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ITU Council addresses global issues

ICTs proposed as tools to combat climate change

Geneva, 3 November 2009 — ITU’s governing body, the Council comprising of 46 Member States, ended its annual session today. The Council reviewed and approved ITU’s biennial budget for 2010-2011 and focused on issues related to implementing the Union’s strategic plan. The Council was chaired by Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Member of Parliament and Minister of Communications of Ghana.

Addressing global challenges

In his State of the Union address, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré stated, "In the key areas of climate change, cybersecurity, and the financial crisis, ICTs are now clearly recognized as being part of the solution not part of the problem. Climate change is the biggest issue of our time, and we must do everything in our power to address it. ITU has an important role to play in the lead up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December. As the single most powerful tool at our disposal to combat climate change, the Copenhagen Agreement must include ICTs as part of the solution."

Councillors addressed the pressing issues of climate change and environmental protection as one of ITU’s top priorities. ITU Deputy Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who chairs a taskforce on Climate Change and Emergency Telecommunications, said that ICTs have a major role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all industry sectors. ITU Council agreed to transmit a message to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen requesting inclusion in the agreement of the role of ICTs in mitigating and adapting the effects of climate change.

In keeping with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint, ITU Council worked as far as possible in a paperless environment, resulting in a decrease of paper usage by 766 kilogrammes. This equates to a saving of almost one and a half tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions — equivalent to driving a typical family vehicle for almost four months.

Internet-related issues

Council adopted a resolution on the role of the dedicated group on international Internet-related public policy issues, and Member States recognized the scope of work of ITU in this domain. The Secretary-General was instructed to provide the necessary support to ensure that the Dedicated Group on international Internet-related public policy issues carries out its work as an integral part of the follow up activities of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Child Online Protection

Council adopted a resolution on Child Online Protection requesting the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps to play a facilitating role in coordinating international public policy issues and in particular on child online protection. The Secretary General will liaise with other UN agencies and entities involved in child online protection. A Council group was created including Member States and Sector Members which will report back to next year’s Council.

IPv6

The Director of ITU’s Standardization Bureau (TSB) reported that promoting the use of Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) was needed to overcome the impending dearth of Internet addresses in IPv4 and avoid the inequalities in allocating address space, particularly in developing countries. The recommendation to establish a joint ITU-T and ITU-D group to further study the best way to achieve this goal in cooperation with other entities was agreed.

Conformity and Interoperability

Council gave the go ahead to the recommendations to implement measures that will give purchasers of ICT equipment a much clearer picture of their ability to interoperate with other ICT devices. A key component of this new conformity and interoperability programme will be a global database that will log products declaring conformity to ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations).

The lack of conformity and interoperability of ICT equipment is a major concern, especially in developing countries. Addressing interoperability is one of the founding principles of ITU, and the new programme seeks to renew confidence in the market.

The new ITU programme will also focus on skills training and the development of regional testing centres for developing countries. It will be voluntary and open to ITU members and non-members alike.

International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs)

ITU Council called for a World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) to be convened in Geneva in 2012 to review and revise the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). The secretariat introduced the Report of the Expert Group on review of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).  This had been mandated by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya in 2006 to review the treaties dealing with various issues related to international telecommunications.

Saudi Arabia contributes to connecting schools

During the Council meeting, a ceremony was held at which Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Fareed Khashoggi signed an agreement to provide financial contribution to help launch ITU’s ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ initiative. The Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid explained that the contribution of CHF 100 000 would go towards supporting developing and least developed countries.

Major ITU events in 2010

The Council took up preparations for two major events next year. The World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) will be held 24 May – 4 June 2010 in Hyderabad, India. The event comes at the half way point towards the 2015 target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) objectives. The other major event is the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference that will take place in Veracruz, Mexico in October 2010. It will map the future strategy of the Union over the following four years. The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day will be marked on 17 May 2010 in Shanghai at the World Expo.

ITU Council 2010

The 2010 session of the Council will open in Geneva for a period of eight working days from 13-22 April 2010. Council-2009 was attended by 301 participants representing 46 Member States of Council, 36 Member State Observers, and 9 Sector Member Observers

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5046
Mobile: +41 79 249 4861
E-mail:
sanjay.acharyaitu.int
 

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Updated : 2009-11-03