Distinguished colleagues and friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all I would like to thank Bakrie Telekom for inviting me to this important conference.
Dr. (Idris F.) Sulaiman has highlighted ITU’s role in promoting the vital function that ICTs can play in addressing climate in general and at the upcoming COP-17 event in Durban, South Africa. I thank him for this.
It’s true that at the national level such recognition will become imperative and this is something that we have been working on since 2007.
We know very well that ICT ministries are aware of the issue… but often environment ministries are not and this a major challenge.
I am very glad to see that Indonesia is an exception and am very happy to see that both HE Tifatul Sembiring, Minister of Communications and Informatics and HE Gusti Muhammad Hatta are with us today.
In a region such as this talk of ICTs has to be tempered with the reality of the situation on the ground.
While mobile penetration is high, Internet penetration is low. In the Asia Pacific region there are only 5.1 fixed broadband users per 100 people compared to Europe where 23.8 per 100 are broadband users.
In terms of climate change WWF estimates show that effects – increase in precipitation, temperatures – will continue over the upcoming years, affecting the availability of water resources, the rise in sea levels, as well as adverse effects on biodiversity particularly in terms of marine life and ultimately adverse effects on human health.
And of course in this region islands are particularly vulnerable.
Predictions show that for the Pacific island states typhoon/hurricane damage will increase by 10-26% for each 1 degree warming of sea
Developing countries will clearly feel the effects of climate change more than many, regardless of whether they are a major source of emissions or not.
We have to be realistic about what can be achieved and how to prioritize… what are the low hanging fruit?
We believe that ICT solutions can enable the transformation of key sectors of the economy, resulting in emissions reduction of at least 30 per cent by 2020.
The ICT sector now has a fairly widely acknowledged role to play in improving energy efficiency in several sectors.
But the pursuit of more energy efficient ICTs is essential if we are to achieve our goal of a cleaner, more sustainable economy.
Unfortunately, estimates of how much ICTs can reduce global emissions, and estimates of the emissions from the ICT sector itself, vary widely due to the different methodologies being applied.
ITU took on this challenge. It has been a difficult task but I am pleased to say the first set of standard methodologies to assess the impact of ICTs on the environment has now been consented (first stage of approval in ITU parlance).
In this challenge, as with many others, ITU has worked in close collaboration with many other organizations including the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI); The European Commission; ISO; IEC; ETSI and ATIS.
These internationally agreed methodologies will be an important precursor to having Green ICTs enshrined in reliable national policies.
Think locally act globally…
Another example of where this epithet can be applied is in the reduction of electronic waste, also known as e-waste.
ITU is thus working with its membership and others including United Nations University, UNEP, the Basel Convention, CEDARE and StEP on this issue, and will launch a global survey assessing the topic in November.
ITU’s standardization of a universal mobile device charger, will also be a great step towards waste reduction and is leading the way towards other innovations… for example a universal battery.
We have established a connection with the climate change agenda – identifying goals, commitments and modalities to be developed and presented by the ICT sector at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-17), but also with the broader issue of sustainable development, identifying also possible recommendations from our sector to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD 2012 or Rio+20), the other major international summit to be held during the upcoming months on the issue of environmental protection.
To this end, the recently formed Coalition on ICTs and Climate Change is an initiative that aims at bringing together in an informal group a selection of the key actors working on the field of ICTs and climate change.
Initiated by ITU and GeSI the coalition will provide an informal forum for participants to share information on their activities and eventually prepare a joint package of activities for future global events (such as COP17 or Rio+20), showcasing success stories, tools and innovations from the ICT sector and from each participant organization.
The challenge for Indonesia and other developing countries is to create appropriate and effective adaptation strategies to address climate change and its impacts by building resilience and resistance.
Action needs to take place at all levels; from international, to national, to local and community-based efforts.
Again think locally act globally…
Because climate change will compound environmental and socio-economic problems, it is critical that all sustainable development policies and initiatives include climate change adaptation and resilience building.
Climate change is here, the world is changing and we have a responsibility to act now.
Just before I conclude I would just like to highlight an event that many of you may be interested in attending next year in May in Montreal, Canada. It is ITU’s sixth Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change.
Let┤s work together at events like this and others to build solutions that can drive the transformation needed toward a greener and fairer model of development.
Bridging the digital divide and saving the planet – it’s a win win scenario.
A scenario in which ICTs and ITU have a key role to play.