Kiwi to chair UNESCO meeting on net development

Another kiwi makes an impact on the international telecommunications scene later this month when Industry New Zealand's Liz Longworth chairs a UNESCO meeting that will delve into the 'promotion of universal access and multilingualism' on the internet.

Another kiwi makes an impact on the international telecommunications scene later this month when Industry New Zealand's Liz Longworth chairs a UNESCO meeting that will delve into the "promotion of universal access and multilingualism" on the internet.

Longworth, director of information and communication technology for Industry New Zealand, says the meeting will work on a draft resolution designed to provide member states with a platform for bridging the "digital divide".

"The main focus of the meeting is on internet access and the nature of that with all the many different issues ranging from infrastructure to ethics to attitude to electronic literacy and language barriers."

Longworth isn't the only Kiwi to be making waves on the international ICT stage. In February this year telecommunications users association (TUANZ) chief executive Ernie Newman was voted in as chair of the international telecommunications user group, INTUG.

Longworth says the UNESCO meeting will have more of a focus on the societal impact of the net rather than regulatory or technological, although obviously they will play a part.

Language is one major barrier to allowing a more full and complete access to the net in many parts of the world.

"English is often described as the lingua franca of the internet, but that means so many people cannot get access to the information that's available online."

Longworth was originally asked to attend the meeting simply as one of three representatives of the region, which extends from Iran through to the Pacific. The two other representatives for this region come from Japan and India.

Last year Longworth attended an earlier meeting at the request of UNESCO as an individual rather than as a regional representative because of her extensive ICT experience. Longworth ran her own ICT-focussed law firm and has worked on regulatory issues both locally and internationally.

Once the draft resolution has been completed it will be delivered to member states for consideration and then a formal policy document will be created.

"UNESCO signatories will then adopt it as a formal policy."

The meeting takes place at the end of the month.

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