G-77 joins the ‘Information Highway’

New York, 25 Apr. 1997 (Special report) - Www.g77.org is the new address of the Group of 77 on the Internet’s World Wide Web beginning June 15, 1997, to mark the 33rd anniversary of the establishment of the Group of 77. In a partnership arrangement with the Together Foundation, a virtual Web site will be made available to the Group of 77 to house its own homepage. The Office of the Chairman of the Group of 77 in New York will retain responsibility for maintaining the Web site and to update its contents on a regular basis.

The objective of this initiative is to establish a presence on the World Wide Web in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet to make available general information consisting of official documents such as statements, position papers, the G-77 journal, as well as other public information materials.

The emergence of the Internet represents a fundamental change in the way in which information can be exchanged and disseminated electronically. The Internet, particularly through its World Wide Web, has for the first time allowed access to documents and other information in a uniform format and still make such information potentially available on many different computers worldwide using relatively low-cost telecommunications links. Despite its promise, much remains to be done in order for this medium to reach every stratum of global society with advanced technological capacity and Internet access still limited in many developing countries and the fact that most textual data on the Web is in English.

The impetus for this initiative originates in a directive from the Special Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the Group of 77 held in New York in June 1994. In this context, the Ministers recommended renewed steps to enhance information exchange and communication among the Chapters of the Group of 77 located at various United Nations centres including through online and other electronic networking facilities.

In 1996 a Round Table on the Future of the Group of 77 was held in New York on the occasion of the annual chapters coordination meeting prior to the U.N. General Assembly, which reaffirmed the urgent need for the Office of the Chairman of the Group of 77 to establish as a first step a presence on the Internet.

Following this recommendation which was endorsed by the Twentieth Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 held in September 1996, Ambassador Daudi N. Mwakawago of Tanzania, Chairman of the Group of 77, explored various possibilities and decided on working closely in partnership with the Together Foundation taking into account its past collaboration with the Office of the Chairman of the Group of 77 and the Permanent Missions of the Member States of the Group of 77 in New York. Since 1993 the Together Foundation has provided at no cost electronic connectivity to a large number of members of the Group of 77 as well as to the Office of the Chairman in fulfilling its mission to support the information, communications and networking needs of developing countries.

As a private operating foundation, the Together Foundation is committed to providing assistance to non-profit organizations, NGOs, UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations with their computer, information, networking, database and telecommunications needs. In addition, the Foundation promotes exploration of issues regarding information technology, the organization and delivery of information, leadership training, and sustainable development. The Together Foundation is in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The establishment of the G-77 Web site constitutes a further step towards the enhancement of information flows and communications not only among the Chapters of the Group but also to the media and the general public. The G-77 homepage will contain relevant information relating to development issues being discussed at the headquarters of various United Nations agencies, programmes and bodies where the G-77 Chapters are located, namely New York, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Nairobi, Vienna and Washington, D.C. (G-24).

An electronic version of the Journal of the Group of 77 will be available to all our readers on the Internet. Please feel free to send to us your comments and contributions to the Managing Editor-in-Chief of the Journal through e-mail at the following address: