FROM DIGITAL DIVIDE TO DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY: A GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION July 22, 2000
Today, the world has an historic opportunity to promote global participation in the network economy and society. New information and communication technologies like the Internet are transforming the way we live, learn and work. Nations that succeed in harnessing its potential can look forward to greatly expanded economic growth, dramatically improved human welfare, and stronger forms of democratic government. Developing nations have an unprecedented opportunity to meet vital development goals such as poverty reduction, basic healthcare, and education far more effectively than before.
The challenge to bridge the global digital divide cannot be underestimated. But it is essential that developing nations become full participants in the network economy and society. Technology is no "silver bullet" for the problems of the developing world. Yet if we fail to ensure that all nations have the opportunity to participate fully in the network economy and society, we run the risk that the divide between nations will grow. It is against this background that we issue A Global Call to Action with the stated goal of achieving digital access and education for all before this decade is out.
We recognize that to be successful in turning the digital divide into the digital opportunity a concrete and coordinated effort must be undertaken with the participation of all partners and stakeholders, including companies, foundations, non-governmental organizations, governments and multilateral organizations. The G-8, developing nation, multilateral institution, private sector, and foundation commitment to the creation of a Digital Opportunity Task Force (the dot force) is a vital and unprecedented first step toward the goal of achieving digital access and education for all by the year 2010.
We also recognize that the diverse conditions and needs of the developing nations should be taken into account, and that local cultures be preserved and promoted. There is no "one size fits all" solution. The critical success factor will be developing nations' ownership through the adoption of coherent strategies to build national information infrastructure in pursuit of core development goals, expanded human capacity, community initiatives and indigenous entrepreneurship, and a pro-competitive policy and regulatory environment.
There has never been a better time to take action. An unprecedented willingness exists in industrialized nations, developing countries, the private sector, and civil society to work together and offer their efforts to eradicate digital inequity among rich and poor, young and old. The developed nations offer their efforts to create the policy framework and enabling conditions that can allow nations and their citizens to benefit from the digital opportunity. And multilateral institutions and global networks of non-governmental organizations offer their efforts as catalysts and guarantors in this process.
As companies, foundations, and non-governmental organizations we are committed to help create digital opportunity for the people of the developing nations, and to take concrete steps in the following five key strategic areas:
COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING PRESIDENT CLINTON'S GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION FOR DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY
3Com Agilent Technologies Andersen Consulting AOL AT&T Carnegie Corporation Center for Democracy and Technology Center for International Development, Harvard University Cisco Systems Citigroup Communities in Schools Compaq Corning Incorporated Discovery Communications Eastman Kodak EBay EDS Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Gates Foundation Global Information Infrastructure Commission IBM Information Technology Association of America Information Technology Industry Council Intel Internet Policy Institute Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Lucent Technologies Lyceum Network Integration Markle Foundation Motorola NCR New York Life International, Inc. Nortel Novell Open Society Institute PeopleGive PeoplePC People Technology Foundation Rubin Systems SGI Solar Electric Light Fund StarMedia Foundation Sun Microsystems The Chubb Corporation Time Warner Verizon Foundation Vertex World Links Organization World Resources Institute WorldCom Inc.