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Harnessing ICTs to save lives: emergency
telecommunications in disaster management

ITU’s Second Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications opens in Kuwait City

Kuwait City, 26 January 2016 – The Second Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications: Saving Lives opened today in Kuwait City, welcoming leaders from government, business, academia, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations family.

The Forum provides an opportunity for policy makers and other participants to debate and adopt concrete strategies on how information and communication technologies can help implement the Sendai Declaration and Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and mitigate the effects of climate change in line with the Paris Agreement, adopted by the climate change conference in December 2015.

“This Forum is all about bringing thought-leaders under one roof to find a way of mobilizing new technologies to not only save lives, but improve people’s lives,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU’s vision to provide disaster-affected communities, first responders, governments, and entities involved in disaster management with appropriate, timely and reliable telecommunications resources will continue to grow.”

Organized by ITU, the UN specialized agency for telecommunications and ICTs, the event is hosted by the Government of Kuwait and brings together delegates from all over the world, ranging from government ministers and ICT regulators to national disaster management stakeholders, researchers, private sector companies, the UN and NGOs.

“The State of Kuwait is very proud to host this important event,” said Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water of Kuwait. “The United Nations Humanitarian Leadership Award was presented to the Amir of Kuwait in 2014 in recognition of the role of Kuwait in humanitarian actions, and I am very pleased that GET-2016 takes place during the 10th anniversary of our Amir’s coronation.”

GET-2016 will feature a wide range of discussions focusing on trends and emerging technological innovations, financing mechanisms, case studies, challenges in deploying telecommunications/ICT for disaster response, climate change issues and the role of the private sector and other non-state stakeholders.

“This three-day event provides a unique opportunity to explore the role of telecommunications/ICT in mitigating and responding to disasters,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “During this Forum, we want to launch concrete programmes that will change the way telecommunications/ICT resources are deployed and used for disaster management, especially during the response phase.”

This morning’s opening ceremony was followed by a Ministerial Roundtable on better preparedness and effective response for sustainable development, and a Leaders’ Dialogue on the topic of technology, regulatory and operational issues.

A series of exhibits featuring solutions and the effective use of ICT in emergencies was unveiled during a special ceremony.

The official opening was preceded, on 25 January, by two pre-events focusing on the Tampere Convention and the role of ICTs in Disaster Risk Reduction respectively.

Watch live and archived webcasts of key sessions here.

Follow the event on Twitter at: #ITUGET2016

Visit the GET-2016 Newsroom here.

For more information, please contact:

Onsite in Kuwait: At ITU Geneva headquarters:
Monica Albertini
Communication Officer, BDT
tel +41 79 808 6065
tel  monica.albertini@itu.int  
Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
tel +41 22 730 6135
tel +41 79 599 1439
tel sarah.parkes@itu.int 


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