Emerging information technology trends and innovation take centre stage at UN forum

More than 1,500 participants from Government, private sector, civil society and international organizations are meeting at a United Nations forum in Geneva this week to review and measure progress towards targets set almost a decade ago designed to help countries more effectively harness the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs).The WSIS Forum is an “international multi-stakeholder engagement” to meet the goals of the World Summit on the Information Society which met in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005, according to the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the host and main organizer of the event.The Summit set out Action Plans in several key areas for ICT development, including ICT infrastructure and capacity building, cybersecurity and ICT applications in key areas such as e-Government, e-Learning, e-Health and e-Environment. “Ten years after the Geneva phase of WSIS, we are witnessing some of the most innovative developments in the ICT sector,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré told a press conference held today on the sidelines of the opening of the Forum.“Mobile phone subscriptions are reaching the 7 billion mark,” he noted. “In 2012, two and a half billion people used the Internet from one device or another. “The thrust now is to drive content through enhanced broadband access that will feed both rural communities and urban centres,” he continued. “It is now time to look at WSIS+10 and how we can continue the momentum for the future development of ICTs, which govern so many aspects of our day-to-day life.”During the Forum, high-level dialogues with Government ministers and representatives from business and civil society will examine issues such as women’s empowerment in the information society; smart climate change monitoring; ICT innovations and standards; cybersecurity; and youth and ICTs. Also on the agenda is ICTs and the so-called ‘post-2015 agenda’ – the global development agenda beyond 2015, the deadline for meeting the internationally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “Together we will address a range of issues within the global information society and we will reflect on how ICTs continue to shape the daily lives of individuals, businesses, communities and governments,” said Mr. Touré.Addressing today’s opening, the ITU chief said that this year’s WSIS Forum is a unique opportunity to “develop consensus on what is needed for the WSIS process in the future, to ensure that the bottom-up approach of the WSIS process is preserved and that the decisions concerning modalities also respect the real requirements of the use of ICTs for socio-economic development, while ensuring growth in the ICT ecosystem itself.”Also today, the ITU awarded prizes to 18 recipients in recognition of outstanding effort and achievement in the implementation of WSIS-related activities. The winners include the education ministries of Saudi Arabia, the Civil Service Commission of Kuwait, the University of La Punta in Argentina, and Child Helpline International from the Netherlands. read more

Rio looks to BRC DiamondCore for DRC diamonds

first_imgBRC DiamondCore (which features in International Mining’s July issue) has signed a Letter of Intent with Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration, whereby Rio Tinto can earn a 60% interest in the company’s five diamond exploration projects (the Northern Projects) in the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under a staged earn-in arrangement. These five Northern Projects relate to a total of 106 exploration permits covering approximately 27,000 km2 in the Equateur and Oriental Provinces. It is believed that the region’s geology, which represents an extension of the Mboumou Craton from the Central African Republic, is prospective for the hosting of kimberlite pipes. Alluvial diamonds are currently being recovered in this region. Under the proposed arrangement, Rio Tinto would fund an exploration program with the objective of finding and defining kimberlite deposits capable of economic development. The Letter of Intent contemplates the following three phases:Reconnaissance Phase. Rio Tinto contributes $550,000 towards the initial reconnaissance sampling phase to be completed by BRC by year-end 2009.Phase 1 Exploration. Upon completion of the reconnaissance phase and receipt and interpretation by Rio Tinto of all reconnaissance sample results, Rio Tinto has the exclusive option to earn an initial 35% interest in whichever Northern Project Rio Tinto selects by spending $3 million in exploration expenditure on each of the projects it selects by no later than December 31, 2012. Rio Tinto may elect to earn this 35% interest in multiple Northern Projects by spending the said $3 million on each Northern Project selected by Rio Tinto by no later than December 31, 2012. This Phase 1 exploration program will be as agreed upon by the parties and will be operated by BRC.Phase 2 Exploration. Upon completion of Phase 1 exploration on a Northern Project, Rio Tinto would then have the right to earn an additional 25% interest in the applicable Northern Project by spending an additional $10 million in exploration expenditure on each project by no later than December 31, 2014. At the point during Phase 2 exploration where a kimberlite requires the first bulk sample, BRC would hand over operation of the bulk sampling program to Rio Tinto.Following Phase 2 exploration, a joint venture company would be formed with Rio Tinto holding a 60% interest and BRC holding a 40% interest.The above proposed earn-in arrangement is subject to various conditions, including completion of due diligence and negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement between the parties.This proposed earn-in arrangement applies solely to BRC’s northern DRC projects and does not impact the company’s major DRC projects of Tshikapa, Kwango River and Lubao. Company President, Dr. Mike de Wit, said: “We are very pleased to be joint-venturing with such a highly respected mining company as Rio Tinto on the exploration of these promising diamond projects. Both companies are of the view that these properties are highly prospective for the hosting of diamondiferous kimberlites.”last_img read more