Titel:ITDG over UN rapport
Datum: 10 juli 2001
Bron: Persbericht
Via: Biotech Activists, biotech_activists@iatp.org, 10 juli '01 door ngin@icsenglish.com


[ITDG is an international non-governmental organisation specialises in helping people to use technology for Practical Answers to Poverty.

ITDG works directly in four regions of the developing world ? Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia, with particular concentration on Peru, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.]

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Embargoed until 10.00am, Tuesday 10th July 2001.

The Human Development Report, ‘Making new technologies work for human development’.

Silicon Valley vs. better hoe. Which technology suits the poor?

Today at the LSE, the UNDP launches a powerful ‘manifesto’, the Human Development Report (HDR) entitled ‘Making new technologies work for human development’.

Its focus is ‘new’ technology and the global policies that could turn, for example, biotechnology and information technology into powerful tools in the fight against global poverty.

But while ITDG welcomes the HDR as a vital first and powerful contribution to trigger international debate, the UK-based ‘appropriate technology’ charity, feels that the UNDP have overlooked the real challenge.


At a time where revolutionary changes in technology are driving forwards globalisation -- and globalisation is creating greater inequalities than at any time in history -- ITDG feels that the fundamental issue is not ‘making new technologies work for human development’. The challenge is enabling poor people to make technologies work for them.

ITDG’s Andrew Scott elaborates.

"This means starting with poor people and what they want technology to do for them ? not starting with technologies and ‘applying’ them to poverty. We have to enable poor women and men to make their own choices about whether they want to surf the information superhighway…or would they prefer to build better homes, have access to electricity, transport or a sustainable food supply? We need to know which works best for them…a better hoe, a plough or rice grinder…or GMOs? What we need is new thinking about all technologies which are of use to poor people".

From its 35 year experience in demonstrating and advocating the sustainable use of technology for practical answers to poverty, ITDG believes that solving the problem of Third World poverty means building the capacity of poor women and men to choose and use technology. To adapt it, to develop and improve it; and to manage its sustainability over time. Without addressing these factors, no technology can be successfully ‘applied’ to their livelihoods.

And it means subjecting any new technology choice to the ‘three As’ analysis. From the point of view of poor people, is a technology option:

  • Affordable to people living on less than $1 a day?
  • Accessible to people in marginal communities in developing countries?
  • Appropriate, meaning is it adapted to their social, economic and cultural needs? Is it environmentally sustainable? Can it be made, owned, developed and managed by local people in their institutions?

Based on this approach, ITDG's view of the technologies highlighted in the HDR is:

  • 'new' ICTs are unproven -- there is no single proven sustainable model of poor people's use of internet-based information services. 'New' ICTs are most likely to work in combination with 'old' ICTs such as radio, oral communication and the 'bush telegraph'
  • to focus policy and research on agricultural biotechnology is a dangerous and potentially damaging distraction -- the 'benefits' to poor farmers are unproven, the risks high, and the technology inappropriate. The failure to consider alternative technologies such as sustainable agriculture is a serious problem with the HDR.
  • renewable energy technologies are vital to increasing poor people's access to energy services -- but a lot of work is required on both technical and social and economic constraints before they work in marginalised communities

For further information call +44 (0)1788 661210 (direct) or +44 (0)7780
997489 (mobile), or email news@itdg.org.uk