|Statement by Counselor Chen Ming of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations at the Second committee of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly under the agenda item 46: Information and Communication Technologies for Development|
New York, 23 October 2008
The Chinese Delegation associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. We also would like to thank the secretariat for the documents submitted on this agenda item.
The UN system and the international community have made unremitting efforts to follow through on the outcomes of the world summit on information society, and achieve the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals. We are indeed faced with many challenges and there is still a long way to go. But more and more people have realized that development can be promoted through science, through information and communication technology (ICT). We have noted that the rapid development of ICT has accelerated the dissemination of knowledge, expanded the scope of information flow, enhanced people-to-people contact and understanding, and deepened the sense of belonging of the residents of our global village — we all live in the same world and share the same dream regardless of culture, faith, color or race.
"One world, one dream" is the theme of the just concluded Beijing Olympic Games. Under the flying five-ring flag, athletes from five continents were gathered together to participate in sports competition, foster friendship, and long for peace and common prosperity. ICT enabled four billion TV viewers across the world to witness this unprecedented great event in the Olympic history without any delay. ICT was passing on the inspiration and hope of humanity.
Mister Chairperson, thanks to seven years of preparations and 16 days of hard work, China's ICT professionals fulfilled their commitment to bring about “the first ever broadband Olympics in a real sense”.
During the Olympic Games, more than 23,000 employees of China Netcom (CNC) were directly involved in providing services and logistics for the Games. About 20,000 telephone lines, 900 ISDN and 3,000 ADSL and dedicated lines were in operation during the period. More than 10 emergency communications vehicles and nearly 20 satellite dishes were employed for the events. Several thousand broadband card ports were installed in the competition venues, main information center and the press village to build a VLAN that transmitted over four million photos for top five global news agencies. CNC did everything it could to guarantee the Internet communication services of key websites and ensured the smooth operation of the official websites of the Olympic Games when their page views were several times higher than usual. The Olympics showcase center received a total of over 170,000 visitors and the reception center hosted more than 3,000 VIP customers.
China Mobile provided the wireless broadband service that was the greatest in scale in the Olympic history, and installed wireless LAN access points in the Olympic venues. It innovatively launched the wireless Info system, instant transmission of photos, instant wireless video transmission and other new services, giving full expression to the theme of "high-tech Olympics". In cooperation with several media outlets, China Mobile launched Olympic mobile phone newspapers, which attracted more than 12 million readers a day. It also initiated mobile phone TV programs in collaboration with CCTV, China's national TV station, enabling over one million people to watch fascinating video clips about the Olympic Games through their mobile phones for the first time in the Olympic history. With their accumulated broadcast time exceeding 300,000 hours, the video programs attracted about seven million hits.
Mister Chairperson, though ICT holds tremendous potential for boosting social progress and economic growth, its development is very uneven. For instance, when Internet penetration of some countries is already over 70%, or even as high as 85%, that of some other countries still lingers around 5%. In Africa, which is home to 14% of the world’s population, the number of Internet users only accounts for 3.5% of the world total. China has 253 million Internet users, ranking first in the world, but its Internet penetration rate is a mere 19.1%, lower than the 21.1% world average.
As an old Chinese saying goes, "It takes ten years to grow trees, but a hundred years to educate people." In the world today, new technology is developing rapidly and a society of knowledge-based economy has shown its first inkling. In stark contrast, however, there are still 126 million children who are deprived of the right to education. That is to say, one-sixth of the children in the world have no access to education. Poverty reduction and achievement of universal primary education top the list of the MDGs. Poverty and lack of education are like twin sisters. Poverty deprives children of the chance to receive education, while lack of skills makes it difficult for people to get out of poverty. We call upon the parties concerned to make use of the existing framework of promoting development through science and ICT, and redouble their efforts to help the developing countries promote education and training, train a large number of science and technology professionals whose knowledge and skills are readily applicable, and build the capacity of poor regions to promote education and eradicate poverty. As the Secretary-General rightly pointed out in his Report on the Work of the Organization, we must "deliver results for people most in need". We are convinced that ICT will play a more important role in delivering results for people most in need and thus promote South-South and North-South cooperation, and help the developing countries achieve the MDGs on time or ahead of schedule.
Thank you, Mister Chairperson.
 Source: statistics released by UNESCO in 2004