Information Communication Technology and Sustainable Communities Development: The Case of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

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Sustainable development is largely seen as pertaining primarily to environmental issues and grassroots social development, while the information society is perceived as being more relevant to the economic development potential of urban elites. These stereotypes miss the reality that sustainable development and the information society are operationally interconnected. Both terms are increasingly used by civil society and academics to refer to a desired global future that is casting its shadow upon our current time and decisions. For sustainable development to be effective and efficient, it must harness the institutions and tools of the information society. Likewise, for the information society to sustain itself, it must pay careful attention to the stocks and flows of resources (material and human) and energy that underpin it. While the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and WSIS Phase I in 2003 brought these issues to international attention, Southern voices and visions are still notably lacking from the debate. As we move from the age of industrialization into the age of information it is critically important for us to consider the implications of IS [Information Society] in SD [Sustainable Development] and vice-versa. This research undertaking will look at precisely this intersection with its primary focus on sustainable communities. Sustainable Communities development is an evolving discourse. The locally-owned or adapted knowledge of a community is essential for integrated sustainable development, and is becoming a key priority for development practitioners. The popularity of the concept of communities is growing, and so are ideas on how to support these communities with technologies and how these communities might use ICTs to support themselves. These issues are pertinent in assessing the real contribution of ICTs to sustainable development, and therefore merit a closer examination.

Keywords: Information Communication Technology, Sustainable Communities, Development, Social Change
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Uduak Okon

Doctoral Student, ICT4D Collective
Department of Geography, University of London

Staines, Surrey, UK

I am currently undertaking a research degree (PhD) at Royal Holloway, University of London; my research focus is on ICT for Sustainable Development in Africa. Prior to this I have worked for 6 years in the Information Technology field managing an internet service company. I had also worked for 3 years with a Third Sector Organization in Africa as a development consultant. I hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Management of Information Sciences from The London School of Economic & Political Science, University of London, 1992 and an MSc Degree from the same institution in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems, 1993. My first degree was obtained from University of JOS, Nigeria, BA Hons English, 1990.

Ref: T08P0359