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Reclaiming ICT4D at the WSIS Forum 2017


BookTo coincide with the recent publication of my new book entitled Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development (Oxford University Press, 2017), the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D is convening a workshop on Friday 16th June at the 2017 WSIS Forum being held in Geneva.  The key premise of the workshop is that the global spread of ICTs has increased inequality, and that the poorest and most marginalised have therefore failed sufficiently to benefit.  The workshop will explore whether the continued focus on the ways through which ICTs can contribute to economic growth will inevitably lead to ever increasing, and dangerous, inequality, and will make recommendations as to how different stakeholders can best ensure that the poorest and most marginalised can indeed benefit from their use.

It will begin with short (5 minute) perspectives from some amazing people (listed in alphabetical order of first names):

  • Alex Wong (Head, Global Challenge Partnerships & Member of the Executive Committee; Head of the Future of the Internet Global Challenge Initiative, World Economic Forum) on The power of partnership
  • Dr. Bushra Hassan (School of Psychology, University of Sussex) on The wisdom of marginalised women
  • Charlotte Smart (Digital Policy and Programme Manager, Department for International Development, UK) on The delivery of donors
  • Michael Kende (Senior Advisor, Analysis Mason, and former Chief Economist of the Internet Society) on The trust in technology
  • Nigel Hickson (VP IGO Engagement, ICANN) on The design of the domain name system
  • Torbjörn Fredrikson (Head of ICT Analysis Section of the Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD) on The energy of entrepreneurship

Following these short, and undoubtedly provocative, presentations there will be an open discussion focusing on participants’ thoughts as to what are the most important priorities for action that different stakeholders must take so that the poorest and most marginalised people and communities can indeed be empowered through the use of ICTs.

The workshop is open to everyone with interests in ways through which ICTs can indeed benefit poor people, and there will also be an opportunity after the workshop for participants to purchase copies of Reclaiming Information and Communication Technologies for Development at a 40% reduction from list price.

I very much look forward to seeing you there!

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Partnering to protect children and youth online


I am so delighted to have been asked by the ITU and Child Helpline International to moderate their important session on “Partnering to protect children and youth” at the ITU’s Telecom World gathering in Bangkok on 15th November.  The abuse of children online is without question one of the darkest aspects of the use of ICTs, and it is great to see the work that so many child helplines are doing globally to counter and respond to this.

The main objective of the session is to highlight the work done by a range of ICT stakeholders to initiate and support child helplines in various parts of the world.  The session will begin with introductory remarks from Houlin Zhao (the Secretary General of the ITU) and Professor Jaap Doek (Chair of the Board of Child Helpline international).  This will be followed by a short video entitled No child should be left behind, and then Jenny Jones (Director Public Policy, GMSA) will launch new child online protection guidelines for child helplines.  Following this, Doreen Bogdan-Martin (Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership,  ITU) will provide a short overview of the joint campaign being run by the ITU and Child Helpline International to protect children and youth.  She will also outline the process whereby case studies submitted to an online consultation organised by the ITU were selected by a specialist Jury.

I will then moderate what I hope will be a lively and useful panel discussion that brings together the following people and initiatives that were selected through the above process:

  • Anthony Fitzgerald, Kids Helpline Manager, representing Optus from Australia;
  • Ola-jo Tandre, Director and Head of Social Responsibility, Telenor Group;
  • Mofya Chisala, Strategic Analyst, Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority; and
  • Enkhbat Tserendoo from the Communications Regulatory Commission of Mongolia, Mobicom

As moderator, I hope to be drawing out general conclusions about what works, as well as the pitfalls to avoid, from the experiences of these examples of good practice from many different parts of the world.  I very much hope that this will help those in other countries who are thinking about setting up child helplines, and that these experiences will also help those already running such helplines to improve the services that they offer children and young people.

Working together in partnership, we must do much more to counter the abuse of children online, and child helplines are an important element of the overall package of initiatives that must be implemented to achieve this.

