The subject of our workshop is, of course, the use of IT in sustainable development. And maybe I should tell you a little bit about where I come from so that we can be reasonably on the same path. I come from a viewpoint that considers it extremely important to radically attack the problems of poverty, and to do so without generating worse, ever more environmental problems. I have been involved in setting up of a club called the Factor of Ten Club because of a recognition that the material used in our particular economy around the world today is basically far too heavy for the life support systems to sustain.
The Factor of Ten applies to those who are using too much. By the very same token, the flip side of that coin means that those who are not using enough are going to have to use a lot more. And the art and the science of sustainable development lies in how to get to that standard of living without using another factor of ten at the bottom end.
I also come from a viewpoint that it is the long view that counts. If we are only going to look at the year 2008 or 2010 in making our decisions we're going to get the wrong answers. The basic issue of use of resources and of emission of pollutants into the atmosphere is one of looking at how many people there will be doing precisely that in the year 2050, maybe in the year 20100. And that means that the most important issue is not to reduce carbon emissions today or to reduce pollutants today but to do so in a manner that ends up at the least possible point 20, 50, maybe 100 years from now.
And that means that whatever we do must also accelerate the demographic transition to lower birth rates and lower death rates by the time that we start looking at stabilizing all these issues. So if our actions to date reduce carbon emissions or reduce material use ends up by leaving far larger numbers of people in 100 years time we would have lost the game. So the whole question is the trajectory we take, is crucial in this whole thing. Unless we recognize that accelerated development and hopefully, sustainable development is the most essential key to achieving the right trajectory we will have lost the battle.
In order to get there it seems to me fairly self evident though I am sure there are people with other views. That the first and foremost issue is to solve basic human needs for everyone around the planet. That is the surest way to bring about that demographic transition, quite apart from the fact that social justice demands we do that. And to look at the basic needs in a dispassionate manner. I think I could also make a case that the most basic need of all is jobs. I'm going to show just a few slides to help me along quickly because there isn't all that much time. So may I ask for the first slide.
This is, of course, the champagne glass that all of you have seen. Bear with me on this. Those of you who are dyslexic won't have any problem at all. Now this champagne glass is one that we've carried for the last 10 years from the human development report and shows that the top 20% are in fact very privileged and the bottom 80% have been completely left out. What we have to do if we're going to get through that demographic transition is to convert this champagne glass into a beer mug. I'm going to try and show you a few things that need to be done in order to do that. Every year the ratio of the income, the top 20% to those at the bottom 20% not only increases but increases rather dramatically. And today it's running at about a factor of 80 to one. In my country alone, for instance, there are roughly 650, maybe 700 million people who are outside the mainstream economy. They live in about 120 million households and they cover about half a million villages spread all over the country.
If you multiply these numbers by a factor of four you get a rough idea of what it's like in the third world. It's also a rather urgent matter. Every year worldwide, according to the World Bank and UNICEF and UNDP some 25 million children die of hunger and disease. Some 20 million hectares of forests are destroyed and some thousands, tens of thousands of species are lost and even the global temperature seems to be rising inexorably. The issue then becomes how do we go about getting a sustainable development? Well, sustainable development basically means sustainable consumption patterns and sustainable production systems. And the necessary conditions for achieving a sustainable development is that we meet the basic needs of all without destroying the resource base. And, as I said, the most fundamental basic need of all is jobs. This is true both in the North as well as the South.
Now let me give you an example again from India which is the country I know best. We need to create roughly 300 million jobs a year if we're going to close the unemployment gap by the 2010 or 2012. And since agriculture is only going to absorb about 25% of these we must create something like 17 or 18 million jobs off farm every year starting right now. Again, if you want to know the rest of the third world just multiply by three or four and you get a pretty good idea.
