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Editorial
October 2009: A busy month for the ICT world
Dr Hamadoun Touré
photo credit: ITU/J.M. Ferré
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General

October was a very busy month for ITU and for the information and communication technologies (ICT) industry at large. ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 and this year’s session of our governing body, the Council, were held almost back-to-back. This issue of ITU News is mainly devoted to those two events.

ITU TELECOM WORLD is the most important global event for the ICT industry, where leaders from the private and public sectors come together to forge partnerships to help connect the world. Throughout ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009, I had the honour and pleasure of meeting participants from government and from all walks of the ICT industry and of welcoming United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and heads of other UN agencies.

A tour through the exhibition halls confirmed that rapid innovation continues, despite the economic downturn. I was inspired with confidence that many people around the world are committed to transforming lives through the power of ICT. This message was clear from the prominent political leaders who attended, including Heads of State and Government, industry leaders and heads of international agencies — as well as young people. They all recognize that ICT are vital in addressing every one of the global issues faced today: from the financial crisis to climate change, cybersecurity, emergency communications and creating new jobs.

The success of ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 was followed by another: the 64th session of the ITU Council. It had a very heavy agenda. But I am pleased to say that work was completed on schedule, and with many decisions taken on issues of strategic importance to the Union.

Among those key decisions, the Council approved ITU’s biennial budget for 2010–2011 in record time. It created a working group to develop Strategic and Financial Plans ahead of the Plenipotentiary Conference in October next year. It adopted a resolution concerning international Internet-related public policy issues, and established a working group to look at ITU’s role in creating a safer Internet environment for children. As a father and grandfather, I am particularly pleased by the recognition of that very serious issue.

The Council also approved a resolution highlighting the important role of ICT in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. In line with the resolution, I call on our members to make proposals aimed at having this role recognized in any agreement reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Just before the Council session began, ITU approved a standard for a universal charger for mobile phones. It enables the same device to be used with all future handsets, regardless of make. As well as dramatically cutting the number of chargers produced, the new standard reduces the energy consumed while charging. ITU is proud to have taken the lead in finding a solution that will not only bring more convenience for all mobile users, but will also contribute to mitigating climate change.

 

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