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ICT4D Collective and Centre recognised as world’s 10th top science and technology think tank


ICT4D-72dpiforwebI am deeply humbled that the ICT4D Collective and Research Centre that we tentatively created at Royal Holloway, University of London, back in 2004 has just been recognised as the world’s 10th top Science and Technology Think Tank in the 2012 Global GoTo Think Tank Report launched at the World Bank and the United Nations in New York last week.  This accolade is all the more special because the ranking is based very largely on peer review, and therefore reflects the opinions of many people in the field who I respect enormously.  More than 1950 experts and peer institutions participated in the ranking process for the report which was produced by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Boy on streetThe Collective was established above all else to bring together colleagues who are committed to undertaking the highest possible quality of research in the interests primarily of poor people and marginalised communities.  Its work is premised on the assumption that ICTs can indeed be used to support poor people, but that we need to work tirelessly to overcome the obstacles that prevent this happening.

LogoIn 2007, we were delighted that the Collective and Centre was given the status of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, and although I am now only an Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway, I am very privileged that for the time being I retain this title while also serving as Secretary General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation.  It is great to be able to draw on my past research and teaching experience in this new role, to help governments across the Commonwealth use ICTs effectively and appropriately for their development agendas.

Then, in 2009 Royal Holloway, University of London, formalised the position of the ICT4D Collective by creating a new multidisciplinary research centre on ICT4D, that brought together expertise primarily from the schools and departments of Geography, Computer Science, Management and Mathematics (Information Security), with contributions also from colleagues in Earth Sciences, Politics and International Relations, and Information Services.  This provides really excellent opportunities to develop new research at the exciting boundaries between disciplines.

Scholars 1Over the eight years of the existence of the ICT4D Collective, we have focused on a wide range of activities, but have particularly sought to serve the wider interests of all researchers and practitioners working in the field of ICT4D.  We were thus delighted to host the 2010 ICTD conference, which brought more than 500 colleagues to our campus, and we were immensely grateful to the generous sponsorship from global institutions that enabled us to provide scholarships for people to attend from across the world (pictured above).  We have also focused much attention on supporting doctoral researchers, and it is excellent to see them now flourishing in their subsequent careers.

LanzhouMost recently, under new leadership, the Centre is continuing to thrive, and has launched an exciting ICT4D strand within its established Master’s programme on Practising Sustainable Development.  In 2012, a Branch of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D was also established at Lanzhou University in China, reflecting the growing collaboration between our two institutions, and recognising the huge importance that China is increasingly playing not only in terms of the practical implementation of ICT initiatives, but also into research in this area.

A huge thank you to all who suggested that the ICT4D Collective and Centre should be recognised in this way.  It is a massive spur to us all to keep up the work that we have been doing, and to share it more effectively with all those interested in, and committed to, using ICTs to support poor people and marginalised communities.

The top 20 ranking of Think Tanks in Science and Technology from the 2012 Global GoTo Think Tank Report is given below:

1. MIT Science, Technology, and Society Program (STS) (United States)
2. Max Planck Institute (Germany)
3. RAND Corporation (United States)
4. Center for Development Research (ZEF) (Germany )
5. Information and Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) (United States)
6. Battelle Memorial Institute (United States)
7. Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) (United States)
8. Institute for Future Technology (IFTECH) (Japan)
9. Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) (United States)
10. Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) (United Kingdom)
11. Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU) (United Kingdom)
12. Institute for Basic Research (IBR) (United States)
13. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (South Africa)
14. African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) (Kenya)
15. Bertelsmann Foundation (Germany)
16. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) (Austria)
17. Energy and Resources Institute (India)
18. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) (India)
19. Santa Fe Institute (SFI) (United States)
20. African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS) (Kenya)

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Broadband in the Pacific


The Pacific Broadband Forum 2012, convened by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Oganisation and the International Telecommunications Union, together with regional partners PITA, PiRRC and SPC, is currently being hosted by the Fijian Ministry of Communications on Denarau Island, Fiji.  This morning’s session provided a wealth of information about the current status of broadband roll-out across the region.  Sadly, my fingers and brain were insufficiently co-ordinated to record everything that was said, but I hope that the following notes may be useful for those interested in ways through which ICTs are being developed in the region:

Cook Islands

  • No policy and regulations in place for broadband
  • There is a national ICT policy – based on 6 platforms
  • New national sustainable development plan – will have to align with this.
  • Legislation: 1989 Telecom Act; new draft bill in consultation; SPAM act 2008; electronics transactions bill; evidence act (needs to be updated); cyber crime legislation in development. But most need training in implementation.
  • Many challenges – budget, lack of implementation capacity, lack of consultation with stakeholders
  • Need to establish a regulator

