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ITU Symposium on ICTs and the Environment & Climate Change
Accra, Ghana 4 July 2011
Excellency Vice President of the Republic of Ghana
Honourable Minister for Communications
Honourable Minister for Environment, Science and Technology,
Director General of the National Communications Authority, Ghana
Secretary-General African Telecommunications Union
Secretary-General African Broadcasting Union
Excellencies
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to th Sixth ITU Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change.

And it is a great honour for us to be joined at our opening by the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.

I would like to thank very much the Ministry of Communications of Ghana, and in particular the Honourable Minister of Communications for hosting this event, and the contribution of Ghana, and he personally, to the work of the ITU.

I also thank the Director General of the National Communications Authority, and the Minister of Environment, Science & Technology, for agreeing to Co-Chair the symposium.

This event is being sponsored by Ericsson, Research In Motion, and Microsoft, and again I would like to thank them for their generous support.

In addition to the participants in this room, I would like to welcome the people from around the world that are participating with us via the webcasting. A perfect example of how ICTs can contribute to reducing green house gas emissions.

This event follows on from the first very successful symposium we held in Kyoto in 2008, and the similar events held since then in London, Quito, Seoul and Cairo.

The symposium will build on the discussions held in those previous events but offers a special opportunity for a number of reasons.

It is also of course the first time in which the event takes place in Sub Saharan Africa.

The offer from the government of Ghana to host this event at this particular time, and venue, is very timely, for two reasons.

Firstly it will allow us to begin preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-17) will take place in Durban, South Africa, in November.

Secondly, because for the first time we will consider the broader issue of sustainable development, and possible input to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Distinguished colleagues

Over the next two days we will be focusing on topics including mitigation and adaptation to climate change, e-waste, disaster planning, emergency communications, methodologies for the environmental impact assessment of ICTs, monitoring climate change, and the challenges and opportunities in the transition to a green and resource efficient economy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, a world without ICTs is unthinkable. ICTs are integrated into almost all parts of the world society and economy. Yet while the increasingly widespread use of ICTs has changed people’s lives dramatically and boosted economic growth, ICTs themselves, due to this success, are a growing contributor to green house gas emissions. On the other hand they probably provide the most significant opportunity to reduce green house gas emissions in the major high emissions industries of energy generation, waste disposal, building and transport. This is a message we must carry to COP17.

We have at least two other opportunities to further develop our ideas. In September, Telecom Italia will host the first ‘ITU Green Standards Week’ in Rome, from 5 to 9 September, an event that will also feature some very high level members of the ICT community and governments from around the world.

Another opportunity is the ITU workshop on “Progressing the Climate Agenda through Green ICTs” in Seoul on 19 September 2011 immediately before the next meeting of ITU-T Study Group 5 which will be held there from 20-28 September 2011.

So let us make the most of this opportunity, with so many leading experts from around the world, and prepare for really bringing the message home to the negotiators in Durban, and it is only through the application of ICTs that the required reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved.

I wish you a very successful and enjoyable two days.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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