The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General yesterday launched the ***Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Development***.

*”The Alliance provides the platform and network of international experiences in which partnerships can be based,”* said Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. Pointing out that technology never developed in a vacuum, he said it should be part of a strategy involving people and institutions, and should be accompanied by investment, human capital, infrastructure and national plans.

*”Smart public policies harnessing the power of public-private partnerships should give incentives to the private sector,”* Mr. Malloch Brown said, adding that *”technology is not just a privilege for the rich, but a tool for the poor”* which should be applied to work towards the internationally agreed development goals.

Craig Barrett, Board Chairman of Intel Corporation and the Alliance’s first Chairman, said the initiative was about people. He pointed to four conditions that are needed to accelerate the opportunity for nations and their citizens: access and ownership, content, connectivity, and skills.

The Alliance will seek to stimulate dialogue on formulating policies and exchanging experiences on ICT for development. It will operate as a decentralized network, complementing the work of existing networks and institutions.

Back in March, the Secretariat of the UN’s ICT Task Force released *”Principles and elements of a Global Alliance for ICT and Development”*. (See link below)

A principal distinguishing feature of the Alliance, and its key value added, will be in providing a multi-stakeholder cross-sectoral platform and forum that will bring together all stakeholders representing relevant constituencies. For example:

• *In governments*: development cooperation, foreign policy, finance, social, sectoral (health, education) and regulatory agencies.

• *In the private sector*: industry and workers associations, producers and consumers of ICT, the media.

• *In civil society*: NGOs, CSOs, foundations, scientific, academic and ICT communities and individuals providing advocacy and oversight on Information Society issues and implementing programs addressing MDGs.