ITU

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WTDC-14: Dubai Declaration

WTDC-14

Dubai Declaration


The World Telecommunication Development Conference (Dubai, 2014), which took place from 30 March to 10 April 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, under the theme "Broadband for sustainable development",

recognizing that

a)         universal and affordable access to telecommunications/ICTs is essential for the world's economic, social and cultural development, and contributes to building a global economy and information society;

b)         robust telecommunication/ICT infrastructure is considered to be an underpinning and enabling platform that should be universally available and accessible to all people to enhance a global economy and information society. High-speed communication networks directly promote innovation throughout economies as much as electricity and transport networks, among others;

c)         widespread conformance and interoperability of telecommunication/ICT equipment and systems through the implementation of relevant programmes, policies and decisions can increase market opportunities and reliability and encourage global integration and trade;

d)         broadband access technologies, broadband-enabled services and ICT applications offer new opportunities for interaction among people, for sharing the world's knowledge resources and expertise, for transforming peoples' lives and for contributing to inclusive and sustainable development across the world;

e)         opportunities provided by telecommunications/ICTs should be fully exploited, with the aim of ensuring equitable access to telecommunications/ICTs and innovations that foster sustainable socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, job creation, entrepreneurship and promoting digital inclusion and empowerment for all, particularly for women, youth, children, indigenous people and persons with disabilities, including age‑related disabilities;

f)          with the implementation of the five previous four-year action plans since 1994, the Connect the World initiative and follow-up on Action Lines C2, C5 and C6 subsequent to the World Summit on the Information Society, ITU‑D, together with partners and other stakeholders, has made significant progress in enhancing universal access and contributing to the emerging global economy and information society;

g)         despite all the progress made during past years, the digital divide still remains, and is compounded by disparities in access, use and skills between and within countries, in particular between urban and rural areas, as well as in the availability of accessible and affordable telecommunications/ICTs, particularly for women, youth, children, indigenous people and persons with disabilities, including age‑related disabilities;

h)         developing telecommunication/ICT infrastructure in rural and remote areas and ensuring the availability of affordable and accessible ICTs is a key priority for many countries, for which effective, innovative and affordable solutions need to be identified;

i)          widespread access to and accessibility of telecommunication/ICT applications and services provide new socio-economic opportunities for all people. In particular, governments, in collaboration with other stakeholders, should strive to provide ICT-based applications and services to people. ranging from e‑government, e‑health and e‑education to e‑waste management, which improve transparency, accountability, optimum utilization of resources and access to and use of public services;

j)          the growing use of telecommunication/ICT applications provides innovative and beneficial services for users, but also increases the challenge of building confidence and trust in the availability, reliability, security and use of telecommunications/ICTs, bearing in mind the ethical dimension of the information society;

k)         all stakeholders play an important role for sustainable development, inter alia, through innovation and investment,

therefore declares that

1          promoting and making available, affordable and accessible broadband infrastructure, with appropriate policy and strategy, is a fundamental enabling platform that fosters innovation and drives the development of national and global economies and the information society;

2          access to affordable, reliable and secure telecommunication/ICT networks, including broadband, and to related services and applications can facilitate economic, social and cultural development and implement digital inclusion through these means;

3          with convergence, policy-makers and regulators should continue to promote widespread, affordable access to telecommunications/ICTs, including Internet access, through fair, transparent, stable, predictable and non-discriminatory enabling policy, legal and regulatory environments, including common approaches to conformance and interoperability that promote competition, increase consumer choices, foster continued technological and service innovation and provide investment incentives at national, regional and international levels;

4          increased participation of developing countries in ITU activities to bridge the standardization gap is needed to ensure that they experience the economic benefits associated with technological development, and to better reflect the requirements and interests of developing countries in this area;

5          given the increasing demands for limited radio-frequency spectrum and satellite-orbit resources, effective and efficient spectrum management, including measures for avoiding harmful interference, and the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting are critical issues for policy-makers, regulators, operators, broadcasters and other parties;

