Think Globally, Prepare Locally
Preparation for the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2002 has been intense and has taken as its starting point, the priorities of each of the ITU regions established at meetings around the world: Yaounde (Africa), Port-of- Spain (Americas), Alexandria (Arab States), Sofia (Europe and CIS) and Bali (Asia - Pacific). Here are the common threads running through the globally-agreed operational and technical themes for WTDC-02:
Finance and Investment
Overall, the regions' shared priority is to establish a framework that is conducive to investment. Regions also underscored the need for advice and assistance in further studying service costs such as tariffs, interconnection charges and computation of Universal Service Funds. To support these common priorities, the meetings recognized the need to collect, exchange and disseminate information between the appropriate regional and international organizations by means of case studies, databases or regional workshops.
Human Resources Development
There appears to be an overall consensus on building a truly-integrated HR system that is able to identify the changing needs of the telecommunication sector and adapt to it by offering the necessary training programmes and expertise. ITU Centers of Excellence and training centers are considered as focal points by all regions. They are also a vehicle for strategic alliances among industry, educational institutions and community and to promote regional cooperation. All regions acknowledge the importance of supporting entrepreneurial spirit and customer/market driven culture in capacity-building.
Network Development and New Technologies
AA need that echoes through the regions is that for technical assistance in coordinating, harmonizing and planning the successful implementation of new technologies and services. The general emphasis is on establishing the necessary information infrastructure and improving interconnectivity between countries. In light of emerging technologies, there is a need to identify and assess developments such as broadband access solutions, IP telephony and transition to 2G and 3G mobile telephony. There was also unanimity on utilizing Telecommunication Management Network (TMN) to improve network monitoring and control management as well as to ensure interoperability and inter-working between existing and new networks.
Policy and Regulation
Priorities established by each region point to the universal need for support of the reform process. All regions expressed the need to adapt their regulatory framework to the ongoing transition from sector-specific to converged ICT legislation. The regions underlined the necessity to access and share experiences and knowledge gained in other parts of the world and encourage the collection and dissemination of information. Some regions sought assistance in establishing or strengthening their regulatory bodies.
Universal Access and ICTs
The concept of universal access pervades the specific needs of each region. In view of the broad framework, the regions felt it worthwhile to revisit the definition of universal access with a view to refining its measurement. To reinforce the global effort in promoting universal access, all regions encouraged closer collaboration of the planning and study of regional and global international networks with appropriate organizations.
In order to ensure universal access to ICT, a common will is emerging to develop mechanisms for access to the Internet and to elaborate recommendations for extending ICTs to the rural areas. Furthermore, countries need to be supported in elaborating plans and sector strategies for ICTs. Developing tariff models and a legal basis may favour the expansion of internet access on a global basis.
Special LDC Programme
Among the measures proposed to strengthen the ITU's special assistance to LDCs are the mobilization of additional resources for LDCs, for example, through ITU TELECOM surplus funds and support of Sector Members in the region. Special assistance is recommended to one or two LDCs at a time. The Africa region recognizes that bridging the digital divide calls for aggressive fund-raising and is seeking ways to change the current financial arrangements to minimize conditionality and other restrictive practices in the international financing arena.
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Updated : 2002-03-11