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The Telecommunication Development Sector mission

The Telecommunication Development Sector mission

The mission of the Telecommunication Development Sector, as set out in the Constitution and the Convention, encompasses the Unionís dual responsibility as a United Nations specialized agency and executing agency for implementing projects under the United Nations development system or other funding arrangements, so as to facilitate and enhance telecommunication development by offering, organizing and coordinating technical cooperation and assistance activities.

The work of ITU-D will reflect the various resolutions of the world telecommunication development conference. It will place emphasis on gender balance in its programmes and will reflect the needs of other aspects of global society such as youth and the needs of indigenous peoples. Emergency telecommunications is another area where renewed efforts are required. Collaboration with the private sector should be more clearly defined and expanded so as to reflect the changing roles of public and private entities in the telecommunication sector. The "Year 2000" problem should be urgently addressed.

ITU-D should also use the mechanisms for advancing Sector goals included in Opinion B of the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva, 1998) and the opportunities provided by the ITU programme funded by the surplus funds from TELECOM exhibitions.

In fulfilling its mission, ITU-D will cover the five major areas of telecommunication development: telecommunication sector reform, technologies, management, finance and human resources. It is supported by the four main modes of action by which the Sector carries out its work: direct assistance (including project execution), resource development and mobilization, partnerships and information sharing, which are reflected in the organizational structure of BDT.

The Telecommunication Development Sector environment

The telecommunication development environment is characterized by the following features:

The restructuring and liberalization of the telecommunication sector at the national and international level, and the three agreements on basic telecommunications services, financial services and information technology products concluded through the World Trade Organization, have increasing consequences for the provision of international and national telecommunication services. Competition is rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception.
The above factors are straining the accounting rate system beyond its limits, calling for a rapid revision of accounting rates and causing major changes in traditional income flows which are of critical importance to certain countries.
While the development gap has narrowed slightly in terms of access to basic telephone services, it is widening at a fast rate for advanced telecommunication services and access to information.
However, the emergence of a global information society is creating new opportunities to close the gap. Political, technical and cultural factors are combining to promote these opportunities.
The rapid development of telecommunications in some countries is associated with general economic growth, particularly where some form of restructuring, liberalization and competition is introduced; however, other countries witness modest and uneven progress.
Many different players, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are invited to play a more important role.
Business practices, including development activities, are being revolutionized by information and communication technologies. This can be expected to have a significant impact on telecommunication development activities such as planning and training.
Technology-based convergence of telecommunications, informatics and mass media offers new opportunities for cooperation between the formerly different parts of the telecommunication sector.
Due to increased emphasis on policy and regulatory frameworks that create open markets and encourage private investment, both domestic and foreign, development programmes rely less on technical assistance and more on partnerships and trade agreements. Private capital flows in several countries now exceed official development aid resources, but in others concessional finance is required to meet development needs.
Limited funds available to ITU, as compared with developing country needs, require ITU to play a catalytic development role. This envisioned catalytic role of ITU is developed further below.


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Updated : 2004-01-14