Now the trouble with the globalized economy is that to create one workplace, one job the capital investment needed is something on the order of $100 or $150,000. In Germany today to create an industrial job it costs $2.3 million. In Japan it costs $1.9 million. In the U.S. it costs something of $1.8 million, one job. In a country like India it costs something, as I said, on the order of $100 to $150,000 and when I say dollars I mean dollars. Because a large part of it has to be imported. The capital equipment, the know-how, the technology. And if you multiply these jobs—these 17 million jobs—by the amount it costs to create each one, you find that the total cost will be more than eight or 10 times the GNP of the country. In other words, we're not going to get them. Every year we will create more and more unemployed people.
Now what I'm going to suggest is that we need different kinds of jobs. And these are going to be created by different kinds of industries, micro industries, small industries that are spread, decentralized, all over. We already have evidence of that. Even now today in India the small micro enterprises constitute some two million units. They employ more than all the other industrial units put together. They account for about 70% of the industrial output and some 60% of the exports.
Over the past 15 years we have been developing technologies that are the engines of these micro enterprises that will then create the kinds of jobs that can be created at a cost of $1,000 or $2,000 per workplace. Let me show you a slide of the mud lock press that we developed. It's a very intelligent machine. It's a manual machine. You put mud into those two molds over there and you compress it using four or five people--it creates jobs for them--and you get a terrific building material. Mud blocks, bricks. You save energy. You save carbon emissions and you create jobs. This is one of the buildings that we built with that. It grew right out of the ground. It's called the Indira Ghandi National Center for the Arts. It's the national exhibition center and as you can see it's next to the Meridian Hotel. So it's right in the middle of Delhi and it has been there for the last 13 years and is used extensively as a center for exhibitions.
This slide of our headquarters shows that it’s made entirely out of mud. It uses no cement, no steel, no bricks and no wood. The reason I showed that it also has no air conditioners in a country that can get very hot. I show you this because it is possible to build very different kinds of technologies in very different ways and the lessons from that is what I would like to share with you in a minute.
These next slides show ferro cement channels. They are used for prefabrication of roofs and again, they are dramatically conserving of local materials and creating of jobs. This is an interesting technology. It took us six or seven years to develop. It's called a micro concrete roofing tile maker. It is the basis of an enterprise which costs a total capital investment of the order of $3,000. It creates nine jobs and with that it is possible to revolutionize the building materials sector. And indeed, there are more than 200 enterprises today making and selling these tiles purely commercially using this equipment. And these tiles happen to come out cheaper than any other roofing material, including thatch. And it has the life, about 15 times the lifetime of thatch. And that's what it looks like, an average little village home. You can see the mud stone at the bottom and the roofing tiles.
Now I have given you two examples. The mud blocks and the cement based technologies to give you an idea of what it can take to create jobswithout destroying the landscape.
But much more important than that is the fact that embedded in those technologies is a huge amount of knowledge—of scientific knowledge. Embedded both in the mud blocks and in the roofing tiles there are research based knowledge of soils, of compression techniques which are quite sophisticated. None of us could go out and make these very easily without having a great deal of training and research. And embedded in the cement based products is knowledge which has gone into the cement and there you have the ability to solve large scale local problems by using good, very high quality science and technological and engineering principles.
So here is an example, not so much of leapfrogging, it’s really more like short-curcuiting. It's called decentralized energy systems India and it's a power company that is based entirely on renewable energy. Therefore, it is climate friendly and at the same time uses renewable resources which don't have to be imported and don't have to destroy the renewable ones.eje
Next I will show you a gassifier. It's a very sophisticated device. It was developed in the Indian Institute of Science in Banglalore. It's a gassifier that basically takes any biomass, agro wastes. There are varieties of plantation based materials. We never use any wood because wood is scarce. But the most important fuels are actually weeds that often the government pays people to take away because they clog up the waterways. These weeds have become, instead of a nuisance, actually a commercial commodity, because people are bringing them in and we're paying them handsomely. We created 11 jobs for each of these power stations and with these we are able to produce enough electricity, 100 kilowatts of electricity, to power a small village, its homes, its streets, its schools and community buildings. But above all, its micro industries. And with it, of course, you have a total revolution in the whole local economy. It means that people don't have to run away to the towns and live in slums. They are able to basically generate the kinds of job opportunities and communities they need in their own villages.