Federated States of Micronesia

  • Connected with fibre optics with the Kwajalein to Guam (USA) since 2005 (spurs to Marshalls and elsewhere)
  • President Mori said need to connect all islands, and a regulator
  • 2007 ADB issued report on liberalisation, regulation and community service requirement
  • Hantru cable became operational in Pohnpei – eight 20 Gbps capacity to Guam; other islands are not yet connected.
  • Close links with World Bank who have conducted studies and due diligence
  • Optimising on current investments.
  • Debt servicing of DSDA loans that enabled what was originally done.
  • There will be sector reform to liberalise the market
  • Next challenges – to endorse the policy and the FSM Congres will need to endorse World Bank Assistance and the Telecommunications Sector Reform.

Kiribati

  • 33 atolls over 3.5 million km2; population of only 112,000
  • relies on satellite
  • fixed line 4.14%, mobile 1.04%; internet 2.07%
  • prices of telephony and internet are very high
  • monopolistic market TSKL sole ICT provider
  • World Bank funding for ICT review and advice
    • Policy and legal support
    • Regulatory support
    • Outer islands connectivity support
    • Project management support
  • 9 telecentres funded by government; PACRICS provided internet connectivity in 10 secondary school

Marshall Islands

  • 68,000 pop, 34 islands
  • broadband – 2 urban cities have cable installed; gsm sites in four islands. Telecentres. DAMA sites.  Aim to cove all country by end of 2012.
  • ICT policy should be in place by end of August and will provide for market liberalisation, regulator, cybercrime
  • Only 1% of submarine cable in being used
  • Remote area is getting connected for e-health, e-learning and climate change
  • Difficulties: connecting the unconnected; teamwork; perfect competition; consumer satisfaction; move small
  • Challenges
    • Costs of backbone
    • Geographical challenges for operations
    • Quality and reliability
    • Costs of bandwidth
  • 2008 National ICT Policy
    • NICTA regulator
    • Aims to have efficient ICT infrastructure as backbone
    • Open competition
  • 2012 National Broadband policy
  • LNG Fibre cable project announced – cable is piggy backing on the pipe

Nauru

  • Population less than 10,000
  • Regulator – enabling environment
  • Challenge of ability to provide broadband – only one service provider.  Bandwidth to increase by 30% in next month.  Talking with O3b to increase
  • If you cry hard enough you are bound to be heard.
  • Need to lay the foundations and have regulations in place
  • Major reforms in last decade in telecoms sector.  Telecom Act 2005 established regulator in 2006 which introduced competition
  • Competition has worked even in a small island
  • PM Chairs national IT committee – it is important to have leadership from the top
  • Draft masterplan for broadband supported by ITU
  • Universal access policy
  • Shared infrastructure
  • c. 95% coverage
  • Looking at 2nd submarine cable

Niue

  • Just one island – the Rock (260 sq kms); population 1600.
  • Telcom Niue – sole provider and regulator; two ISPs
  • Fixed line 60%; mobile 30% (only introduced July 2011); broadband 1% (introduced April this year)
  • Bills before Parliament (SPAM, Cybercrime, Draft ICT Policy)
  • Issues for Niue: very small market means lack of service and difficulties of setting prices; satellite bandwidth, but costs are too high for us; capacity building.
  • Free wifi access – arrangement with manager of top level domain nu – to develop access on the island.
  • OLPC has not really worked that well – laptops breakdown very easily and no back-up; and not managed properly. Children took them home and did not bring them to school except when they were broken.
  • Future plans – looking to develop services.

Palau

  • 240 islands; population 20,000
  • mobile coverage 98%; internet subscribers 6%; fixed broadband 2%
  • 113 mile long underground and submarine SONET cable connecting 3 islands.  Using VSAT to reach remote islands.  Radio also used in isolated areas for emergency.
  • PNCC (Palau National Communications Corporation) provides the majority of communications services
  • Palau Mobile Corporation commenced operations in 2006 and offers GSM services (3G hopefully will roll out next year).
  • Palau Telecoms licensed for Digital TV and internet – yet to start mobile service
  • Skyfy yet to offer services, but is licensed
  • Mobile services can reach 98% with mobile density being 80%
  • 2011-2014 Palau National ICT Policy (thanks to ITU)
  • Expanding broadband and international fibre optic cable connectivity

