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Overview of 2007

ITU's mission is to enable the growth and development of telecommunications and information networks around the world, so that people everywhere can participate in the global information society. ICTs can generate economic growth, create jobs, sustain incomes, boost social and community development and build cultural identity. The ability to use ICTs is a key skill that now determines the employability and standard of living of a growing number of people.

ITU Takes the Initiative in an Industry in Transition

Faster & streamlined standards-setting process, with a fast-track approval process and free online publication of many standards and Recommendations.

Direct engagement with the private sector, to ensure that the work of ITU is relevant to the needs of a broader client base including operators, technology vendors and software developers, in addition to ITU's more traditional constituents including governments, policy-makers and regulators.

Leading role in WSIS implementation, with sole responsibility for implementation in two Action Lines - “Information and communication infrastructure” (Action Line C2) and “Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs” (Action Line C5).

Strong role in international regulatory affairs, through ITU's leading analysis and research publications, regulatory workshops and symposia on key issues, online portal and focused toolkits.

Strengthening of ITU's on-the-ground network and field capacity through the regional and area offices.

Enhancement of ITU's online presence, with a wealth of online resources and publications, new interactive portals, blogs, webcasts and online databases. ITU's website has been further enriched by the introduction of new online collaborative working methods, including wikis, blogs, newsletters and online access to many working documents and meetings.

Access to ICTs is often a precursor of access to knowledge, which, in turn, determines economic success.

ITU continues to work to mobilize the technical, financial and human resources needed to make the global information society a reality.

ITU has been helping the world communicate for nearly a century and a half. It represents the international forum for collaboration in allocating radio-frequency spectrum and setting communications standards. ITU's standards in telecommunications and radiocommunications provide the basis for the entire global communications framework, and will serve as the foundation for a new range of services in the migration to next-generation networks (NGN). As it redoubles its efforts to help develop an enabling environment through regulatory reforms and policy harmonization, one of the Union's top priorities is to assist in bridging the digital divide and reduce inequality in access to ICTs that will shape the future of tomorrow's knowledge economy.

In addition to its seven strategic goals, ITU's top priorities are to strengthen cybersecurity and emergency telecommunications.

The transformation of the industry by the driving forces of convergence and digitization poses new challenges for governments, regulators and operators alike. ITU is engaged in pioneering initiatives to ensure that its standards, policy analysis and technical assistance programmes remain relevant and respond to the needs of ITU's membership.

This year was both eventful and productive. The 2007 session of the Council conducted its business in a new spirit of cooperation, drawing on the good team spirit among elected officials, and achieved its work in record time. The session was extremely well-attended, in terms of numbers and level of representation. It was the first Council to feature a High-Level Segment attended by seven Ministers and three vice-Ministers, who presented their vision and experience of issues affecting the digital divide and cybersecurity. The Members of Council benefited from their insights. The Council Working Groups have all embarked on ambitious work programmes to fulfil their mandates.

In February, Dr Touré was invited to address private sector representatives and academia at the “UN meets Silicon Valley” conference, including representatives of the private sector, as well as representatives of Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Touré noted how innovation has transformed modern telecommunications, observing that the investment decisions taken today dictate the technologies of tomorrow.

ITU World Information Society

H.E. Dr Margarita Cedeño de FernándezThe ITU World Information Society Awards 2007 were won by H.E. Dr Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, First Lady of the Dominican Republic, for her work in establishing telecentres; Ms Mitchell Baker, on behalf of Mozilla Corporation of the United States, for its work in open source software; and Professor Mark Krivocheev of the Russian Federation for his lifetime's work on television imagery.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day proved an historic occasion and was graced by the presence of several former Secretaries-General. In keeping with the theme, “Connecting the Young”, the Secretary-General launched a campaign with H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa to support 250 new scholarships and 1 000 internship opportunities for young people in ICTs by 2010. ITU is stepping up outreach efforts to solicit sponsorship over the coming months.

Historic visit of UN

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-GeneralMr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-GeneralIn July, ITU was honoured by a visit by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It was the first occasion ITU has had the honour of a visit by the UN Secretary-General. Mr. Ban Ki-moon expressed his appreciation of ITU's vital work in overcoming the serious challenge of the digital divide, which, in his view, is hampering the smooth and balanced development of the international community. Mr. Ban Ki-moon drew attention to the ongoing reform process underway within the UN system to make it more efficient and effective, and acknowledged that ITU is very well-advanced in terms of reforms. He emphasized the important role ITU has to play in helping achieve the MDGs and in promoting cybersecurity and disaster relief, and specifically asked that ITU play a role in the global response to climate change. In response to this, ITU has initiated a project on ICTs and climate change.

ITU's work and vision are being spread by the elected officials though their missions to Member States and through a sharp increase in visits to ITU by Heads of State, CEOs, ministers, ambassadors and VIPs.



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Updated : 2008-04-07