The issue here is how do you proliferate this? There are many bottlenecks. One is finance and indeed that's a major bottleneck. Another one is the availability of renewable energy sources and where there is biomass there's sun. Where's there no sun, there's wind. You're going to get that by developing advanced methods, training programs of the type you can proliferate on a very large scale very quickly. And the way we do that is by using interactive video training programs, CD-ROM based training programs which are very costly in terms of one time investment. But then can be used on a very large scale. We've done the same with those roofing tiles and we are able basically now to see ways in which the same technology which needs very high tech for operations, for maintenance, for making sure there's no safety problems and so on, all of that can be done basically by using IT and cyber methods are crucial.
My colleague, Atiq Rahman, must have told you about the communications revolution that is taking place in Bangladesh and indeed in India, through the use of privately owned kiosks. In the case of Bangladesh they've gone one step further even with the use of cellular phones. In India these telephones have now reached virtually every village by a very revolutionary method for India of delivering phones for the public use rather than private use. And therefore making them available.
You see, ultimately, you need to create these livelihoods. To create these livelihoods you need a certain amount of infrastructure. You need electricity. You need water. You need communications and you need transport. Now if you're going to make roads to connect every village in our countries you're going to destroy not only the landscape but you're going to essentially destroy the planetary support systems. Roads have brought untold benefits to all of us. But they're also amazingly destructive of the ecology. Roads destroy the materials. You need to move huge quantities of materials to make roads. Roads destroy the water cycles. They act like little dams. They bring people into the middle of forests where they're not supposed to be and make it possible for them to destroy all the vegetation. They create landslides in hilly areas. They are, in fact, very destructive. Now if you're going to get out of the roadbuilding business you have to have some other form of transport. Because people are not going to stay in their villages if they're not connected to the local hospitals, to education, to livelihoods, to markets for their products and so on.
And we've been working on the use of airships. Balloons to conquer the problem of roads. Now here is a terrific example of where information technology is crucial. It is impossible to have air traffic control for millions of airships unless you have very high tech approaches to monitoring the atmosphere, the movement of these ships. You need to be able to guide them. You need to be able to navigate them. You need to be able to maintain them and so on.
So in all these cases that I've given you-- whether they are to do with constructing houses, whether to do with roadbuilding, whether to do with transport, whether to do with communications and whether they're to do with industry and power stations-- all of them actually necessitate the use of the highest, most advanced information technology for knowledge, for knowledge transfer, for communications and for general operations. So it is very easy to see how there could be a collaboration between the villager who in fact is the prime client for all the things I've shown you and the highest scientist working in an MIT lab if they choose to come together to solve the world's problems.
IIED is the organization I work for and what I'm going to speak to you about today is the resource centers for participatory learning and action, information center. I'm going to give you first some background information about IIED Resource Center in general, and then something more about the Resource Centers of Participatory Learning and Action and finally, some capacity development aspects of the network. And then some of our main achievements and future challenges. I have to thank Dr. Rahman, who has spoken before me, for giving such a wonderful description of what the participatory process is and how it works, making my task of describing to you the RCP does effectively on a global scale.
The collections that the Resource Center in London has focuses on three main collections. I'm going to focus on this later on, the PLA collection,participatory learning and action. But we also have something about environmental planning. This is much more of a national type initiative. Again, some of these issues have been touched today and also we have another project coming from one of our biodiversity spin-offs, the community wide life management and evaluation. The three collections is what the resource center looks after.
The problem at IIED is that we are a very small, independent, nonprofit organization. So our resources are very limited. So we could not afford a traditional library as many other organizations. But we knew that we had an enormous wealth of knowledge within the organization that was a great feature to be able to share with other people. And it is in this context that IIED decided to create the resource center because it was perceived, given that there was a huge demand for the information that we had. We do receive a lot of inquiries every day from people all over the world. Because we do publish a lot of interesting publications about these issues, I was telling you, we're also asking how could they actually get told of further information about this. How to get in touch with people that do these things. So the idea was well, why don't we try to link up some of these collections existing and enlarge them, manage them properly, disseminate them properly? And to do it as a project.
