UNESCO and ITU establish special commission to promote digital development

PARIS, May 10 (Xinhua) — The Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) jointly announced that a high-level commission to promote worldwide digital development has been established.

According to a statement released by UNESCO, the high level Broadband Commission for Digital Development will be headed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and Rwandan President Paul Kagame to promote broadband application across the world.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure and UNESCO Director- General Irina Bokova will serve as joint vice chairs of the commission.

UNESCO hoped the new commission could help people to "transform information into knowledge and understanding that empowers them to improve their livelihoods and contribute to their social and economic development," the statement said.

A group of 30 technology, business and social leaders will work together to form out strategies on how to expand the worldwide coverage of broadband networks and how to use this kind of facilities to improve social service in fields of healthcare, education, environmental management, safety and etc., UNESCO said in the statement.

The Commission was launched at a press conference in Geneva early in the day.

At the conference, ITU chief Toure said the governments need to view broadband networks as basic national infrastructure. The UN telecommunication union estimated the number of mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide to exceed 1 billion this year.