United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

UN/Thailand Workshop on the Contribution of Satellite Communications Technology to Bridge the Digital Divide  

1-5 September 2003
Bangkok, Thailand



Available online resources:


1. Background

The General Assembly of the United Nations, on 21 December 2001, adopted a Resolution (A/RES/56/183) endorsing the organization of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be convened under the patronage of the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, with the International Telecommunication Union taking the lead role in its preparation along with interested UN organizations and the host countries.

The Summit (first phase - Geneva, December 2003 and second phase - Tunis, 2005) will address the broad range of questions concerning the Information Society and move towards a common vision and understanding of this societal transformation. The Summit is expected to adopt a Declaration of Principles and an Action Plan to facilitate the effective growth of the Information Society and to help bridge the Digital Divide. It aims to bring together representatives from the highest levels of government, the private sector, civil society and NGOs. It will offer a unique opportunity for the world community to discuss and give shape to the Information Society.

There are many challenges to making effective use of ICT, particularly in the developing countries. One of the most important challenges is the lack of an adequate technological infrastructure. The current level and type of connectivity in many developing countries can not support effective networks to support educational initiatives. Fortunately, developments in satellite communications technology may alter parts of this picture in the short-term. Rapid technological innovations drive the availability of low-cost one way and two-way satellite services.

The availability of a competency in satellite-based communications has been identified as one of the problems facing developing countries in telecommunication infrastructure development.


The Proposal on the Workshop

In the vein of the WSIS initiative, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs will organize, within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, a Workshop on the Contribution of the Satellite Communications Technology to Bridging the Digital Divide for the benefit of the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The Workshop will be held in Bangkok (12-16 May 2003).

The objective of the Workshop - is to develop a contribution of the satellite communications sector in the region that could be used as an input into the process of WSIS preparation.

The Workshop programme will assist developing countries with understanding how to use satellite-based communications networks in enhancing access to cost-effective and beneficial value-added socio-economic services and applications. IP-based applications and value-added services will be given special emphasis as well as the promotion of such applications as e-agriculture, e-medicine, and tele-education. Other topics may include multipurpose community tele-centers, disaster communications, establishment of a favorable legal environment for services etc.

On the universal access issue, in particular, the Workshop programme will also address one of the challenges increasing the average telephone density in Least Developed Countries of the ESCAP region.

The above Workshop is being organized by the United Nations in co-operation with the Government of Thailand, for the benefit of the developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. The Workshop will be hosted and co-sponsored by the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) of Thailand.


2. Dates of the Workshop: 12-16 May 2003


3. Location: Bangkok, Thailand


4. Objective

The Workshop will:

   A) Elaborate a possible contribution to the World Summit on Information Society from the satellite communications sector's viewpoint;

   B) Review the status and projected directions of (i) satellite market in the Asia-Pacific region, (ii) backbone multimedia/Internet satellite trafficking, (iii) local user access, (iv) remote and rural multimedia/Internet services, (v) marketing satellite services solutions; (vi) broadcast and two-way VSAT technology progress; (vii) content distribution and delivery issues; (viii) new satellite service opportunities for applications such as e-medicine, tele-education, e-agriculture, e-government, etc; (ix) satellite communications for disaster relief; and (x) development of regional and international co-operation.


5. Programme of the Workshop

The programme of the Workshop will include, but not be limited to the following topics:

   - status and prospects of the satellite-based market in the Asia-Pacific region;

   - geo-stationary multimedia/Internet delivery systems for developing countries;

   - content distribution and delivery platforms and issues;

   - interactive local access: hybrid and satellite-based solutions;

   - case studies and project proposals for applications of e-medicine and tele-education in the Asia-Pacific region;

   - satellite communications for emergency, disaster relief and mitigation operations.


6. Qualification for participation

Participants should have a university degree in information and communications technology, or satellite communications/broadcasting, or electronic engineering, and should have several years of professional experience in the field of communications. Participants should be in positions of managerial/decision making responsibility at institutions dealing with information and communications issues.


7. Language of the Workshop

Applicants must have a good knowledge of ENGLISH, which will be the ONLY working language of the Workshop.


8. Selection of participants

Participants will be selected jointly by the sponsors of the Workshop from nominations submitted by the governments/institutions of developing countries to the United Nations.


9. Deadline for submission of nominations

Two copies of the completed form, properly endorsed by the applicant's agency/organization, should be submitted through the Office of the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the applicant's country, to the Office of for Outer Space Affairs, United Nations, Vienna International Center, P.O. Box 500, A-1400, Vienna, Austria, no later than 31March 2003.


10. Points of Contacts

For information regarding the agenda and programme of the Workshop, for attendance and funding, please contact Mr. Viktor Kotelnikov, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, at the above address and fax number, or at the following e-mail address: victor.kotelnikov@unvienna.org.

For information regarding the submission of nominations please contact Ms. Virginia Ofoedy at the above address and fax number, or at the following e-mail address: virginia.ofoedu@unvienna.org


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