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Europe Region meeting defines key ICT development priorities

E-accessibility, transition to digital broadcasting and e-applications are main objectives

Geneva, 10 December, 2009 — The Europe Regional Preparatory Meeting for the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2010 (WTDC-10) concluded on Thursday 3 December in Andorra La Vella with delegates reaching consensus on regional strategies to foster the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The agreed strategies and priorities will serve as inputs to next year’s WTDC.

The meeting was opened by the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid. The Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, Houlin Zhao, and Andorra’s Minister of Territorial Planning, Environment and Agriculture, Vicenš Alay Ferrer, also gave opening remarks. Jaume Salvat Font, CEO of Andorra Telecom, was nominated as the Chairman of the RPM.

Addressing delegates, ITU Deputy Secretary-General Houlin Zhao noted ITU’s increasing emphasis on action to help combat climate change, such as the development of standards to improve the energy efficiency of ICT technologies, and the coordination of essential radio-frequency spectrum for climate monitoring and disaster prediction and relief.

BDT Director Sami Al Basheer commended the influence and leadership of the Europe region in ICTs and urged all present to establish firm priorities: "I hope that you will use this opportunity to identify and adopt a list of needs and priorities for this region, and even go beyond that to look at global issues that may help shape the future ICT landscape, and which can help the world develop and reduce poverty." He went on to highlight ITU’s activities in the region, such as work on the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, on emergency telecommunications and climate change, and on cybersecurity, and spoke appreciatively of projects carried out with partners from the Europe region.

Minister Alay Ferrer highlighted the need for European countries to play an active role in preparations for WTDC-10, and spoke of the importance of ICTs for job creation and for enhancing the quality of life of citizens in countries around the world.

Following a review of the 2006 WTDC Doha Action Plan, the meeting set priorities for future development. For the first time, Europe proposed a set of key regional initiatives:

  • e-accessibility for people with disabilities;
  • the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting; and
  • e-applications, including e-health.
  • The meeting also endorsed a proposal to consolidate and cluster BDT activities so as to allocate resources in a more efficient way.

    In conjunction with the RPM, ITU released a new report profiling the European region: Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009: Europe www.itu.int/publ/D-IND-RPM.EUR-2009/en, which showed that the European market, with around ten per cent of the global population, accounts for more than 18 per cent of the world’s mobile cellular subscriptions, 21 per cent of fixed telephone lines, 22 per cent of Internet users and 31 per cent of both fixed broadband subscribers and mobile broadband subscriptions. In the ITU’s latest ICT Development Index (IDI) www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/publications/idi/2009/index.html five out of the top six most advanced countries for ICT access are European.

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    Updated : 2009-12-10