Ladies and gentlemen
Colleagues and friends
Habarry, bon jour, good morning… and welcome to this Regional ITU Consultation
on Conformity Assessment and Interoperability for the Africa Region.
I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Director General of the Kenyan
Communications Commission, Mr. Charles Njoroge and the Honourable Minister
Samuel Poghisio, the Minister for Information and Communications for hosting
this and the other ITU events this week.
Driven by the concerns of developing countries ITU has been very active in
developing a programme of activities that will create a more interoperable ICT
environment and ease the transition towards new technologies.
Key element in a standards developer’s portfolio are: testing specifications;
conformance testing to determine compliant products; and interoperability
testing amongst various manufacturers’ products implementing the standard(s).
ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), which is the pre-eminent
global telecommunication standards body dealing specifically with global
interoperability, has recently begun to implement these three elements to
contribute to networks and services interconnection and to develop a range of
standards that provide for conformity testing and interoperability.
This was prompted by a plea for help (mainly) from developing countries,
expressed in WTSA Resolution 76 in Johannesburg 2008, to redress the lack of
conformity and interoperability nationally and internationally.
Successful implementation of this programme is therefore a crucially important
step towards ensuring global ICT interoperability.
Defining more interfaces where interoperability can be tested increases
competition and reduces the chances of being locked in to a single product.
As we will hear today we have put in place a pilot version of a conformity
database which will record information provided by companies on conformity of
their products to ITU-T Recommendations.
The demand for a conformity database was simple: people want a database on the
ITU website where they can see what products have been successfully tested to
ITU-T Recommendations similarly to those already provided by a number of
Standards Development Organisations.
To ensure the credibility of the database, tests will be carried out in an
accredited laboratory: first, second or third party; or be accepted by an
accredited certification body. Companies will voluntarily input the data
directly into the database by submitting the relevant Supplier’s Declaration of
Conformity available on-line.
Just last week in Geneva ITU held our first Interop event… on IPTV.
Several IPTV manufacturers participated in conformity assessment and
interoperability testing to ITU IPTV standards to make sure all their devices
work seamlessly with one another.
Proprietary solutions may offer fast deployment in the short term - but in the
medium and longer term, buyers will be subject to vendor lock-in with costly
upgrades and reduced content and hardware choice. Industry consortia-based
'standards' are mostly region specific with little or no implementation.
The Interop event not only show cased interoperable products but proved ITU
global standards in this important field are ready to go, and in fact are
already being implemented.
In addition to the conformity database and Interop events a third action that
ITU is pursuing is the implementation of human resources capacity building
This event in the amazing city of Nairobi is the second such event… the first
was successfully held in Quito, Ecuador at the beginning of July and a third
one, for the Asia-Pacific region, will be held in Sydney mid September.
We are also working to assist in the establishment of test facilities in
developing countries. Discussions with the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization (UNIDO) have already begun and a pilot project has been conducted
We have begun work on the framework of a business plan for the long term
implementation of the actions and which will provide the environmental
background; the pros and cons of acting on Resolution 76; a road map for the
implementation of the actions; a budget; legal aspects; study group actions; and
partnerships for taking the work forward. The new World Telecommunication
Development Conference Resolution 47 reinforces this effort.
ITU is committed to working in consultation with all its membership and in
collaboration with other SDOs, forums and consortia on this important topic.
We have held discussions with ATIS, TIA, ITI and several Sector Members in the
USA about Resolution 76.
We have also visited the Interoperability Testing Lab of the University of New
Hampshire, a not-for profit organization that has a formidable reputation in the
testing field and which recently sent representatives to the ITU-T Study Group
15 meeting in June. Other visits are planned in the regions in order to map the
status and to have direct knowledge of the existing technical potentialities.
The aim is to explore the possibility to create a regional labs-grid for ITU-T
Conformity does not imply interoperability, but the chances of interoperability
are definitely higher if equipment has been shown to conform to a standard.
Pursuing activities that create better conformance and interoperability will
ensure more effective use of resources offered by modern ICTs and help towards
ITU’s mission to Connect the World.
I would like to thank you all for your participation, especially the chairman,
Mr Sherif Guinena, and the speakers. I am sure the dialogue over the next two
days will help considerably with the implementation of Resolution 76.
Thank you for your attention, I wish you a very productive and enjoyable event.