ITU News

Tells you what's happening in Telecommunications around the world

中文  |  Español  |  Français  |  Русский  |  download pdf
                     

ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009: Special report: Reflecting new needs and realities
Joint Forum opening
photo credit: *
John Chambers
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cisco Systems
 
photo credit: *
Francis Gurry
Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization
 
photo credit: *
Efthimios Mitropoulos
Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization
 
photo credit: *
Francisco Ros Perán
Spain’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society
 
photo credit: *
Hans Vestberg
Incoming CEO of Ericsson
 
photo credit: *
Reza Jafari
Chairman of the ITU TELECOM Board and Chairman and CEO of e-Development International
 
image
 
“The power of public/private partnerships was highlighted through the success of Cisco’s Networking Academy in 165 countries. It has already trained 2.8 million students and has 750 000 currently enrolled.”
 

The Forum opened with an interactive session featuring Dr Touré; John Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cisco Systems; Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO); Francisco Ros Perán, Spain’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society, and Hans Vestberg, incoming CEO of Ericsson.

The session was moderated by Reza Jafari, Chairman of the ITU TELECOM Board and Chairman and CEO of e-Development International, who underlined the change to a more interactive format for the meeting, according to the wish of the Secretary-General. Framing the issues for debate, Mr Jafari said that “thanks to our exuberant industry, which is not only contributing to economic recovery but also helping development in general, we are seeing signs from different parts of the world that we are about to come out of the great recession of 2008 and the next step will be, hopefully, sustainable growth that ICT can help and support.”

Dr Touré, too, noted that the ICT sector has been very resilient, and that two-thirds of new jobs have been created in the sector over the past five years. “I am confident that this industry is not only outside the financial crisis, but it will lead the world out of the crisis,” he said.

“Thanks to our exuberant industry, which is not only contributing to economic recovery but also helping development in general, we are seeing signs from different parts of the world that we are about to come out of the great recession of 2008.”

His optimism was echoed by John Chambers, who spoke of the power of public-private partnerships, noting in particular the success of Cisco’s Networking Academy in 165 countries, which had already trained 2.8 million students and has 750 000 currently enrolled. The Academy aims to help bridge the digital divide by extending opportunities to students in developing countries and to those with disabilities. It also empowers women by supporting their professional development and encouraging gender equality within the ICT industry.

Mr Chambers said that one reason for his optimism is that groups who have traditionally not worked together are learning to do so. “If you look at the future of a country, public-private partnerships should be based on education, infrastructure, broadband, the ability to catch market transitions and supportive governments. All of these must work together in ways they have not done before,” Mr Chambers said. He cited the example of a public-private partnership in relief operations following the earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province in May 2008. Cisco, he said, provided USD 45 million in a three-year commitment to support reconstruction efforts. A Cisco team was in China for several weeks to learn how the company could best offer long-term rebuilding assistance. The company then signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government on working through public-private partnerships to help develop education and healthcare models for the 21st century. These models have been designed with the potential for replication in countries around the world.

Speaking of Spain’s experience during the financial crisis, Mr Ros Perán said “we have done some things right and some things wrong, like everybody else”. He explained that one mistake had been putting “too much emphasis on construction”. On the other hand, Spain had implemented strong policies over the last four to five years in favour of research and development, including in the area of ICT. “We no longer have to convince people that technology is important. This fact is now well perceived and rooted in many people’s minds. In addition, many companies are making good progress in developing technology,” Mr Ros Perán observed. He said that the plan for the ICT sector for 2005–2010 will have an accumulated budget of EUR 8 billion in government money allocated to the development of telecommunications, the information society and audiovisual technologies. This puts Spain in a stronger position to move out of the crisis, said Mr Ros Perán. Hans Vestberg focused on cybersecurity, as the number of ICT users continues to grow. “From a technology point of view we have a very important task, together with all stakeholders — namely governments, the public and private sectors, and vendors and service providers — to see that technology is enabled with security. Cooperation is needed in the whole ICT sector to enable that growth. But if we don’t take care of the technology and the security of that technology, of course we will not get that growth,” Mr Vestberg stressed. “I see great opportunity for continued work here, but remember one thing: what happened in the last decade is nothing compared to what will happen in the next decade,” he continued. “By then, we will probably have 3 billion broadband connections and 7 billion subscribers on mobile networks, and they will be accessing many applications,” noted Mr Vestberg. He said that all the panellists had a huge responsibility “to see that the platform and the social highway we are building together, actually works from a security point of view”.

“In 2008 alone, some 40 billion music files were peer-shared on the Internet illegally, representing a piracy rate of 95 per cent.”

Francis Gurry reminded the audience that today, content is as important as the conduits that carry it. ICT provide an unprecedented opportunity for distributing and sharing information, he said, but if that information is free, how can it be an economic generator? This, Mr Gurry said, was the central problem today. “For instance, in 2008, some 40 billion music files were peer-shared on the Internet illegally, representing a piracy rate of 95 per cent,” he noted. “So the real question is how are we going to finance culture and creativity in the 21st century and in the digital environment?” This is an extremely difficult question, because the current model of copyright is under severe stress. “Some of the approaches that are out there for dealing with this problem at the moment rely on affixing liability onto the consumer. I don’t think that will work. I don’t think we’ll solve this by putting teenagers in jail,” said Mr Gurry. Other approaches put liability onto distributors: the Internet service providers (ISP). “We have to bring the ISPs into the value chain of creative production in order to solve the problem,” he said. A partnership is needed between content providers and those who run the channels.

Mr Mitropoulos began by explaining that IMO is mainly concerned with regulating shipping from the point of view of safety, security and environmental impact. He highlighted IMO’s common interest with ITU, underlining that the two organizations had worked together to design and develop the global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS). He said the system combines terrestrial and satellite communication techniques that enable a ship to send out a call wherever it is in the world, so that assistance can be provided with the minimum delay.

Turning to the global economic downturn, Mr Mitropoulos said that “within this very serious current financial crisis, no sector will be left unscathed, and shipping, of course, will not be an exception.” He said that at the Maritime Cyprus 2009 conference, hosted by that country on 27–30 September 2009, experts from the market side of the shipping industry had come up with the forecast that, as far as shipping is concerned, the crisis will last for another two, or two-and-a half years. But meanwhile, he added, satellite communications and digital technologies open up possibilities for the shipping industry to improve its record in safety and security. On the issue of climate change, “we are determined to ensure that we play a role in the reduction or limitation of greenhouse-gas emissions from shipping operations. In this respect, the possibilities that open up from what ITU is doing — and what the private sector under the guidance of ITU is doing — must be utilized to the maximum extent, to the benefit of all,” Mr Mitropoulos stated.

 

*All photos are by P. Christin/ITU, D. Keller/ITU, V. Martin/ITU, and F. Rouzioux/ITU unless indicated otherwise

 

  Previous Printable version Top email to a friend Next © Copyright ITU News 2014
Disclaimer - Privacy policy