UN Chief stresses role of IT in advancing social good

UNITED NATIONS, (PNA/Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Monday highlighted the role that information communication technologies (ICTs), including youth-driven social media platforms, play in combating poverty and advancing development worldwide.

“Young people, perhaps more than anyone, understand how ICTs can help make a difference in people’s lives,” the secretary- general said. “In recent years we have seen how youth-driven social media platforms can help disseminate ideas and generate momentum for change.”

Ban made the statement in his message to the BYND 2015 Global Youth Summit, which started Monday in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“Information technology has a growing role in connecting friends and families, teachers and students, doctors and patients, farmers, traders and markets,” he said in remarks delivered by the UN Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi,

The BYND2015 Global Youth Summit, an initiative of the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), seeks to get young people involved in the shaping of the post-2015 development agenda.

Along with some 700 participants meeting in San Jose, more than 3,000 young people around the world are following the three-day summit online and contributing their ideas from 43 hubs or workshops in 25 different countries using social media channels.

ICTs are increasingly important to the work of the UN, allowing it to better listen and respond to citizens of the world, Ban said.

“Over the past year, these new tools have enabled the UN to initiate an unprecedented global conversation on people’s aspirations for the coming decades,” he said. “More than one million people from all regions and backgrounds contributed, half of whom were under 30 years old.”

These contributions, which will be published on Tuesday in a report entitled, “A Million Voices: the World We Want,” will provide guidance to the deliberations of the UN General Assembly later this month, Ban said.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general encouraged young people to use ICTs to enrich their lives and communities, harnessing their power to accelerate progress on education, employment, and poverty reduction.

During the Summit, participants will take part in a range of activities including workshops designed to motivate young people and challenge them to develop innovative solutions, UN officials said here.

A 24-hour “hackathon” will also take place both at the Summit and at offsite locations around the world, said the officials.