones as well as two applications for iPhones and iPods that allows users to access the English news and audio at anytime.

We continue to look for financial support to continue our work on the indigenous portal which also includes creating partnerships with indigenous organizations to provide capacity building opportunities for indigenous peoples to use media and technology as a tool that gives voice to our people.

The indigenous portal is a platform for all indigenous peoples and organizations to share our news, audio, video, stories, etc… Join us on the portal to share stories from your community.

2. dotIndigi

Indigenous Peoples have a long history of collaboration and connection with each other. We believe the global indigenous community should be identified and enhanced by having its own sponsored gTLD on the Internet. Under a .indigi sponsored TLD those nations, tribes, peoples and organisations can assert control over their own Internet space thus reducing the current threats of cyber squatting, intellectual property rights violations and authentication of content.

A .indigi gTLD will play a strategic role in validating indigenous cultures and languages in an age of increasing globalisation. It will make it easier for individuals and groups who wish to associate with the community to identify with other users around the world. The success of the dotIndigi campaign will confirm that the World Wide Web really is inclusive of Indigenous Peoples.


A top-level domain is the last part of an Internet domain name. The original set of these TLDs, defined in October 1984, is still the most familiar .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, and .org, to which .net was added in the first implementation of the domain name system. Management of TLDs is in the hands of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which operates under contract to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Over the years, new TLDs now called generic TLDs, to distinguish them from, say, country-code TLDs have been added, and now .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro are all operational.

Most important, in June 2008, ICANN approved the recommendation of a new gTLD program which would allow just about any organization to apply to reserve its own gTLD. Under this system, for example, Microsoft could apply for .msn, Google for .google, or New York City for .nyc. The implementation plan for the new system is expected to be published in 2009. The plan must then be approved by the ICANN Board before the system is implemented. ICANN is currently aiming to receive applications for domains starting in the second quarter of 2009.

This new plan is now seen as an opportunity for indigenous peoples to have their own gTLDs .taino, for example, or .shipibo. But applying for a gTLD requires significant resources of time, money, and expertise. For that reason dotIndigi has been formed, with the aim of helping Indigenous Peoples be represented on the Internet in a space that is self-governing, representative, and restrictive of intellectual property abuses.

So what is the plan?

The Dot Indigi organisation will apply to ICANN for a new gTLD <.indigi> (or other if the community suggest a different version) to support all indigenous groups of the world.

The .indigi domain would then offer indigenous organizations the opportunity to register their own second-level domains under the .indigi gTLD for example, māori.indigi or diné.indigi. The organization would petition ICANN to approve the use of such characters as ā and é as part of indigenous names at the second and lower domain levels. Several other 2nd Level Domains will be made public to cater to indigenous individuals or smaller such groups who cannot justify the expense and set up of their own 2nd Level Domain.

Individual indigenous organizations could then govern their own domain name space and distribute or resell third-level domain names for example, Kauai.kanakamaoli.indigi. Indigenous peoples could structure their domain levels to accommodate their own culture; the Māori people could, for example, create the third-level domain .kura.māori.indigi under which each individual Māori school could have its own domain. Additional second-level domains would be made available to the public for the use of indigenous individuals or smaller indigenous groups that cannot justify the expense of setting up their own second-level domain.

It is envisaged that an annual percentage of profits would be given back to indigenous groups to participate more in ICT projects that empower their organisation and peoples.

DotIndigi would also petition to have different translations of the term .indigi to be used and to fall under the umbrella of .indigi for example .autoch could be used for autochtone the french translation of indigenous.

This initiative is being led by the New Zealand Māori Internet Society (NZMIS) with support from indigenous organisations - The Indigenous ICT Taskforce and the International Indigenous Librarians' Forum, as well as many individual Indigenous individuals from around the world. WIPO a UN Agency is also supporting this initiative and we hope that other UN Agencies and NGOs will also be able to support us in this work.

For more information on the work of the IITF and our work of continuing to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples please visit us at

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taíno Appointed Member of UN ICT Strategy Council

United Nations (UCTP Taíno News) – Taíno community leader Roberto Borrero has been appointed to serve as a member of the Strategy Council of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA-GAID), for a two-year term starting 1 June 2009 and ending 31 March 2011. Composed of top-level policy makers, practitioners, experts and thinkers, the high-level Strategy Council provides overall strategic guidance and priority setting to UNDESA-GAID.

The Global Alliance functions as a partnership and network supported by the United Nations, under the authority of the Secretary-General and the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Borrero will share his experience as a member of the International Indigenous ICT Taskforce (IITF) with representatives of governments, civil society/not-for-profit, private sector and international organizations.

UNDESA-GAID plans to focus on its key message of how ICTs and innovation can be harnessed to meet key global challenges such as poverty eradication, the financial crisis, climate change, governance and mainstreaming gender within the broader United Nations Development Agenda.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations established the Global Alliance in March 2006, to meet the need for an inclusive, multi-stakeholder global forum and platform for policy dialogue and partnership-building, to promote the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and to enable and catalyze multi-stakeholder partnerships for action under the GAID umbrella.

UCTPTN 05.30.2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Self-governing domain name for Indigenous Peoples

UCTP Taino News - A dynamic campaign, Dot Indigi, is underway to secure a new internet domain-name that would assist Indigenous Peoples around the world by creating an online space that is self-governing, representative and restrictive of Intellectual Property abuses. About 1.5 billion internet users are accustomed to being affiliated to domain-names such as “.com, .org, .edu, .gov” etc. The “Dot Indigi” campaign would produce a new domain or gTLD like a “.com” but it would be recognized as “.indigi”.

The Dot Indigi partnership is formed between the International Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF) and the New Zealand Maori Internet Society (NZMIS) with the conditional support of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The IITF will act as the advisory board to the organization while Māori ICT advocate Karaitiana Taiuru, the recently appointed leader of the Dot Indigi group, will manage the daily affairs of .indigi while growing the organization.

The campaign organizers assert that .indigi will cater to the plethora of Indigenous Peoples who do not have the resources to apply for their own gTLD. The use of .indigi would also remove existing Indigenous representation issues of the predominantly English Internet naming system. The ability to include non English characters will be a priority at the 2nd and subsequent levels.

The .indigi domain will offer registration at the 2nd Level Domain to indigenous organizations who would then govern their own domain name space and resell/distribute 3rd Level Domain names or retain a general project type name at the 2nd Level via the official .indigi registrars.

“Caribbean Indigenous Peoples such as the Taino would be able to apply for taino.indigi for example and create a new set of domain names to accommodate their specific needs” stated Roberto Borrero, a member of the IITF who represents the United Confederation of Taino People.

The Dot Indigi organization also plans to make available several other 2nd Level Domains, which would be made public to cater to indigenous individuals or smaller groups who may not be able to justify the expense and set up of their own 2nd Level Domain. The organization is now promoting the campaign via social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo as well as on Twitter and Google Groups.

The application for the new .indigi domain name will be presented to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). A multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to coordinating the Internet's addressing system, ICANN is now seeking to expand the domain-name system.

ICANN’s rationale for the expansion is that new domains will allow for more innovation, choice and change to the Internet's addressing system, which now constrained by only 21 generic top-level domain names.

Photo: Asia Pacific Internet leader and pioneer of Māori Internet and Software technologies, Karaitiana Taiuru is the head of the Dot Indigi organization.

UCTPTN 02.09.2008