The conference declares that:
a) Achievements aimed at bridging the "digital
divide" and providing universal access have been accomplished in
the telecommunication sector since the second World Telecommunication
Development Conference in 1998. The implementation of the Buenos Aires and
Valletta Action Plans has been largely successful thanks to the
collaborative efforts of all parties involved. It is noteworthy that the key
to this success has been the considerable effort made by the countries
themselves and the catalytic inputs of their development partners, including
public, private and intergovernmental organizations. The ITU-D study groups
have also made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge which has
been placed at the disposal of the telecommunication community.
The successes of the past are a great encouragement to all interested
parties in the sector to sustain these efforts in the upcoming period from
2003 to 2007. These initiatives will be a key factor for the success of the
Istanbul Action Plan.
||The "digital divide" needs
to be reduced and this brings opportunities to countries, not only to narrow
it, but also to create conditions to derive maximum benefit from the
implementation of new services and applications in order to accelerate
New technologies have a significant impact on
the expansion of telecommunications and have the potential to close the gap
not only between developing and developed countries but also between urban
and rural areas and between well-served and underserved areas within a
The emergence of a conducive environment and entrepreneurial approaches
to providing a rural service, and more cost-effective technologies, may
provide an opportunity for more rapid deployment of telecommunication
services in rural and remote areas.
The global information infrastructure (GII) and the global information
society (GIS) are evolving and should be responsive to the interests of all
nations, especially the developing and least developed countries.
Opportunities offered by modern technologies should be fully exploited
with the aim of fostering sustainable development through research,
development and innovative technological applications for the promotion of
quality and a higher standard of living.
||Telecommunications is an essential component
of political, economic, social and cultural development. It fuels the global
society and economy and is rapidly transforming our lives and promoting
better understanding among peoples. It also plays an important role in
poverty alleviation, in environmental protection and in the mitigation of
natural and other disasters. All interested parties are urged to make their
contribution to extend these benefits to all peoples.
The convergence of telecommunications,
computing and information and multimedia applications is opening up new
perspectives for the sector, providing opportunities for e-learning,
e-health, e-government, e-commerce, environmental protection, post-war
reconstruction and many other applications which are highly beneficial for
social, cultural and economic development.
Universal access to ICTs is widely viewed as a key to economic
prosperity. Telecommunication and information services permit interaction
and knowledge, contributing to greater economic activity, higher
productivity and ultimately general welfare. Community access to ICTs is
seen as one of the most appropriate ways of achieving universal access in
many developing countries.
||Sector reforms leading to greater private
sector participation and competition are forces shaping the development of
telecommunications. These challenges of the information society and the new
trade environment place even greater pressure on policy-makers, regulators
and operators to acquire the necessary skills to manage the evolving ICT
Governments play a key role in development of
telecommunications, and are urged to establish an enabling environment which
promotes reasonable and affordable access to basic telecommunication
services for all.
Such an environment should also create a stable and transparent framework
and promote fair competition, while protecting network integrity and
guaranteeing the rights of users, operators and investors. Policies and
strategies for the development of telecommunications should reflect the
trend towards multiservices utilizing a common infrastructure platform.
||ITU and ITU-D have a special role to play in
strengthening communication channels, by ensuring effective coordination
with other international, regional and sub regional organizations, and other
entities engaged in activities related to development of ICTs and services,
in order to create a proper framework needed in the application and
development of services and applications, ensuring that ITU and ITU's role
and mission are understood.
||BDT should sustain the current momentum of
promoting and enhancing the participation of the private sector in the
activities of ITU-D, and it should continue to coordinate and facilitate the
creation of partnerships between governments and private enterprises and
between the private enterprises in developed countries and those in
||Global, regional and national financing and
investment institutions are urged to attach high priority to the growth of
telecommunications, particularly in developing countries. ITU should seek to
establish strong relationships with those financial institutions.
||WTDC-02 drew the attention of all ITU Member
States and Sector Members to prepare for the forthcoming World Summit on the
Information Society in 2003 (Geneva, Switzerland) and 2005 (Tunis, Tunisia).
In this regard, the Action Plan will be an important input for the
preparation of the Summit.
ITU-D should continue to support the Youth
Forums and advance the interests and capabilities of youth in ICT.
The programmes summarized below, which are
part of the Istanbul Action Plan, developed in a spirit of encouraging
awareness and actions on gender issues and implemented under the leadership
and coordination of ITU-D, become important and relevant tools for narrowing
the "digital divide":
- Regulatory reform: Develop and implement policies, legislation and
regulations aimed at sustained development, access and use of
telecommunications, including broadcasting, and information and
communication technologies (ICT).
- Technologies and telecommunication/ICT network development: Maximize
the utilization of appropriate new technologies in the development of
telecommunication/information and communication technology (ICT) networks.
- E-strategies and e-services/applications: Use of ICTs and
telecommunication networks to enhance access and use of secure,
cost-effective and socio-economically beneficial value-added ICT services to
ensure sustainability and affordability in the development of
telecommunications and ICTs and to harness the potential of ICTs to
contribute towards reducing the social divide, improving quality of life,
good governance, better access to health services, distance learning and
universal access, taking into account the requirements and conditions in
rural areas and underserved communities, the potential of multipurpose
community telecentres (MCT) and Internet protocol (IP) for the delivery of a
wide range of services.
- Economics and finance, including costs and tariffs: Develop and
implement financing policies and strategies appropriate to the economic
situation, including cost-orientated pricing, with a view to fostering
equitable and affordable access to innovative and sustainable services.
- Human capacity building: Strengthen the human, institutional and
organizational capacity through human resource management and development
activities, so as to facilitate a smooth transition to the current
telecommunication and ICT environment.
As a result of the deliberations of WTDC-02 - mainly those reflected in the
ITU Istanbul Action Plan - it is expected that all humanity, and in particular
LDCs, will strongly benefit from information and communication technology
services and applications, transforming today's "digital divide"
into a veritable "DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY".