Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization and UNCTAD form strategic partnership

29 November 2012

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) and UNCTAD have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost the development effects of information and communication technology (ICT).

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding ushers in a new era of cooperation between a major United Nations body and the premier Commonwealth organization for ICTs, which will see ICTs being leveraged effectively for commerce and industry. The Memorandum of Understanding aims to facilitate collaboration between the CTO and UNCTAD in building knowledge via research, and in building capacity via training and conferences.

UNCTAD, which was established in the 1960s, provides on-the-ground assistance to help developing countries benefit from the globalizing economy, and contributes to international debate on emerging issues related to developing countries and the world economy, such as the current global financial crisis.

In fulfilment of its objectives, UNCTAD produces major reports, such as the annual Information Economy Report, as well as policy briefs, and contributions to international conferences.

The CTO, which was established in 1901 and has over 40 Commonwealth countries and a number of major ICT entities as members, provides capacity-building, carries out research, and organizes international events as means of contributing to the furtherance of ICTs for development. With "digital natives" making up over half of its population, the Commonwealth has become a home of ICT innovation, and the CTO its primary agency for ICT propagation in governance and commerce.

This strategic partnership opens up new avenues for the global ICT community, and particularly the developing countries of the Commonwealth, to identify innovative ways in which technology can promote trade and commerce. Commenting on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary-General of the CTO, said: "We are extremely pleased that UNCTAD has signed this Memorandum of Understanding and formed a partnership with the CTO. With ICTs being a complex and challenging landscape, which also holds so much promise, the CTO always aims to form partnerships as means of achieving synergies that will eventually help our members to reach their ICT goals. This Memorandum of Understanding will help us to work closely with UNCTAD to bring practical benefits to our members."

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi remarked: "Close collaboration with the CTO will facilitate greater outreach and effectiveness in the UNCTAD research and technical assistance that is aimed at helping developing countries benefit more from new technologies."