Solomon Islands

  • Cable plan 2013
  • Setting up 50 GSM sites
  • 3G services launched by Telekom and Bemobile
  • establishment of universal access fund policy
  • costs high

Tuvalu

  • No-cable islands dreaming for cable
  • Population 11,000; landlines 1182, mobiles 2525, Internet 4000
  • Monopoly
  • Current activities: e-government, national ICT policy, cyberlegislation, licensing
  • Challenges: funding, human capacity, geography (500,000 sq miles), high costs of ICT, poor energy supply
  • Plans: strengthening outer island connectivity, disaster risk reduction (very vulnerable – one tsunami would take us all across to Fiji), offsite backup

Vanuatu

  • Been challenged in court and politically, but has come through that as an independent regulator
    Minister was ‘in bed with’ one of the telcos and has now been taken off – so ICT responsibility is in the Prime Minister’s office.
  • Technical advisors funded by the World Bank and AusAid.
  • ICT for all (7 goals)
  • Very strong Universal Access policy in draft – has been sitting on Minister’s desk for a year – but will hopefully now go through (only raises funds from operators for specific projects)
  • Zero rate importation tax for all ICTs
  • 2015 access to broadband connectivity for 85% of population
  • Spectrum available 700 MHz LTE and 3G
  • Submarine cable being led by Interchange
  • Employment is growing in the sector – now 2500
  • Telcentres in Rensarie and Melsis high schools; Nebul and South West Bay health centres – need to provide many additional services in the centres.  Quite slow take up; importance of the manager; potential for agriculture.
  • All stakeholders must work carefully together
  • High schools and health centres are a priority
  • Using mapinfo to find the most cost effective way to deliver services

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The development impact of ICT4D partnerships: join our discussion online at the WSIS Forum


Cisco is generously sponsoring the opportunity for anyone to participate in the session on the Development Impact of Multi-stakeholder Partnerships in ICT4D ( http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2011/Agenda.aspx?event=event_60) that the ICT4D Collective is convening from 16.30-18.00 Geneva time (15.30-17.00 UK time) on Tuesday 17th May at the WSIS Forum ( http://groups.itu.int/default.aspx?tabid=856).  Please share this information as widely as possible, so that colleagues across the world can join in our discussions and deliberations.

To join the online discussion, please use the following information (best to try to log-on about ten minutes in advance to download the applet and check the systems are working) :

Meeting Number: 608 639 429
Meeting Password: 123

——————————————————-
To join this meeting (Now from mobile devices!)
——————————————————-
1. Go to https://ciscosales.webex.com/ciscosales/j.php?J=608639429&PW=NYzY4NDE5MjI3
2. Enter the meeting password: 123
3. Click “Join Now”.
4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

—————————————————————-
ALERT:Toll-Free Dial Restrictions for (408) and (919) Area Codes
—————————————————————-

The affected toll free numbers are: (866) 432-9903 for the San Jose/Milpitas area and (866) 349-3520 for the RTP area.

Please dial the local access number for your area from the list below:
–  San Jose/Milpitas (408) area:  525-6800
–  RTP (919) area:  392-3330

——————————————————-
To join the teleconference only
——————————————————-
1. Dial into Cisco WebEx (view all Global Access Numbers at
http://cisco.com/en/US/about/doing_business/conferencing/index.html
2. Follow the prompts to enter the Meeting Number (listed above) or Access Code followed by the # sign.

San Jose, CA: +1.408.525.6800  RTP: +1.919.392.3330

US/Canada: +1.866.432.9903  United Kingdom: +44.20.8824.0117

India: +91.80.4350.1111  Germany: +49.619.6773.9002

Japan: +81.3.5763.9394  China: +86.10.8515.5666

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ICTD2012 Call for Papers


The call for papers for the ICTD2012 conference has just been released – full details given below:

CALL FOR PAPERS
Fifth IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GA USA

Conference dates: March 12-16, 2012
Paper submission deadline: July 22, 2011 (11:59pm UTC)
Conference website: http://www.ictd2012.org
Contact us at: program@ictd2012.org
Twitter: @ICTD2012   Facebook: ICTD 2012 Atlanta

ICTD provides an international forum for scholarly researchers exploring the
role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in social,
political, and economic development. The conference program and accepted
papers will reflect and deepen the multidisciplinary nature of ICTD
research, with anticipated representation from anthropology, computer
science, communication, design, economics, electrical engineering,
geography, information science, political science, public health, sociology,
and so on.

