First of a kind technology brings together tens of thousands of global citizens to discuss urban Issues

Results from Habitat JAM unveiled at World Urban Forum

Vancouver, B.C., June 19, 2006 – In December 2005, IBM technology enabled the largest global online dialogue, which lasted 72 hours, involved approximately 39,000 participants from 158 countries, and resulted in hundreds of actionable items on urban sustainability that are being discussed at the World Urban Forum this week.

That online discussion – known as Habitat JAM – was an unprecedented global dialogue that took place on the Internet in December 2005. Sponsored by the Government of Canada in partnership with UN-HABITAT and IBM, the goal of Habitat JAM was to engage, empower and stimulate tens of thousands of global citizens, rich and poor alike, with the ultimate goal of turning ideas into actions. In just over 72 hours, the participants produced over 4,000 pages of dialogue and generated hundreds of actionable ideas on critical issues related to urban sustainability, including ideas for empowering women and the youth and suggestions for the opening of �technology hubs� to give the urban poor access to meeting space, and the Internet.

The JAM technology enabled mass collaboration and problem-solving that has never before been possible on a global scale. It was a groundbreaking Internet event that used advanced strategies and online tools developed by IBM to enable real-time dialogue and exchange among an enormous number of participants. The technology created a stable, robust, and easy-to-use collaborative environment that allowed tens of thousands of participants to �meet� who never otherwise could. Subject-matter experts and moderators guided participants to build on each other�s ideas and text-analysis tools from IBM helped to capture and play back key themes.

�Helping the world to communicate is an extremely daunting task, said Dave Preston, Global Business Services, IBM Canada. �As the Internet continues to evolve, there is a lot of discussion taking place around new technologies and communication tools like blogs, vlogs � all designed to get people talking. However, Habitat JAM is a great example of a truly global dialogue, one that enabled real-time discussion and exchange among an enormous number of participants with different levels of access to technology and speaking a variety of languages.�

In India, thousands of women participated in the JAM through moderators who went out into communities to seek their views. In the Philippines, women who had never before seen a computer were provided with training and a Habitat Jam account so that they could participate. In Kenya, people lined up for hours to have access to computers so that they could have their say. An overwhelming response from people who are blind was received, thanks to technology that made accessibility a priority.

JAM technology has been used by IBM internally to involve their 300,000 employees around the world in both broad-reaching exploration and pragmatic problem-solving. The Habitat JAM was the first project where the JAM technology was implemented outside of IBM.

The Habitat JAM was a preparatory event to the third session of the World Urban Forum being held in Vancouver from June 19�23. The online forum brought together leaders of government, business, and academia, as well as youth, women�s groups and citizens from impoverished communities from around the world. The participants came together as equals to be heard, share ideas and learn from one another. The discussion resulted in identifying 70 actionable items that will be discussed at this year�s Forum.

Please note: On Thursday, June 22, at 1:30 p.m., Charles Kelly, World Urban Forum Commissioner General, will lead a discussion on JAM collaboration and the factors that motivated 39,000 people from around the world to participate in this online discussion. The event will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Room MR12. To learn more about the World Urban Forum, visit: