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 Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Regional Development Forum for the Americas Region closed 20 May 2008, in Brasilia, Brazil. The Forum, was jointly organized by ITU-T and ITU-D,  in cooperation with Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), and hosted by ANATEL, Brazil

More than 200 participants attended, from 17 countries in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean

At the opening ceremony, the chairman,  H.E. Ambassador Ronaldo Sardenberg, President of Anatel, Brazil, confirmed the  Anatel’s interest in increasing its cooperation with  ITU and other regulatory agencies . He stressed the importance of the Forum in terms of preparing for WTSA-08 and discussing the “standardization gap”. He pointed out that the capacity to participate in the standardization process is of fundamental importance to decrease this standardization gap between developed and developing countries.

In his speech Mr. Clovis Baptista, Executive Secretary of  CITEL underlined the great impact that the information society has on society. The information society responds to society’s needs and helps people build on progress, he said. Baptista also reported an increase in the number of available services within the Americas region. A universal and suitable infrastructure is one of the objectives necessary to accelerate the process of American integration he said.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson, thanked the Ambassador for hosting the event and  the cooperation of CITEL. He expressed his appreciation to countries in the Americas for their active support of ITU’s activities, especially its standardization work. He highlighted the importance of standards for international communications and global trade. Globalisation requires global standards, and a global standards body like ITU clearly has an increasing role to play, he said.

In his speech, Johnson also raised the serious problem of cost of participation, especially in meetings in Geneva, as well as the cost of membership, particularly for small start-up companies in developing countries. He said that there had been attempts to overcome these difficulties, and that the issues would be hot topics at the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08). Johnson said that he had long encouraged members to host meetings in the regions, and had recently established a fund to assist hosts with the cost of doing so, as well as for providing fellowships to attend the meetings. He also mentioned the invitation to hold an NGN Global Standards Initiative (GSI) meeting in the Americas region in September 2009. Moreover, he added that ITU-T has also been trialling new collaboration tools which will allow remote participation in ITU-T meetings.