Submitted papers are subject to a rigorous and selective double-blind peer
review; accepted papers will appear in electronic conference proceedings and
will be archived in the ACM and/or IEEE systems. A subset of the papers will
also appear in a special issue of Information Technologies & International
Development.

ICTD2012 is the fifth of an ongoing series of conferences occurring every
one-and-a-half years; previous conferences have taken place in: Berkeley, CA
(USA) ICTD 2006; Bangalore (India) ICTD 2007; Doha (Qatar) ICTD 2009; and London (United Kingdom) 2010.

For the purposes of this conference the term “ICT” comprises electronic
technologies for information processing and communication, as well as
platforms that are built on such technologies. “Development” means
international development, including, but not restricted to, poverty
alleviation, education, agriculture, healthcare, general communication,
gender equality, governance, infrastructure, environment and sustainable
livelihoods. Papers considering novel designs, new technologies, project
assessments, policy analyses, impact studies, theoretical contributions,
social issues around ICT and development, and so forth will be considered.
Well-analyzed negative results from which generalizable conclusions can be
drawn are also sought.

Relevant papers reporting high-quality original research are solicited. Full
papers will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel, and evaluated
according to their novel research contribution, methodological soundness,
theoretical framing and reference to related work, quality of analysis, and
quality of writing and presentation. Authors are encouraged (but not
required) to address the diversity of approaches in ICTD research by
providing context, implications, and actionable guidance to researchers and
practitioners beyond the authors’ primary domains.

Only original, unpublished, full research papers in English will be
considered. Submissions not meeting a minimum bar of academic research
writing will be rejected without full review. Papers should contain a
maximum of 8000 words. Reviews are double blind, so papers should not
include author names or other information that would identify the authors
(references to previous work by the authors should be in the third person).
Authors should follow IEEE formats and styles
http://www.ieee.org/documents/stylemanual.pdf. Samples of this are also
available in PDF at http://www.ictd2012.org/ICTD2012_sample.pdf and MS Word
http://www.ictd2012.org/ICTD2012_sample.doc formats. Authors will be
required to sign a copyright release for publication in the conference
proceedings.  Additional submission details will be posted on the conference
website at http://www.ictd2012.org, as the information becomes available.

As a new opportunity for 2012, we are offering a peer mentorship program for paper submissions. Submit your paper early (by May 1st, 2011) to this
program and get feedback from peer mentors ahead of the normal submission process and June deadline. See http://www.ictd2012.org/mentorship for details.

Atlanta is a world-class city with a rich and passionate history. Spring
comes early to Atlanta; March is likely to be sunny, crisp, and pleasant.
The conference venue is the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center
(http://www.gatechhotel.com/). Georgia Tech is one of the top research
universities in the United States, distinguished by its commitment to
improving the human condition through advanced science and technology.

The conference website is http://www.ictd2012.org. Follow us on Twitter
@ICTD2012, or visit our Facebook page at “ICTD 2012 Atlanta”.

Contact us at program@ictd2012.org

Important dates:
Peer review mentor program submission deadline: May 1, 2011
Paper submission deadline: July 22, 2011
Acceptance notifications: September 16, 2011
Camera-ready papers due: January 16, 2012
Conference dates: March 12-16, 2012

Program Committee Chairs
Jonathan Donner, Microsoft Research India
Beki Grinter, Georgia Institute of Technology
Gary Marsden, University of Cape Town

General Conference Chairs
Michael Best, Georgia Institute of Technology
Ellen Zegura, Georgia Institute of Technology

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IPID Annual Conference at UPC Barcelona


The International Network for Postgraduate Students working in ICT4D (IPID) is currently (9th-10th September 2010) holding its 5th annual conference at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. A wealth of current postgraduate research in ICT4D is being presented around the following themes:

  • gender
  • e-agriculture
  • rural communities
  • online communities
  • e-government
  • technology
  • ICT in education
  • e-health
  • entrepreneurship
  • networks

The conference is being broadcast live at http://www.canalupc.tv/media/simposium-upc-uoc .

Ismael Peña Lopez’s comprehensive blog on the conference.

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