The Resource Center has since been built with the very untypical information structure. We do information deliveries so we collect and manage information. We do a lot of thesaurus building, database sharing, etc. in the most traditional way. We also do a lot of national capacity development. This was mainly because we realized very early on that we could not operate in isolation. What we know about participation could not be simply found or could not simply be gathered in IIED London. We are just in London. And a lot of these things take place in other countries. So there was much more sense in getting in partnership with a variety of organizations in order to be able to duplicate the amount of knowledge we had and hence the power of dissemination we could have all together.
Finally, we were aiming to provide support and information management. And that is because we feel that there is a lot of other off activities that you can do. But you can also do a lot in terms of promoting the activities that you do, promoting the information that you have more actively. We do a lot of mailings. We have got a lot of Internet activities but we also do a lot of traditional mailings trying to target NGOs and local initiatives that might need the information that we provide. So I come to the resource center for participatory learning and action. We
define as global information and knowledge network for participatory grassroots development. So we have three phases of our network.
The first phase was initiated because we felt there was a great need for increasing the capacity of supply of participatory information. And also to supply training and other initiatives around participation. And also because there was growing concern that the quality of practice was declining. We knew of a lot of organizations around the world that were doing a lot of work of participation that were similarly concerned about describing of information for participation. But like us they felt they were quite impeded by the lack of technology, lack of ways of getting to the people and telling them that they had the know-how.
So in the first phase we developed the network. IIED was central and trying to communicate with the partners and build up this network. Just to give you an example about information technologies, most of our partners did not have even e-mail at the beginning. We could not tell them we will give you connectivity because IIED has got not enough money to give connectivity. The most we could provide was seed grants. Very small grants, 2,000 pounds, 3,000 pounds to build up basic capacity. It was very much up to the network to build up interest in information technology activity, to find ways locally to provide those capacities themselves.
Currently, the network is composed of 15 organizations, five in Africa, five in Asia, three in South America and two in Europe. We work in three working languages although we haven't yet sorted out our problems of this area, but we do work in them. And we have now a shared Web site which is not hosted by IIED. It's hosted by one of the partners and is effectively and completely independent entity on the Internet. We have regular meetings and we have an elected steering committee. Initially, we had envisaged a structure in which everybody would talk with each other but effectively we have preferred a steering committee structure in which there is one representative for each network. This morning someone was talking about the difficulties of creating formal networks. We decided on an informal partnership. This is the initial statement which we arrived to in Bolivia in November when we all met and decided to proceed together.
In the third phase we will try to widen the path, to expand the network with more organization because we are aware that we are no means yet global. We cover a lot of organizations, 15 organizations. Each one of them is a network, plus we are in touch with other at least 85 individual practitioners in 85 different countries.
So I told you already it's been very fundamental to the development, the partners. Personally committed themselves to expand the staff structure and infrastructure, and to build that capacity in information within themselves. We've not been able to buy anything for them. They've had to develop this capacity themselves, have been convinced about the usefulness of that. And also we do by no means impose IT on anyone. We want people to communicate as they need to communicate internally. A lot of our partners use e-mail to communicate only with international organizations, only with the international community. Internally, almost none of them use any kind of information technology. Our partners have been particularly wonderful in describing the way in which their kind of society may not always be particularly favorable to this sort of nonpersonal communication. And then other important aspects for us have been the external aspects of capacity development. Somebody spoke earlier about the grassroots documentation. This is a priority for us. It is true that most of the documentation of participation is in English. And there is a lot done in the grassroots which is not documented, neither in the local language nor in English. So a lot of what we are trying to do is trying to develop new ways of helping people locally to develop materials in their local languages.
