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ASIA-PACIFIC POPIN BULLETIN. 1992 Jun; 4(2):13-7.The ability to access and use information is increasingly becoming a crucial determinant of a country's ability to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development. Countries which are able to manage and utilize data and information have a competitive advantage over other nations. Countries which fail to tap into the growing global knowledge base, develop a complementary local knowledge base, promote the dissemination and use of knowledge, and invest in institutional and technical human capital will, however, simply remain or fall behind the competition. Many developing countries lack appropriate strategy, financial support for information centers and networks, timely adoption and use of new technology, adequate telecommunications infrastructure, and coordination at national and regional levels. Further, telecommunications services are costly, research on user group behavior is inadequate, few technically skilled people are available, and governments fail to recognize the importance of joining international information networks. Policy development, maternal-child health and family planning, and information, education, and communication are 3 of the most significant population issues worldwide. To best address these issues, international development agencies are urged to veer from providing capital and to directly support greater access to information and enhanced knowledge leading to sustainable national development. Thus far the UN has helped create global information systems in certain areas, and regional cooperative information systems are being developed. ESCAP has taken the lead in Asia and the Pacific. Gradually, population libraries and information centers are becoming computerized. Greater effort is recommended to recover costs for services and products. Further, donors and country organizations should stress that information is only useful as far as it is used.