The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has announed that the inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development will take place next Monday and Tuesday. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown will launch the new initiative aimed at promoting the use of such technologies for development.

The Global Alliance is the initiative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan who approved its launch back in April as part of the follow-up to last year’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which stressed that information and communication technology must be integrated into development activities if internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are to be achieved in time. The UN at that time said the proposed Alliance will bring together a wide variety of interested participants, including governments, business, civil society, international organizations, industry groups, professional associations, the media and academia. It will be responsible for organising thematic global forums on core issues related to the role of ICT in economic development and the eradication of poverty.

Recently, the UN announced Craig Barrett, Board Chairman of Intel Corporation, as the first chairman of the Global Alliance. In making the announcement, UN Under-Secretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo said Mr. Barrett *“has played a critical leadership role in advancing the objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society and in helping to promote a transforming vision for a universal and inclusive information society.”*

Mr. Barrett is a leading advocate for improving education worldwide and a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising global social and economic standards, according to DESA.