Finally, there are also no computers, no particular paper forms are encouraged. You have then to make sure that you have reached the people. You have reached the people that should use this information, your targets. So we are trying now to understand, by providing information or participation, that we are actually changing the mind of the people that are taking the decisions, of the practitioners. We are helping them to take decisions. Are we helping them to change the way they think? Is the information we distribute actually useful? What is the stakeholders' assessment. We do a lot of analysis of the people that use us. And we are not thinking of the bottom line, but we are always going back and checking that who we are serving is effectively people that we should be serving. And this is being another one of our biggest challenges. Thank you.
I am from Info Habitat. I should say it's really wonderful being here and one of the reasons that I am so happy to be here. When I arrived in this country 32 years ago it was to work at a project in Boston College in which, among other things, I had use of the MIT time sharing system.
One of the research projects I worked on in graduate school was on the diffusion of innovation in small communities. One of the most significant findings of that was that the impact—i.e. the willingness to accept innovations—was dependent more on the role of the innovator and of the introduction of the innovation in the community, than on the quality and nature of that information. And so throughout this process we focused on working with the community and being part of the community and looking at ways to bring it in as a member of the group and not as an outsider. But also very much from the background of a mathematical sociologist of the dynamics of how the use of the technology can enable, and strengthen, the functioning and effectiveness of the group.
The principle focus of information technology is the theory and practice of information ecology, and particularly the application of information technology to support a broad based participation in global or national or local processes—relating to sustainability, equitable development, human rights and peace.
My own focus is on information ecology. A lot of people said you can't put information and ecology next to each other. And so it was an interesting dynamic, it was a challenging process and partly because it evokes an interesting dynamic between the Luddites and those who saw the value of this.
One of the issues has been really how to use information ecology in a way that works and bridging the use of technology with people, many of whom have really got very comfort or ease of use or expertise, great deal to invest in using the technology. The challenge is to focus on doing things in the simplest, most directly accessible way. This includes anything from putting the tools on disk to using disks in different contexts.
In Rio we put documents in preparation and afterwards the document itself on a zip version because a lot of people couldn't get that kind of material. One of the most useful in the use of electronic mail is in development contexts. In my experience there's no working committee or group that's working on these issues. Even if they're all in the same town we don’t know the full uses of an electronic mail list as a means of exchanging information, especially, when as in 20 or so groups lists that I'm facilitating are scattered around the world. It is a powerful tool and is much easier than using the Web. The Web is wonderful. The Web is beautiful. But it's really a lot of struggling around, finding something here, finding something there. With e-mail you are focusing on one thing. Getting your e-mail and sending your e-mail. One connection and it can be done very efficiently. There are quite a number of systems which allow this to be done from a local host. The local host does the connection with a relatively efficient base to an Internet and you're then dealing with a local phone call to get your own e-mail. And it's just the kind of situation that really allows people and people get a steady feed which fluctuates according to the nature of the process.
Information ecology has a very profound effect on decisionmaking and access to information within a group. And interesting enough, in this year's UNCSD, although it wasn't formally recognized, most of the discussion of the steering committee was about information ecology. It was about how would people get the information that they needed? What was happening? Were they not getting it? And the impact on decision making. We are now approaching all UN conferences about living together on the earth, treating men as one; we seek to look at geographic information system as the basic platform, a relational database structure and a very strong and systematic use of electronic mailing lists.
It's very clear that the capacity to integrate information, large amounts of information, particularly using a systematic methodological basis of organizing in a database structure, in terms of using a digital format as the basic vehicle for many respects. A lot of what the Rio process was about is recognizing whole systems and the behavior of whole systems. And really these little boxes here just do something that's quite phenomenal in terms of that. And they continue to get more powerful. Thank you.
I want to give you some sense of the kind of things that the World Resources Institute is doing in the information and communications area.
