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ITU leads effort to rebuild Haiti’s telecommunication infrastructure
 
 
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Photo credit: © ITU/C. Zavazava
From left to right: Jacques Gabriel, Haiti’s Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications; Senator Maxine McClean, Barbados’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; and Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU

An international effort led by ITU is under way to speed up the reconstruction of Haiti’s telecommunication and ICT infrastructure destroyed in the earthquake of 12 January 2010.

During a high-level Round Table that took place on 29–30 June 2010 in Needham’s Point, Barbados, strong commitment was expressed to work with ITU. Participants pledged support, both financial and in kind, to a Trust Fund for Haiti to be set up within ITU.

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU recalled the Union’s immediate response in joining international efforts to assist Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, especially in re-establishing basic communication links to coordinate search and rescue operations.

“Let’s do everything we can to ensure that Haiti gets state-of-the-art 21st century infrastructure, instead of simply replacing outdated 20th century equipment. And let’s build in resilient features which will help to reduce network vulnerability in the future. Let’s make sure that Haiti gets not just basic infrastructure but broadband infrastructure, giving the country communications networks which are worthy of such an indomitable nation, Dr Touré said.

Haiti identified 40 projects as a priority in the reconstruction of its telecommunication and ICT sector. These range from infrastructure development and emergency telecommunications to ICT applications and services and the establishment of appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks.

The Round Table was opened by Dr Touré; Jacques Gabriel, Haiti’s Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications; and Senator Maxine McClean, Barbados’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Participants included representatives from ITU Member States, United Nations agencies, the private sector and civil society.

Senator McClean reaffirmed the support of Barbados for the reconstruction process of Haiti and ITU’s work. The Minister of Haiti thanked ITU for the overwhelming support provided to his country in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. He said that he looked forward to continued support from ITU during the reconstruction phase and referred to the Barbados Round Table as testimony of such cooperation and commitment.

 

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