Sri Lanka bagged UNESCAP’s ICT Committee chairmanship again at a UNESCAP meeting held in Bangkok yesterday (24).
The ESCAP member countries unanimously passed a proposal requesting President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga to continue as Chairman of UNESCAP’s Committee on Information and Communication Technology for another two years.
The Committee on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) addresses the following issues: integration of ICT-related issues in development policies, plans and programmes; transfer and application of ICT at the regional and sub-regional levels; development of human and institutional capacity in the use of ICT; and ICT applications for disaster risk reduction
Sri Lanka was elected to the chair of UNESCAP’s ICT Committee for the first time and that too unanimously in 2008.
President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga attributes Sri Lanka’s unanimous re-election to the chair of the prestigious committee to the progress Sri Lanka has achieved during the past five years. The re-elected UNESCAP’s Committee Chairman says that Sri Lanka could perform a tremendous amount of work for the benefit of all as a result of the position of chairmanship to the UNESCAP’s ICT committee.
In particular Sri Lanka hopes to launch common programmes jointly with other countries to deploy ICT for national development under various sectors.
Commenting on the election of Sri Lanka to the prestigious position both at the first instance and the second time, Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) Chief Executive Officer Reshan Dewapura said: “The election of Sri Lanka to the chair of UN-ESCAP’s Committee on ICT at the first instance was due to the great strides Sri Lanka had made in making the benefits of ICT accrue to people. That Sri Lanka had attained great achievements is amply proved by the top regional and world awards Sri Lanka had received for several of its projects under the e-Sri Lanka initiative.”
“Above all these projects have been acclaimed locally too, since they make the life of every citizen of Sri Lanka, especially that of the disadvantaged and distant rural villager, including the differently-abled persons, more comfortable in living their day-to-day life. They also help in roping in all citizens including the rural folk to join the islandwide entrepreneur community and thus help themselves as well as contribute towards national socioeconomic development.”
Elaborating on the reason for the re-election of Sri Lanka to the position of UN-ESCAP’s ICT Committee chairmanship for another two years, the ICTA CEO said: “The UN-ESCAP member countries have unanimously reinstalled Sri Lanka to the Chair of UN-ESCAP’s ICT Committee due to the continuation of its thrust in using ICT for making people’s lives more comfortable even with ever increasing zest.”
Under the direction of the President, ICTA has been able to raise the ICT literacy of Sri Lanka to 30%. Similarly Sri Lanka has been able to reach a high level in the UN’s Networked Readiness Index this year, ICTA’s CEO pointed out. Signifying the priority the Government has accorded to ICT, President declared 2009 as the ‘Year of English and IT’.