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LEADING BY EXAMPLE

Message from ITU Secretary-General to the
2011 Climate Change Conference

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In the 21st century, climate change and environmental sustainability are two of the key challenges facing our global community. They affect every single country worldwide, regardless of geographical location or social and economic context.

These challenges are also all-encompassing because addressing them implies completely transforming the way we live, work, travel and do business. It implies shifting our model of development to a greener, fairer and more sustainable paradigm, to ensure our survival as a species. To achieve this transformation we will need to draw on all our knowledge and understanding, and mobilize the political will to turn discussions and negotiations into agreements and actions.

Unsustainable development is already affecting food production, water supply, disease proliferation and other important areas.

The risks of inaction are real, and we do not have time to waste.

In this context, information and communication technologies (ICT) have a key role in driving the urgently needed transformation. Today there is no other solution offering such great potential to “decarbonize” our economy, make our use of natural resources more efficient or distribute information in real time to improve effectiveness. With ICT increasingly integrated into every aspect of the modern world, they become a positive force for change and a crucial element in our everyday lives.

The ICT sector is leading by example in this transformation. In the past few years ICT networks, services and applications have been redesigned to embrace improved energy efficiency criteria, reducing the environmental footprint of the ICT sector as a whole. At the same time the ICT sector is greening other sectors of the economy, such as transport and energy, contributing to a significant abatement of greenhouse gas emissions. These are initiatives in which ITU is playing a pivotal role.

The world will have two crucial opportunities over the coming months to move the sustainable agenda forward: the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011, and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. Although the outcomes of these conferences are difficult to predict, one thing is very clear: business as usual is no longer an option if we want to ensure the future livelihood of our planet. The future demands a shift towards a greener and more sustainable model of development — a shift that will mean leveraging the full potential of ICT.

ITU’s message to these conferences is simple: ICT are part of the solution, a solution that can move the agenda forward. Let us ensure that technology, innovation and information systems will be at the forefront of our strategies to address climate change.

The challenges are enormous, but so too are the opportunities.

By working together we can advance the implementation of new solutions for a better future.

Dr. Hamadoun Touré
ITU Secretary-General









 


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Updated : 2011-11-25