The World Telecommunication Development Conference (Doha, 2006)
Achievements aimed at universal access leading to the creation of an
information society have been accomplished in the telecommunication sector since
the first World Telecommunication Development Conference in 1994. The
implementation of the Buenos Aires, Valletta, and Istanbul 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
commitment of countries and development partners was demonstrated by their
involvement and the active role that they played during the World Summit on the
Information Society process. The ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU
D), including the ITU-D study groups have also made a significant contribution
to the body of knowledge which has been made available to the international
The successes of the past are a great encouragement to all interested parties in
the telecommunication development sector to assist in sustaining these efforts
in the upcoming period from 2008 to 2011. All these initiatives will be a key
factor for the success of the Doha Action Plan.
The pace towards the creation of a truly global information society needs
to be increased, so as to bring opportunities to countries and to create
conditions aimed at deriving maximum benefit from the implementation of new
services and applications, in order to accelerate overall development.
New and emerging 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, remote and rural
areas and between well-served and underserved areas within a country.
The emergence of a conducive environment and entrepreneurial approaches to
providing a rural service, and more cost-effective technologies, may offer an
opportunity for more rapid deployment of telecommunication services in rural and
The global information society (GIS) is evolving and should be responsive to
the interests of all nations, especially developing countries, and in particular
least developed countries (LDCs), countries with economies in transition and
small island developing states (SIDS).
Opportunities offered by new information and communication technologies (ICTs)
should be fully exploited with the aim of fostering sustainable development and
technology transfer consistent with national laws, through research and
development and innovative technological applications, as well as development
assistance for the promotion of quality of life and a higher standard of living.
ICTs are essential for political, economic, social and cultural development.
They fuel the global information society and are rapidly transforming our lives
and promoting better understanding among peoples. They also play an important
role in poverty alleviation, job creation, environmental protection and the
prevention and mitigation of natural and other disasters. All interested parties
are urged to make their contribution to extend these benefits to all peoples.
The rapid growth of broadband technology and the convergence of
telecommunications, computing and information and multimedia applications are
opening up new perspectives for the sector, providing opportunities for e
applications and e services, i.e. e learning, e health, e government, e
commerce, disaster relief/response, environmental protection, post-war
reconstruction, post-disaster reconstruction/rehabilitation of ICT
infrastructure, and many other applications which are highly beneficial to
political, social, cultural and economic development, and general welfare
resulting from synergistic benefits accruing from multistakeholder partnerships.
Universal, ubiquitous and affordable access to ICTs is key to social and
economic prosperity. Telecommunication and information services permit
technology transfer, interaction, access and exchange of knowledge, contributing
to greater economic activity, higher productivity and ultimately general
welfare. Community access to ICTs is one of the most appropriate ways of
achieving universal access in many developing countries.
Telecommunication sector reforms leading to greater private-sector
participation and competition are forces shaping the development of ICTs. 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 environment.
Governments play a key role in the development of ICTs and
telecommunications, and are urged to establish an enabling environment which
promotes reasonable and affordable access to basic telecommunication services
for all, so as to pave the way for the active participation of other
stakeholders in the ICT sector. Such an environment should also create a stable
and transparent framework and promote fair competition, while protecting network
integrity and 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 subregional organizations, and other entities engaged in activities related
to development of ICTs and services, in order to create a proper framework
needed for the implementation and development of services and applications,
ensuring that ITU and ITU's role and mission are understood.
ITU and ITU-D should continue to play an active and leading role in the
development and deployment of low-cost, affordable and appropriate technologies
for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and in the development of policies and
strategies that could facilitate the use of ICTs in disaster prevention,
preparedness and relief.
The Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) should sustain the current
momentum of promoting and enhancing the participation of the private sector in
the activities of ITU-D, and should continue to coordinate and facilitate the
creation of partnerships between governments and private enterprises and between
private enterprises in developed countries and those in developing countries.
International, regional and national financing and investment institutions
are urged to attach high priority to the growth of ICTs as well as to explore
ways and means of achieving the improvements and innovations in existing ICT
financing mechanisms referred to in § 27 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information
Society. The Digital Solidarity Fund should be used as a source of financing ICT
ITU should play a leading role in the implementation of the World Summit on
the Information Society, as noted in § 64 of the Geneva Declaration of
Principles, recognizing that ITU's core competencies in the field of ICTs –
assistance in bridging the digital divide, international and regional
cooperation, radio spectrum management, standards development and the
dissemination of information – are of critical importance for building the
The World Telecommunication Development Conference (Doha, 2006) calls upon
all ITU Member States and Sector Members to contribute towards the successful
implementation of the outcomes of the two phases of the World Summit on the
Information Society held in 2003 (Geneva, Switzerland) and 2005 (Tunis,
Tunisia). In this regard, the Doha Action Plan will be an important tool for the
implementation of the Summit outcomes.
The programmes summarized below, which are part of the Doha Action Plan,
developed in a spirit of encouraging awareness and actions on, inter alia,
gender, youth, Indigenous Peoples and the disabled, and implemented under the
leadership and coordination of ITU-D, become important and relevant tools for
achieving universal access:
The focus of ITU-D’s work in the area of policy, regulation
and strategy will be on assisting Member States and national regulatory
authorities in developing and implementing an enabling environment that fosters
a supportive, transparent, pro-competitive and predictable policy, legal and
regulatory framework. Such a framework would provide the appropriate incentives
for investment and promote universal, ubiquitous and affordable access to
information and communication technologies (ICT). The programme will take into
account accelerated convergence between technologies and services and the
development of next generation networks.
Information and communication infrastructure and technology development:
To assist Member States and ITU D Sector Members to maximize the utilization of
appropriate new technologies in the development of their information and
communication infrastructure, by taking due account of the accelerated
convergence of the telecommunication1 networks2 and services. Infrastructure is
central in achieving the goal of digital inclusion, enabling universal,
sustainable, ubiquitous and affordable access to ICTs by all, taking into
account relevant solutions already in place in developing countries and
countries with economies in transition, in order to provide sustainable
connectivity and access to remote and marginalized areas at national and
E strategies and ICT applications:
To assist developing countries, through the use of information and communication
technologies (ICTs) and telecommunication networks, to advance the achievement
of national, regional and the internationally agreed development goals, by
promoting the use of ICT-based products, networks, services and applications,
and to help countries overcome the digital divide
Economics and finance, including costs and tariffs:
information on financing policies and strategies appropriate to the economic
situation, including, where appropriate, cost-oriented pricing, with a view to
fostering equitable and affordable access to innovative and sustainable
Human capacity building:
Strengthen 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
Least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS),
and emergency telecommunications:
Seek to deploy appropriate technologies and to
develop strategies aimed at responding to particular needs of LDCs and SIDS and
to develop comprehensive ICT solutions for disaster risk reduction for all
- The importance of addressing the needs of regions is high on the agenda of
the ITU and the ITU-D. These needs have been discussed during the various
Regional Preparatory Meetings of the WTDC. The regions have encapsulated these
needs into regional initiatives and presented them to the Conference.
Thus, the WTDC (Doha 2006) has adopted the regional initiatives and referred to
them in a Resolution emanating from the Conference. The details of these
initiatives have been included as an appendix to the Final Report of the
In ITU the term
"telecommunication" includes sound and television broadcasting.
2 "Telecommunication networks" are widely known as
information and communication infrastructure.