The first of those is essentially an internal strategy that we are using to change our own information culture, and to sort of get ourselves into the 21st century. We are a policy research organization and so communicating results and policy relevant information is the essence of what we do. Typically, we've done that in the past in print. Some 1,500 reports of one kind or another in the past 15 years. But many of those are now unavailable. They've never been fully electronic. And so under this communications 2000 program the first thing we are doing is creating a Web based, online, electronic archive, fully searchable, full text.
There's some new software that allows documents to be stored in any common format. Furthermore, they can be retrieved and linking through a Xerox network that's still evolving, in effect you can print selected pages in many, many places around the world. Or you pull together this section here and this section here and create 100 copies of that synthetic document in Frankfurt tomorrow. We are increasingly using new communication tools, multimedia, etc. on our Web sites. We're using real audio in our press conferences. But we are increasingly doing those kind of tools and we are building both an Internet and an Extranet so we can share our key administrative documents with partners from board members to corporate partners to NGO partners around the world.
Secondly, we have always been a big publisher of data and information. Again, this is largely in print form. But we are now increasingly doing electronic data sets. We essentially publish the UN's environmental data set in diskette and CD form. The core pieces of that are on the Web site. We've increasingly moved into doing GIS data sets for policy purposes, very much like we've done statistical data sets and building on top from both of those indicator based assessments and new sort of synthetic measures that help crystallize information in forms usable by policymakers.
A third area of activity that's growing very rapidly is building what you can call online communities. For example, global forest watch is essentially going to be a global network of local forest groups tied together through the Web. Using common data formats. They'll all have GIS tools. They'll all have Web building tools. There
will be password protected features that allow local review before data is put on the Web. Then we'll bring in scientific groups internationally, periodically to synthesize and review the data. But if you can think of an ecological version of human rights watch for the forests, that's what we're doing.
This network will be eventually a network of probably more than 100 local forest groups organized into a global organization that essentially has no central point, but is truly a community. It will monitor in great detail what goes on in the forests, who has what lease, where the burning is, are the terms being agreed to and put it in real time on the Web.
And finally, I wanted to mention other kinds of online communities. We've developed with the Rand Corporation and Caltech a structured, online, Web based discussion tool that we call hyper forum which basically allows you to use the visual and linking qualities of the Web. Usually this is done in a password protected form with a moderator to have asynchronous, a geographic structured conversation. It's essentially like having this workshop without leaving your desk. And we are now beginning to use that tool in practical work with corporate partners, with NGO partners and with a number of other things.
The last point I would make is that increasingly we're trying to use some of these new tools to extend the reach of practically every project we do. We are close to publishing a new book on sustainable development, we've also developed a Web site oriented towards educational use. There's a network of some 30 faculty, mostly in this country but spread more broadly, who are using it in undergraduate classes and some graduate classes in business schools this fall. And we hope that will spread. It's basically designed as an educational resource. It has scenarios, data, and interactive devices so that you can use applets and try out your own scenarios. We're consciously linking these kind of tools with traditional publication formats to try to broaden the discussion on sustainability issues.
Particularly, for this audience I'd welcome anyone who's building similar sort of information sets to link to this site and vice versa. We'd be glad to add you to our library of relevant sustainability sites. And with that I will conclude and thank you for your attention.
What I wanted to speak about is the following. So far in the talks that we have seen the emphasis has been put very much on systems that search and retrieve information. I would like to emphasize here are systems that actually do not just retrieve information but that process it. And I would like to emphasize once more how important this might be in regard of the following fact: Often what happens is that developing countries, in particular, do not just lack the information that we have, but also lack the tools to actually process it and deal with it. For example, if one talks about some important international negotiations like these related to the UNFCCC, it is clear that developed countries usually bolster their argument by using all kinds of modeling techniques. Which developing countries--because of lack not only information capacity but also of modeling and possibility to transmit methodologies-- have not the possibilities to use. Therefore, the question is how can tools be developed and used relatively cheaply by most countries?
