ICT in the Arctic. Discussion Paper.

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Arctic Council
The 2003 World Summit on the Information Society declares a common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society where people and communities can achieve their full potential in promoting sustainable development and improving quality of life. When discussing information and communication technology in a global context, the particular needs of specific regions should be kept in mind. One such region is the circumpolar Arctic. Small remote communities, long distances and a general lack of effective infrastructure and communication characterize life in most of the Arctic. Information technology can be an extremely valuable tool and a major contributor to sustainable development, capacity-building, human health and welfare in the region. For this reason, it is essential that residents in the Arctic be given access to cost-effective telecommunications systems with sufficient carrying capacity. It is against this background that the Arctic Council has begun to explore ways and means to improve basic ICT services in the most rural areas of the Arctic, particularly as regards education and health services.