6          building widespread telecommunication/ICT literacy as well as human and institutional capacity in the development and use of telecommunication/ICT networks, applications and services are key to enable people to access and contribute to information, ideas and knowledge. ICT-based life skills should be further strengthened not only through vocational and education training, including training in local languages, but also through international ICT volunteer programmes or initiatives. It is very important to take advantage of all facilities, such as schools, libraries, content providers, multipurpose community centres and public access points, in close partnership with all stakeholders. The development of multilingual digital content for software-based applications and the creation of local content as well as content in local languages by stakeholders will help foster an inclusive information society;

7          new and innovative opportunities that the telecommunication/ICT ecosystem can bring to development should empower youth for employment or self-employment;

8          transparent and collaborative collection and dissemination of quality indicators and statistics that measure and provide comparative analysis of advancements in the use and adoption of ICTs continue to be a major factor for supporting socio-economic growth. These indicators and their analysis provide governments and stakeholders with a mechanism to better understand key drivers of telecommunication/ICT adoption and assist in ongoing national policy formulation. They also serve to monitor the digital divide as well as progress towards achievement of internationally agreed goals in the post-2015 development agenda;

9          the ITU‑D study groups should continue to contribute towards knowledge sharing and capacity building to be made available to the international community. In support of this objective, cooperation among the three ITU Sectors and with other organizations and expert groups should be further enhanced;

10        building confidence, trust and security in the use of telecommunications/ICTs is a priority, with a need for international cooperation and coordination between governments, relevant organizations, private companies and entities in building capacity and exchanging best practices for the development of related public policies and legal, regulatory and technical measures that address, inter alia, personal data protection and child online protection. Stakeholders should work together to ensure the reliability and security of ICT networks and services;

11        telecommunications/ICTs play a critical role in disaster risk reduction, prediction, preparedness, mitigation and response. It is important for Member States to develop telecommunication/ICT disaster preparedness plans and strategies, taking account of the need for resilient and redundant infrastructures and systems;

12        ITU should support Member States in building capacity regarding the use of telecommunications/ICTs in preparing for and responding to disasters, including in the area of early warning and disaster preparedness plans, and in encouraging regional and international cooperation, collaboration and information sharing;

13        telecommunications/ICTs can make a substantial contribution to monitoring, predicting, mitigating and adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. All countries, particularly small island developing states (SIDSs), least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and low-lying coastal countries, which are vulnerable to global climate change and rising sea levels, should have means to use telecommunications/ICTs to mitigate and address the effects of climate change, exploring all opportunities provided by telecommunications/ICTs in reducing the negative impact of human activities on the environment;

14        the LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and countries with economies in transition face the most challenges in the development and use of telecommunications/ICTs. The World Telecommunication Development Conference (Dubai, 2014) reaffirms the ITU‑D global commitment to address the special telecommunication/ICT needs of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS;

15        the regions have articulated their specific priorities in a set of regional Initiatives, which can be found in the Dubai Action Plan adopted by this conference. The implementation of these regional initiatives deserve high priority on the part of ITU‑D and development partners;

16        public-private-partnerships (PPP) need to be further strengthened in order to explore and further develop new and innovative ways of investing and financing development initiatives and projects, in close collaboration and partnership with all parties from international to regional and national financing and investment institutions;

17        the Dubai Action Plan resulting from this conference is a comprehensive package that promotes the equitable, affordable, inclusive and sustainable development of telecommunication/ICT networks, applications and services. It consists of a set of five strategic objectives supported by 15 outputs;

18        through the actions taken by its global membership to implement the Dubai Action Plan, the ITU Development Sector will impact the progress of telecommunications/ICTs in the world. ITU‑D must therefore focus its resources to address the significant disparity in access to telecommunications/ICTs, and particularly broadband, experienced by developing countries, including LDCs, with clarity and deliberation;

19        accordingly, we, the delegates of WTDC-14, declare our commitment to accelerate the expansion and use of telecommunication/ICT infrastructure, services and applications, and in particular broadband, as these are powerful tools for economic growth and innovation;

20        the World Telecommunication Development Conference (Dubai, 2014) calls upon ITU Member States, Sector Members, Associates, Academia and all other partners and stakeholders to contribute towards the successful implementation of the Dubai Action Plan.