Access to Communications Technology Linked to Fairer Globalization

Vatican Proposals for 2003 Summit on the Information Society

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GENEVA, JULY 3, 2002 ( The Vatican believes that free access to the new communications technology will be decisive for a fairer process of globalization.

This conviction was affirmed by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, when he addressed the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on the Information Society. Eight hundred delegates from 133 countries attended the session.

The World Summit on the Information Society, whose first phase will be held in Geneva from Dec. 10-12, 2003, proposes to harmonize, at the world level, the great possibilities for human development brought by the new communications technology (See

«In the social and economic realities of our contemporary world, access to knowledge is a key to an accelerated path to development,» Archbishop Martin said during his address, published today by the Vatican Press Office. «The World Summit on the Information Society is called to consolidate a vital column of the global development architecture.»

«Communications technology has enabled the globalization process to proceed with rapidity,» he said. «We must now ensure that it also enables the globalization process to proceed with equity. Communications technology must be managed to play a central role in ensuring that globalization leads to genuine integration and inclusion.»

The Vatican representative urged that the summit be carefully prepared, in order to «identify the factors that have so far hindered inclusion and integration into the communications revolution,» adding that it «must then identify a program of concrete steps to reverse such exclusion. It must propose new partnerships of collaboration to ensure the financing of that program. It must put mechanisms in place to guarantee the management and to verify the implementation of that program.»

In order to achieve these objectives, Archbishop Martin said that the summit must be concerned, in particular, with people «in those areas that are particularly deprived.» Two essential points are «the question of infrastructures» and the «investment in human capacity» — in releasing «the creative capacity of people that has been blocked by lack of access,» he stressed.

Communications technology «can be crucial to accessing education and to improving its quality,» the archbishop added.

Moreover, honest «and open communication is an essential pillar for the functioning of democracy. It is part of the ethical core of a true market economy,» he continued.

Above all, however, «knowledge should be made available for the good of the entire human community. This principle applies in particular knowledge that is required to address urgent human needs, especially concerning health. When we are speaking of knowledge that is necessary for the very survival of people, then the profit motive must be always tempered by concern for the common good,» Archbishop Martin concluded.

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