What I'm going to describe are capabilities that we have developed at my home place, the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. And what I will illustrate are the possibilities of networks which are not just designed to access (transmit and receive information) but also to process data (analyze, compute and forecast), and then also to compute policy options. To illustrate how this is being done and how one of these networks functions, argue as follows:
We have a mini network that we have been establishing in order to do just that, namely transmit possibilities to process data with the help of modeling tools. We also have the World Wide Web which is used as a source of information, display, mapping. And it is also connected to the GSSD. And then the basis for displaying graphics and mapping is constituted by windows, here Windows NT type system.
But the complex computations that are required by these modeling operations is actually embedded in a Unix type system, precisely a Lineux system, especially relevant for a developing country. The Lineux operating system can be either downloaded from the Web for free or bought very cheaply in a CD-ROM for maybe $30. Now such a system allows you to do all kinds of things. Moreover, if you collect raw data it is also possible to organize your data much more efficiently here to transmit them to such a system which can work very fast.
To illustrate all this, what I will try to do is to present some results from our simulation system. It's a simulation and parameter estimation software system which is embedded in a CERN. It supports the user friendly workstations. It also allows you to do very complex calculation in a much more efficient way than, for instance, a lot of spread sheet programs like Excel or Lotus, for that matter. And the networking that I just described allows you to go very rapidly from one system to the other.
It is possible with this general simulation of dynamic relation that is embedded in that software to do parameter estimation of the systems that are simulated via numerical optimization techniques and it allows you also to calculate optimal policies through time. Why is this important in this context and especially when one refers to developing countries? As I tried to hint before, modeling techniques have become bargaining tools for developing countries, as they are for developed countries. Therefore, the possibility to look at how they might bargain is important in this context. And the problem, unlike what was presented this morning, namely, an important issue about the creation of new orders of property rights, what is also important is how one gets from a present order of property rights to a new order of property rights. Some bargaining gets involved with people having different types of computations and figures in mind and therefore it is essential that all countries can dispose of relatively cheap computational means.
A quick presentation of how this software works shows a main browser command, system where one can define call-ups, files and so on, and define models which can be written very simply and then executed on this machine. With some rather primitive graphical output, this can be manipulated much better on a Windows type system.
To give a brief example of how something like that can work, especially in the environmental area, I will briefly present here a situation that we have analyzed with some techniques like that which is the water situation in the Jordan valley, the Jordan valley river system, which involves three countries or entities, namely Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
To show how acute such problems are I can just project this satellite image which has been retrieved via the Internet which shows the difference between the Israeli regions which are darker here, relatively well irrigated agriculture. Whereas the Palestinian areas here are much drier.
How can one use modeling techniques to analyze this problem? Well, one can, for instance, try to represent the major elements and trends, that represent these regions in a complex model with various sectors that are involved. There are different water sectors, monetary sectors, energy sectors, demographic sectors and so on in the model, and this gives a good foundation for the modeling. And then we use these modeling techniques to do all kinds of things such as project future trends under alternative assumptions. For instance, here the population of Jordan and the parameter fitting techniques that I was talking about before allow you to calculate the projected tenancy of the Jordanian population here and to forecast it forward.
Our software involves other capacities, that I don't have time to discuss, such as, for instance, a geographical information system that allows you to project a range of scales. That allows you to project trends on a map very easily, and some of these techniques are actually available via the World Wide Web. In my view, more capabilities of this type. are important because they would allow developing countries to use such modeling technologies interactively and cheaply.
The network that I showed exists in Geneva. In other words, this system exists in such a way that this computer here is located only about 100 feet from this station. But the 100 feet can be 100 or 1,000 miles away or several thousand miles away. So somebody, for instance, from a developing country could have access to this. Moreover, this is not done with an expensive type computer. This is done with a simple PC machine with the Lineux system. The whole setup here has a very low cost of about $4,000 to $5,000 total.
This technology exists, it is available very cheaply, it can be available interactively at a distance and developing countries can also mount this very cheaply, especially if they have been World Wide Web access. And access to such methodologies of knowledge management, networking, information retrieval and access, as GSSD. Thank you very much.