The extent and level of information technology and connectivity of populations has become a key indicator of a country's economic and social development. Digital literacy, is equally fundamental to a city's development as the general literacy of its population. Similarly, with rising rural-to-urban migration, the global comptetitiveness of cities and therefore countries is dependent on the readiness of urban people and urban centres to become Digital Cities or "Smart Cities". The use of information technology has become a driving force in a city's integration with global markets, investments, capital flows, technology transfer, and the general transfer of information. A knowledge centre is akin to how connected a city is with the online world, and similarly Urban Planning strategies must now fundamentally integrate ICT strategies.
China as the world's largest developing country, has prioritised human resource development cooperation as a key pillar of foreign aid, in the form of launching capacity development projects through its Ministries that can leverage its growth lessons and share these with developing country officials. The China Aid Training Programme and the Ministry of Commerce in China has partnered with UNITAR's affiliated training centre in Shanghai - CIFAL Shanghai - to launch a series of annual training courses on creating Digital Cities, e-Commerce, and ICT services related themes in local development. In recent years, the number of annual training programmes has increased as well as the amount of countries which receive full scholarship to attend the 20-day courses on ICT for local development. This is one of such courses being held in 2012.
As part of a series of yearly courses implemented under the support of the Ministry of Commerce of the P.R. of China and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this course seeks to teach visiting participants from a select group of foreign countries about China's strategies, investments, and innovations in the areas of Information and Communications Technology.
The objective of this course is to specifically focus on the links between ICT services and urban development, and how creating "digital cities" is translated into urban development projects and strategies. The focus will be on more technology focused cities in Eastern China, mapping cities past, present, and future ICT strategies.
This course will enable participants to:
- Define key terms in ICT and urban development strategies, such as digital literacy, digital inclusion and other priority terms.
- Compare strategies on ICT and its integration withing urban planning approaches, exploring the linkages between ICT within education, infrastructure, land-use planning and zoning, basic services, and other urban spheres of learning.
- Understand how ICT investments and strategies are best implemented for balanced urban development, especially in rapid growth situtations, marginalized urban populations, and mega-cities.
- Compare the differences in Chinese urban strategies on ICT with their own local or national ICT plans or goals
- Analyse the successes of ICT strategies and services delivery, especially with regard to marginalized urban populations and job creation (e.g. technology parks and e-commerce readiness)
- Assess what ICT investments are most adaptable and replicable in their own home institutions
1．Introduction of ICT related concepts and themes
2．Introduction to Chinese urban development and China's Information society
3．Site visits and parallel interactive discussions
4．Expert presentations from public and private sector representatives
5．Participant presentations on Case studies
6．Continuing Expert presentations from urban level public and private sector representatives
7. Site visits
8. Interactive discussion and exchange on learning, by regional and national groups
9. Presentation from participants
Face to face training course, 21 days, with expert lectures, reading assignments, case study development, site visits, and comparative discussions.
- Officials from Ministries of Planning, Ministries of Information and Communications, Ministries of Finance, Ministries of Urbanization and Rural Development, and other national government bodies
- Territorial, Municipal, Local-level government officials with specialised focus on relevant themes such as Urban engineering, Planning, Informatization, ICT Infrastructure, Digital Education and Literacy.
- Officials from Research Institutes or Academia with a focus on similar disciplines
Applicants can also apply via Chinese Consulates in the following countries (only applicants from these countries will be accepted via this specially funded programme): Pakistan, Armenia, Philippines, Laos, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Indonesia, Palestine, Jordan, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique,South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar, Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Cuba, Jamaica, Suriname, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Micronesia, Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova (1-2 participants each country)