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Millennium Development Goals
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The Global Digital Solidarity Fund’s Vision Print E-mail
In September 2000, the heads of state and government who gathered in New York for the United Nations Millennium Summit adopted the eight Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and child mortality, universal access to education, the fight against HIV/AIDS and protection of the environment. The deadline set for attaining these goals was 2015.

Reducing the digital divide is part of the 8th goal of the Millennium Declaration. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an essential tool for development. They provide access to knowledge and are key to the success of the other Millennium Development Goals. 

Today, the means of providing universal access to ICTs are within reach. In other words, it is possible to considerably reduce the digital divide by 2015! We are no longer pursuing a utopian dream. This statement is based on three factors:
  1. New technologies at a more affordable cost are now available or are being developed;
  2. The private sector and public authorities share the same determination and interests with regard to overcoming this challenge;
  3. There is a guarantee of a return on investment that will benefit all stakeholders.
Universal access to information and communication technologies – and therefore to knowledge – simply depends on the political will of the stakeholders concerned.  An equitable information society built on principles of solidarity is a real possibility. It can become a reality by 2015, with the support and in the interest of all partners, from both North and South.

  • Establishment of the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF)

The DSF was born in the wake of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva 2003) as an initiative of the African Union and its Member States. It is an organisation of the 21st Century, formed by representatives of nation states, local authorities, civil society and the private sector. 

The DSF aims to provide access to the knowledge society for all. To achieve this objective, it proposes an innovative financing mechanism for development: the “1% digital solidarity principle”. This is a contribution of 1% on ICT-related public procurement contracts.

To maximise its potential, application of the “1% digital solidarity principle” must become universal. To promote its implementation at the global level, the Fund proposes the adoption of an international convention on financing digital solidarity. 

  • Setting the example through action: implementation of the first projects

Just months after its official launch, the DSF commenced operations on the ground and presented its first projects at the WSIS in Tunis. As a priority, the Fund finances community-based projects within national programmes, which are respectful of cultural diversity and local content. These projects must stimulate the creation of new activities, new jobs and new markets.

Currently, the DSF is financing some thirty projects in developing countries, in the following fields: supporting local associations in the fight against AIDS, telemedicine, community digital facilities, recycling of electronic waste, digital facilities for schools, rebuilding the Banda Aceh community, and so on.  Meanwhile, since its creation, the Fund has received over 300 funding applications for a total cost of more than €30 million.

  • Political support and recognition of the “1% digital solidarity contribution” as an innovative financing mechanism specifically dedicated to reducing the digital divide

The DSF has been officially recognised by the United Nations Summit of Heads of State and Government (MDG+5) and the World Summit on the Information Society. 

The need for new sources of finance to achieve the Millennium Development Goals was recognised by the United Nations General Assembly following the Geneva Declaration (January 2004), adopted by Presidents Chirac, Lula and Lagos, in the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The “1% digital solidarity contribution” proposed by the Fund is part of this political process: its suitability and feasibility have been acknowledged by the Leading Group (of 55 nations) charged with reviewing the most promising financing mechanisms for development.

Resolutions supporting the work of the DSF and calling for the implementation of the “1% digital solidarity contribution” have been adopted by the Islamic Summit (OIC), the Francophonie Summit, the Summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group), the ECOWAS, the UNDP, the Leading Group on Solidarity Levies to Fund Development. 

Local authorities have also committed at the Summit of Mediterranean Cities, as well as numerous African and international civil society platforms.
The road to 2015: milestones

  • Launch of the DSF Vision in March 2007
  • Presentation of information and communication technologies, as development tools that can play a key role in reducing the digital divide
  • Launch of a global e-waste management programme in 2007
  • Launch of the 1,000 Telemedicine Units Programme in 2008
  • Launch of the Digital Education for All Programme in 2008
  • Organisation of the Lyon World Conference on Digital Solidarity in 2008
  • Adoption of innovative financing mechanisms for development at the United Nations Conference in Doha (29 November – 2 December 2008)
  • Organisation of a pledging conference to finance the development projects of the DSF, and adoption of an International Convention for the implementation of the “1% digital solidarity contribution”
  • First phase: deployment of connectivity and access in a target group of around twenty countries in different regions of the world
  • Launch of the 500,000 Computers Programme for the member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 2009
  • Organisation of a follow-up conference to evaluate the results of the first phase
  • Second phase: extension of connectivity and access to all countries affected by the digital divide


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