Infopoverty is the name given to the Programme and the World Conference started in 2001, in the ambit of the United Nations, aimed to help the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in the developing world through the use of Information and Telecommunication Technologies (ICTs). The Infopoverty Programme operates as the executive arm of the Infopoverty World Conference. The term has been conceived in 1998 by Pierpaolo Saporito, Founder and President of OCCAM - Observatory on Digital Communication.
The programme puts into practice the guidelines issued by the Conference through the creation of the ICT Village Model, following a process of flexible intervention easily replicable in many areas of the globe and providing various services designed to promote endogenous and sustainable development processes.
The twenty-one editions of the Conference have been organized in partnership with the European Parliament Liaison Office in Milan, under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic, of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy. Over the years, the Conference also receive acknowledgements from many national and international institutions.
The annual editions of the Infopoverty World Conference are always in videoconference with other institutional offices around the world and live-streamed on the UN Webcast.
The latest initiative endorsed by the Event was the EWA-BELT Horizon2020 Project, which aims at implementing the application of ICTs and new technologies towards a Sustainable Intensification of agriculture productions in organic, agroforestry and mixed crop and livestock farming systems in East (Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania) and West (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Sierra Leone) Africa.
After the proclamation of the Millennium Development Goals by the UN in 2000, technology became a central driver for development in many aspects - financial, political, social, economic, health, and many others - and a game-changer for the future generations.
The first pilot projects were realized at San Ramon and San Pedro, Honduras, in cooperation with the local Ministry of Science and Technologies, following the devastation from Hurricane Mitch. These experiences were instrumental for the definition of the ICT Village Model, thanks to the collaboration with the most important international institutions. The model was validated by the World Summit on Information Society in Tunis, 2005, with the creation of the Borj Touil Village.
The concept was further developed in Sambaina (Madagascar), proclaimed UN Millennium Village Project in 2006, and implemented in Lesotho, Peru and Ethiopia.
The Infopoverty World Conference is one of OCCAM's best-known initiatives. The Conference represents, for its continuity, operational capability and strong interoperability with the UN System, a unique global forum, gathering leading experts, academics, opinion leaders, managers, government officials and philanthropists.
Over the years, the Infopoverty World Conference hosted contributions from more than a thousand representatives. It works in collaboration with the UN System and other large international organizations and institutions, avant-garde companies, universities and pioneers of the digital revolution, looking for digital solution champions to fight poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Infopoverty Main Accomplishments
2002: Support to the initiative of the Government of Honduras to expand solar.net Village Model in the more advanced program COMUNITEC, in the border region of Trifinio, improving, at low costs and in a short period of time, the social and economic conditions of the community.
2004: The OECD published a Paper in order to disseminate the Best Practices of OCCAM in the field of Sustainable Development through ICTs.
2001: First Infopoverty World Conference & First Infopoverty Exibition at Cattolica University in Milan with the President of the Rotary international.
2005: During the WSIS in Tunis, the Infopoverty Programme and OCCAM were invited to develop a series of avant-garde initiatives, through:
the implementation and management of the Summit’s television, WSIS-TV, with a staff of Navajo operators, previously trained for the Navajo program – Infopoverty antenna;
the launch of a specific cooperation MoU for the realization of the Indigenous people program, in collaboration with ITU;
the realization of an experimental ICT Village in Borj Touil, as operative demo for the applicator model in Honduras and Southern Lebanon, previously validated in WSIS 2003 in Geneva;
the launch of the WSIS-Infopoverty Seminar, chaired by the Tunisian Minister for Cooperation, Ben Mammouth. The seminar was widely promoted by media and attracted the interest of various Governments, including Madagascar, for which its President asked for the launch of the ICT Village.
2006: In a communication provided by the Permanent Representative of Madagascar to the UN, Ambassador Zine Andrianarivelo-Razafy, were highlighted many developments reached in the country thanks to the help of the NGO community under the aegis of the UN, in the ICT development area of Madagascar (including OCCAM's ICT Village in Sambaina). Furthermore, an OCCAM accomplishment in the area was to provide and secure a new partnership with EUTELSAT, a satellite provider which offered to donate one year of free satellite connection to Sambaina.
The main aspect of the partnership between OCCAM and EUTELSAT is to provide satellite coverage in rural developing areas and to connect the satellite in broadband using State frequencies, so that hospitals, schools, municipalities, could operate free of charge, reaffirming the principle that public services must be able to take advantage of public broadband networks.
2008: Discussion on the emergency of low-cost market technologies and encouragement of companies and governments to boost this process. On this occasion, the Infopoverty Programme presented its accomplishments in the network of the ICT Villages, created in Peru, Southern Lebanon and Lesotho.
2013: A discussion on the empowerment of people and nation-building throughout innovation took place at the ECOSOC AMR in Geneva, where OCCAM-Infopoverty was invited to expose the e-services experimentations (e-learning, telemedicine, food security) applied to the ICT Villages’ network, at the Innovation Fair.
2014: The launch of the e-MedMed Project on telemedicine. The Euromediterranean Conference on Cinema and Communication is also organized by OCCAM in the wake of the Barcelona Agreements. The practical realization of e-services is the main topic studied in parallel by the Euromediterranean Conference and the Infopoverty World Conference. While the former is focused on the specific framework of the Mediterranean region, the latter has a broader global range.