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e-Governance

Official News

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Today the basic discussions have continued at WSIS sessions in Tunisia. The fourth session was chaired by RA Prime Minister A. Margaryan who made a statement, which reads as follows:

Quote:

Distinguished Chairperson;

Excellencies;

Dear Delegates;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

 

Allow me at first to thank the Government of Tunisia for hosting the World Summit on the Information Society. We commend this initiative of the UN and express our support to the formation of the Information Society.

Armenia has traditionally been a pioneer in the creation and dissemination of Information Technology. This year, under the auspices of UNESCO, the international community joined hands with Armenians worldwide to celebrate the 1600th anniversary of the invention of the Armenian alphabet; in 2012, the 500th anniversary of the first Armenian published book will be celebrated. In the mid-20th century, Armenia was among the very few countries to embark on the New Stage of Information Technology Development and Implementation: in 1960, the first Armenian computer was made.

Recent years have seen rapid growth in the IT industry, which has been declared an economic priority by the Armenian Government. As a result, IT output reached 1.7% of GDP in 2004, which is a figure that would be typical of countries with a developed IT industry. Owing to public-private partnership, Armenia has enjoyed a considerable increase in investments into the IT sector. New courses and curriculum have been introduced to schools and universities, and regional-scale training centers have been established, such as the radio frequency identification (RFID) laboratories.

To support the development of the IT sector, an Information Technology Council attached to the Prime Minister was established in Armenia in 2001: the Council includes representatives of all the stakeholders, including the respective ministries, private companies, and scientific and non-governmental organizations. With World Bank support, the Armenian Government has been implementing a Business Incubation Project in the IT sector, which has been a major incentive to SME development and the formation of venture capital.

The effective collaboration between Armenia and her Diaspora is worth a special mention as a success story in this area. I would also like to highlight the success of Armenian specialists in the World Summit Award Global Contests: during both the Geneva and Tunisia phases of the Summit, Armenian specialists were among the winners of the following awards: for the "Space Weather Aerie" CD, award in Best of 2003 e-Science category; for the "Aram Khachaturian: Life and Work" CD, award in Best of 2005 in e-Culture category; and for the "Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923" CD, the Special Mention 2005 in the e-Learning category.

Armenia does not view ICT as merely a branch of industry; rather, she perceives it as an effective tool that can drive the growth of other sectors domestically, enhance the effectiveness and transparency of governance, improve access to public services, and boost country competitiveness and economic productivity. Recognizing the importance of building a knowledge economy and developing systems of governance, education, culture, and health, the Armenian Government plans to elaborate a National Strategy for Information Society Development, which we will surely implement as a means of eradicating poverty in line with our concerns and the Millennium Declaration.

Armenia highly appreciates the work carried out by the Participating States, the international and non-governmental organizations, and the Secretariat during the period from Geneva to Tunis. We believe the continued implementation of decisions taken and further discussion of the issues raised in the Tunisia Summit will require the UN to continue coordinating the Information Society creation process.

Among the issues discussed here, we attach particular importance to balanced governance of the Internet, bridging the digital divide, creating a multilingual environment and promoting cultural diversity, and dealing appropriately with education, science, and technological innovation. We are confident that these issues can be resolved by means of combining the efforts of all stakeholders and mobilizing the required financial, infrastructure, technological, and professional capacity and potential.

The Government of the Republic of Armenia reiterates her commitment to take an active part in the future process aimed at these objectives, to cooperate and, to the best of her ability, to exert efforts towards universal development and prosperity.

I wish success to the Summit.

Thank you for your attention.

Unquote.

After the statement of the Armenian Prime Minister, the representatives of Turkey availed himsef of his right of retort to state the following: "The evocation of the so-called Genocide in the remarks of the Armenian Prime Minister is unacceptable to us." The chairperson took no notice of this statement of the Turkish representative.

In the second half of the day, RA Prime Minister met with "SUN Microsystems" company's senior executives. Prioritizing the expansion of our country's collaboration with this leading IT company, the Prime Minister discussed the prospects for an eventual mutually beneficial cooperation.

Then Mr. Margaryan visited the Armenian and Austrian pavilions where the presentation of the prize-winner Armenian disk entitled "Aram Khachatourian: life and activity" was held yesterday. The Prime Minister also visited the UNL pavilion of the United Nations, gave an interview to a Tunisian newspaper and "The World Space" French satellite radio regarding summit agenda and IT developments in Armenia. Asked by the reporter of the French radio, Mr. Margaryan touched upon the theme of Armenian Genocide and made comments on the prize-winner disk entitled "The 1915-1923 Genocide of Armenians."

Tomorrow, on November 18, the Summit will conclude its proceedings by adopting a number of final documents.

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