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Ericsson spearheads MDGs awareness

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Ericsson will raise awareness of the MillenniumDevelopment Goals in the telecommunications industry in collaborationwith Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and previously UnitedNations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Jeffrey Sachs,Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and SpecialAdvisor to the UN Secretary-General.

During the Volvo Ocean Race, thepremier around-the-world sailing competition, Ericsson and theseglobal leaders will engage with customers and other stakeholders, toincrease awareness of the key role that the Information andCommunication Technology (ICT) sector can play in enabling humanrights, ending global poverty and contributing to a carbon-leaneconomy.

The eighth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) calls for a globalpartnership for development, and the ICT) sector is the only businesssector that is highlighted as critical to achieving the Goals. Atthe United Nations’ High Level Event on the MDGs, on September 25,Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the importance of privatesector commitment to help achieve the Goals. At the same event,Ericsson’s CEO, Carl-Henric Svanberg addressed the role of theprivate sector in achievement of the MDGs, and the key role mobiletechnology has to play.

Ericsson will use its global position as the leadingtelecommunications vendor to catalyze the telecom sector and harnessthe technology and expertise of the industry to find tangiblesolutions to halve global extreme poverty. By bringing togetherpublic and private partners around the Volvo Ocean Race, Ericsson istaking another step in its ongoing commitment to help achieve theMDGs by 2015.

“We are in a unique position to involve our customers in this call toaction,” says Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.”We are honored to have Mary Robinson and Jeffrey Sachs associatedwith our initiative. By raising awareness of human rights and MDGsand how the ICT sector can help enable and achieve them, we aremaking our around-the-world journey a race with a message.

“The MDGs are among the most compelling global issues of our time,and with our presence in 170 countries, we know that our sector canmake a real difference and achieve concrete results,” Svanberg says.

Mary Robinson, currently President of Realizing Rights – The EthicalGlobalization Initiative and a member of The Elders, inspired by theleadership of Nelson Mandela, will be the godmother of one ofEricsson’s two race boats, symbolizing the importance of the humanrights message throughout the race. She says: “Never before has theprivate sector had such influence and therefore so much opportunityto contribute to human rights which are enshrined in the MillenniumDeclaration and key to achieving the Millennium DevelopmentGoals.Over the past ten years I have seen more and more businessleaders make the connection between human rights and the success oftheir companies, and we recognize Ericsson’s leadership in thisarea.”

Jeffrey Sachs, says: “Mobile phones, wireless internet and Ericsson’sother technologies are being used in innovative new ways in sectorssuch as health education, and business development, in ruralimpoverished places that would otherwise be cut off from the rest ofthe world. The global network that Ericsson and its partners havebuilt is a leading example of sustainable development in practicebecause of the short-term gains and long-terms opportunities it isproviding to communities.”

Earlier this year UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called upon theprivate sector to contribute to the efforts made by governments andNGOs to form public-private partnerships to achieve the MDGs.Ericsson has committed to the Business Call to Action and willincrease efforts following the UN High Level Event on the MDGs byusing the race as one way to raise awareness of the importance of theGoals.

Ericsson’s founding principle is that communication is a basic humanneed. Mobile connectivity is an enabler, not only of basic voicecommunication, but the foundation for bringing health, education,small business and security to communities that have the least.Increased mobile penetration is also proven to have a direct impacton GDP.

Today there are more than 3.7 billion mobile subscriptions around theworld, within the next five years the figure is projected to almostdouble, with 90 percent of new growth coming from high-growtheconomies where rural communities have little establishedinfrastructure.

Together with the Earth Institute, Ericsson is bringing voice andinternet communication to over half a million people in theMillennium Villages, a novel development initiative operating in 10countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The company recently announced thelaunch of a mobile Innovation Center in Africa to developapplications related to health, education, agriculture, businessdevelopment, finance, government services and the overall improvementof communication capabilities, with a special focus on the ruralpoor. Ericsson also supports the Every Human Has Rights campaign ofthe Elders, which is marking the sixtieth anniversary of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights during 2008.

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