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Opening of Study Group 5 (Environment and Climate Change) WP 3
Geneva, Switzerland 19 January 2010
Since we are still in January let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year.

The start of a new year is always a good time for review of what we have achieved.

ITU’s activity on climate change started with the publication of our Technology Watch Report on ICTs and climate change in 2007.

This was very well received by membership and resulted in two symposia in Kyoto and London in 2008 where the need for a common methodology for estimating the impact of ICTs on climate change became apparent.

As a result TSAG set up of the Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change to look at this in July 2008.

In 2008 ITU also initiated the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and organized a workshop on the subject at the IGF in Hyderabad, and repeated it in Sharm El Sheikh last year.

The ITU Council in 2008 held a high level session on the subject and the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly adopted the first ITU Resolution on the subject (WTSA-08 Res 68)

Last year the WSIS Forum organized by ITU had a session on the subject, and the World Telecommunication Policy Forum adopted an Opinion on Environment and Climate Change in particular addressing the concerns of many developing countries about dumping and recycling e-waste.

The Focus Group had participation of 20 other organizations and presented its report to TSAG in April 2009. As a result TSAG established a new SG5 naming it “Environment and Climate Change” including the issue of recycling. In its turn SG5 established this Working Party.

We held another symposium in Quito, Equator which for the first time linked ICTs and climate change with bridging the digital divide and adopted a conclusion.

In September ITU with the help of Korea held the first fully virtual symposium on ICT and Climate Change with speakers and moderators participating remotely from 12 different countries and over 600 participants following remotely from around the worlds and interacting with speakers.

Also in September was a joint ITU/WMO Seminar on the role of ICTs, and satellites in particular, in monitoring climate change and detecting and responding to natural disasters caused by climate change.

ITU became active in the UNFCCC preparatory meetings for COP15 and submitted two documents on the role of ICTs.

At Telecom World we held a session on ICT and Climate Change where the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon stated that "ICTs are vital to confronting one of the biggest problems we face as a planet: the threat of climate change.

At COP15 we held day long sessions every day except the Sunday on ICTs and Climate Change and side events with WIPO and WMO which attracted a lot of participants. We spoke to many delegations including Heads of States.

Although COP15 was disappointing in many ways at least it has raised the awareness of the problem we face and the role ICTs can play.

Subsequently we have seen many new initiatives from the ICT sector. I am pleased to welcome for the first time Digital Europe and Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC) to this meeting as well as GeSI (Global e-Sustainability Initiative) and ETSI.

Global standards can play a key role in shaping new energy efficient technologies and thereby limit the carbon footprint of the ICT sector - smart grids, smart buildings, efficient transport systems, reduced travel etc.

The last SG5 meeting consented the draft Recommendation L.1000 on an energy efficient universal charger for mobile phones with potential savings of around 13.6 million tones of CO2, and up to 82,000 of dumped chargers, a year. This has generated considerable interest.

Our colleagues in UNFCCC are particularly interested in our work on methodologies, which has great potential for increasing investment in ICTs in developing countries.

Many organizations, forums, consortia and regional and national standardisation bodies are now working on ICT and climate change issues. Collaboration between all these efforts is vital for efficient and consistent progress of this urgent work. I believe that ITU, as an impartial, transparent, and inclusive international organisation with a membership of 191 governments and over 700 private sector members, can play a major role in coordinating this effort. We welcome all these bodies to join us in this group to further this global effort.

ITU’s activity in COP-15 in Copenhagen is given in more detail in TD 348(GEN/5).

I wish you a very successful meeting and a very successful 2010.


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Updated : 2010-02-24