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ITU activities in E-commerce and Electronic Signatures fall under three main categories reflecting the structure of the Union, its long history and its broad membership.

Building Global Connections: ITU standards (called ITU Recommendations) enable the global infrastructure necessary for e-commerce security and trust. ITU recommendations form the framework for electronic signatures by defining the format for digital certificates and establishing the guidelines for the operations of entities that manage and issues digital identities. The rapid development of mobile services and networks is said to be a major driver for mobile commerce. Through its third generation mobile standard (IMT) the foundation for high global speed IP services is being laid. E-commerce service providers, consumers and businesses can communicate thanks to ITU standards for user access (modem, ISDB) and high-speed network connections for service providers.

Framework for Policy Co-ordination: By bringing together the main stakeholders from various sectors (private sector and governments) ITU provides the forum through TELECOM event, World Telecommunication Policy Forum, workshops and seminars to address the key issues regarding policies and strategies for truly global e-commerce. Playing the key role in the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society, decision-makers from governments, industry and international organizations will discuss the issues related to building an inclusive information society that reaches all nations & peoples.

Assisting Developing Countries: For e-commerce to deliver the promises it holds, it must be include the more than 140 ITU Member States that are either developing or least developed. Through the Electronic Commerce for Developing Countries, several activities are being undertaken by the ITU based on the four objectives of this special development initiative.

  1. Infrastructure Development: Coordinate the establishment of e-transaction infrastructure.
  2. Human Resources Development: Develop local capacity in e-transaction technologies.
  3. Policies and Strategies: Address policy and strategy issues related to e-transactions.
  4. Partnership with Industry: Forge neutral and non-exclusive partnerships with industry.

After the successful launch of ECDC, this initiative is now being expanded to more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia & Pacific, Europe & CIS, The Americas and the Arab States. Initially focused on e-commerce, this initiative is being expanded to establish secure e-transaction infrastructure using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) aimed at providing services such as e-business and e-government. Through this initiative, more than 100 developing countries will benefit from leading edge technologies and services for certification, electronic signatures and e-transaction services (e-commerce, e-government, e-learning and e-health).

Today, some 220 organizations including telecom operators, Ministries, Chambers of Commerce, Internet Service Providers, Trade Associations and Federations, NGO's and Financial Institutions are participating in ECDC activities. The Partnership Agreement with the World Trade Centre (WTC) Geneva and the World Internet Secure Key (WISeKey SA) has resulted in an operational ECDC centre in Vietnam. Later this year, ITU and WISeKey will start the deployment of a global PKI in participating countries. In June 1999, ECDC was presented with an innovative project award by the Global Bangemann Projects Challenge in Stockholm, Sweden and cited in Time Magazine of July 2000, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, International Security Review and several national and international media as an activity to watch out for. Within the context of the four objectives, activities are undertaken in the following areas:

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Contact for this page : E-Strategy Unit
Updated : 2001-08-28