01 November 2008

World IT Forum 2009

Hanoi, 1 November: Yesterday, the Vice Minister of Information and Communications announced that Vietnam will host the 4th World IT Forum in Hanoi in August 2009. Planned for 26-28 August 2009, the organizers expect some 1500 people to this fourth WITFOR.

With a theme ‘Information and Communication Technologies – ICTs – for sustainable development,’ the Forum aims to take forward the agenda of the recent World Summits on the Information Society (WSIS).

Speaking for co-organiser, the Information Federation of Information Processing, Mr. Leon Strous announced that the event provides a global platform to share knowledge on computers and ICTs, answering the question – “what are the best ways of using ICTs?” In her remarks to the conference planning meeting, Ms. Nguyen Thi Dao of the Ministry of Information and Communications explained that the idea is to bring together lots of associations and groups in Vietnam to create an “IT applications ‘movement’” in the country.

The Forum program foresees a mix of plenary sessions – with a first this year on gender and ICTs – and parallel thematic sessions on topics like agriculture, health, and the environment. IAALD is represented on the Agriculture Commission of the Forum.

During the recent planning meetings, Agriculture Commission members met with colleagues from the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (websites at www.mard.gov.vn and www.agroviet.gov.vn) to ensure a close collaboration with aginfo initiatives in the country. They also drafted an initial outline for the agriculture sessions, as follows:
  • Information, communications and IT towards resilient food and agricultural systems. This will have a policy focus, looking, for example, at ways that information and IT contribute to ongoing policy planning and decision making on issues related to the recent food crisis, to national and regional food security, and in adapting to climate changes.
  • ICTs enabling sustainable rural communities and livelihoods. This will focus on rural structures, systems, and intermediaries that employ ICTs to enable actions in areas like finance, prices, markets, credit, advice, rural employment, trade, and weather etc. This would include information access for farming/rural communities, through, for example, public access, telecenters, or similar innovative mechanisms.
  • ICTs serving farmers and producers. This will focus on technologies, tools and devices actually in the ‘hands’ of farmers and their families – used to communicate, to share and find knowledge, to access services. This would likely include phone, radio, print, computers, internet, oral and other emerging/innovative tools.
  • Next generation e-agriculture. This participatory session will look forward, exploring technical and other ICT-related opportunities that we can look forward to use in achieving sustainable agriculture and rural development.
The Commission is keen to hear from individuals and initiatives with relevant case studies and experiences to share in Hanoi 2009! Send an email to Peter Ballantyne [peter.ballantyne[at]iaald.org].

More on the Forum: www.witfor.org / reports from WITFOR agriculture commission

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