Sarbuland Khan, of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the UN, announced today in an e-mail that the UN Secretary General has formally approved the creation of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development. I have blogged in the past about the Global Alliance as an interesting idea that was still ill-defined. It appears now to have a bit more form. Mr. Khan explains:
The Global Alliance represents an opportunity for the UN system to come
together around ICT to promote the achievement of the internationally
agreed development goals in partnership with all other stakeholders
from government, business and civil society. The Alliance also provides
a common platform for the UN system and other key stakeholders to
contribute to the follow up to the World Summit on the Information
Society (WSIS) by the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on
Science and Technology for Development. Its principal purpose is to
mainstream and integrate ICT into the broader UN development agenda.
In other words, the Global Alliance is going to be the mechanism for a wider constituency to have some form of inclusion in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development. This was a sticking point for civil society in the WSIS process, since the current remit of the CSTD does not include any provisions for wider consultations or multi-stakeholder participation. Presumably, the Global Alliance is going to be the conduit for that kind of wider interface.
Whether or not this is going to be seen as too far removed from the action to be worth our time is another story.
The next steps for the Global Alliance are for the formation of a Steering Committee and "Strategy Council," outreach to various constituencies, culminating in an inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 19 June 2006.