The first Global Knowledge (GK) Conference recognised that knowledge and information are critical for sustainable, and equitable development. Out of the conference there evolved an informal but powerful partnership of organisations now known as the Global Knowledge Partnership. It currently has 55 members. They are all committed to sharing information, experiences and resources to help people acquire the knowledge and technology they need in order to shape their lives. GKll is part of this ongoing process of sharing and learning. Dialogues and discussion at national and regional levels on issues of access, empowerment and governance - the three themes of the GKII - have already begun and will continue after March 2000. Access to ideas and information from around the world are already empowering people to improve their lives.
There are some dramatic examples of how the power of information can not just improve lives but also help save them. We know of how the Pan American Health Organisation conducted a hemisphere-wide teleconference to present new methods of diagnosing and preventing the spread of AIDS. Yet in countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia where the spread of AIDS is threatening a whole generation of young people, these support networks are not yet in place. With GKll and the Global Knowledge Partnership, we have a tremendous opportunity to draft an agenda for action that will give developing countries a fair and equitable share in the new knowledge economy. The whole event is being specially designed to ensure that the four days of discussion, debate, sharing of information, experiences, best practices and even failures, will result in a strategic plan of action to help us build knowledge societies.
Represented here today are members of the diplomatic corps, the corporate sector, NGOs, government agencies, the media and the community. Each of you has a very important role to play in the success of GKII. Malaysia active involvement at national, regional and global levels is critical to the success of this conference. Let us jointly contribute our resources to leverage this strategic opportunity to shape our future. Malaysia has set her own agenda for transformation into a knowledge-based economy by the year 2020. GKII will help us identify and address issues critical to the realisation of this vision. We can share our own experiences and highlight some of our achievements with regard to the implementation of the National IT Agenda and the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative. Perhaps our greatest challenge is to open people's minds to the tremendous possibilities offered by shared information and knowledge.
Ideally, every Malaysian should know about GKII, the Global Knowledge Partnership and the power of the new communications tools. We are hoping for your support, particularly the media, in publicising the issues and challenges for knowledge development, and the objectives and activities of GKII and the Global Knowledge Partnership