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EU support for information society and development projects for developing countries

Through its bilateral and multilateral cooperation activities, the European Union is currently financing a number of projects aimed at enabling the developing countries to participate in and benefit from the information society. The Community has been active in supporting coo...

Through its bilateral and multilateral cooperation activities, the European Union is currently financing a number of projects aimed at enabling the developing countries to participate in and benefit from the information society. The Community has been active in supporting cooperation projects related to the information society with developing countries since the early 1990s, particularly with China and India. Some of these projects were extended in the context of the international scientific cooperation programme (INCO) of the Fourth RTD Framework Programme. Between 1990 and 1994, the Commission committed a total of ECU 27.3 million to Asian, Latin American and Mediterranean countries for the support of RTD projects, including: - The development of scientific computing networks and a sophisticated telecommunications infrastructure for the forecasting of floods in the urban regions of China; - R&D in the field of mobile telephony technologies in China; - Research on the development of interfaces between Arab and Community languages for databases and videotex in the Mediterranean region; - A training plan for creating research networks in Latin America. Development cooperation projects selected by the Commission in 1995 for financing include: - African Telecom Research, aimed at preparing African telecommunications operators for basic R&D activities; - GAIA, a multimedia tool for natural resources management and environmental education; - TELESUN, a worldwide multimedia tele-teaching system for universities in African countries; - DASEC, a database on electronic data interchange standards for the Chinese government; - PARALIN, aimed at improving efficiency in the mining and energy sectors. In addition, other European research programmes support projects whose applications may be particularly useful for development. For example, the epidemiology projects developed under the Telematics Applications programme, in cooperation with WHO, are leading the way towards applications for developing countries. A number of projects funded under the EUREKA programme, aimed at cooperation between European firms and research institutes in the field of advanced technologies, are also relevant to the technological and societal fields linked to development. These include projects in the areas of education, remote health care, and environmental resource management and protection. In the framework of the Lomé Convention, the EU also supports the development of information technologies and telecommunications infrastructures in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, including trade cooperation projects or projects for environmental and natural resources monitoring. Other interventions in development cooperation have been launched in the framework of financial and technological cooperation programmes with Latin America (AL-INVEST programme) and the Mediterranean region (MED-INVEST, MED-CAMPUS, MED-URBS and MED-MEDIA programmes).