The Silk Road has always
been about connectivity and communication. The United States is actively
promoting Silk Road development in recognition of the strategic importance
of the countries encompassed within the Silk Road. According to
U.S. Senator Sam Brownbeck, "The Silk Road
countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia are at an historic crossroad:
they are independent, they are at the juncture of many of today's major
world forces, they are rich in natural resources, and they are in the midst
of nation building" He indicated the best way to help
create conditions for stability and growth is by promoting regional co-operation
and partnership. In 1999 The U.S. Senate adopted Senator Brownback's
Road Strategy Act.
In the words of a U.S. official, "A
New Silk Road is being created that will serve as a 'superhighway' between
Central Asia and Europe. The 21st Century Silk Road running through the
Caucasus and beyond the Caspian with the proposed southern rail link to
China will be a "superhighway built of both iron - and fibre optic cables."
WOMENAID SILK ROAD INTERNET INITIATIVE
The WomenAid International
Silk Road Internet Initiative is a response to a 'participation gap' identified
during current project implementation. There is increasing global
concern that the internet revolution could bypass women, creating a 'digital
divide' and yet another obstacle for women to overcome. After poverty
and violence, the UN ranks technological access as the third most important
issue facing women in poor countries. The empowerment of women is
acknowledged to be a vital component in the development of a just and equitable
CaucasusNOW, CAUCASUS NETWORK OF WOMEN
This online community is a
unique regional initiative supporting women's lobbying/advocacy work by
accelerating networking and providing regional information gateways to
Commerce, Health, Gender and Environment, sectors vital to the growth of
civil society and democratisation, and which will be a push factor for
change in all the countries in the Caucasus.
Civil society networks provide new sources of information
and statistics, a powerful tool for creating a culture of accountability;
communities are 'enabled' and can mobilise changes in policy and behaviour.
Data helps turn silence into debate.
The CaucasusNOW project, an Electronic Network Platform
(ENP) and Donation Portal offering an OnLine Directory/Database, Link-Library,
Information Gateways (Commerce, Health, Gender and Environment), issue/sector
related eBulletins, eDialogue Groups and Regional Calendar, strengthens
women’s organisations, enhances their funding opportunities and will improve
communication, information exchange and dissemination of documents, databases,
Accelerate networking capability and global connectivity of women;
Facilitate idea and information exchange and fund-raising;
Support individual/institutional capacity building initiatives;
Encourage multi-sectoral collaboration, coalition and peace building measures.