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ITU Secretary-General's Declaration at the
High Level Segment of ITU Council

Photo: ITU Secretary-General"... Climate change is another profound challenge that is at work, transforming the face of the world. Whatever the underlying cause, at current rates of extinction, scientists predict that two-thirds of all bird, mammal, butterfly, and plant species will be extinct by the end of this century. Not only the species, but the very survival of the world we live in and the planet itself, is now in jeopardy. Climate change is a global challenge that the world simply cannot afford to lose — not just for our sake, but for the sake of our children.

ITU is mainstreaming this major issue into its regular work programme. ITU is undertaking important work on how ICTs can help prevent and avert climate change. There is a strong role for ITU in standards for energy efficiency of the ICT equipment on which our digital economy depends. ITU has always taken the lead in setting high standards for telecommunications and ICTs, and this is another key area in which ITU can make a real difference.

The Resolution passed recently at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) in Johannesburg encourages ITU Member States to work towards reductions in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions arising from the use of ICTs, in line with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. ITU aims to achieve climate neutrality for its operations within three years, and ITU is at the forefront of this progress compared with many other international organizations.

In the global effort to combat climate change, ITU is continuing to help developing countries to mitigate the effects of climate change, including the use of emergency telecommunications and alerting systems for disaster relief. ITU, in collaboration with its membership, is identifying the necessary radio-frequency spectrum for climate monitoring and disaster prediction, detection and relief, including a promising cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in the field of remote-sensing applications.

ITU will continue to join efforts in the context of the UN system, in order to "deliver as one" with a principal focus on ICTs and climate change. In 2000, UN Members adopted the Millennium Declaration as a renewed commitment to human development, including the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, climate change impacts will tend to offset progress being made to meet the MDGs by 2015, so it is crucial to empower developing countries by facilitating their access to the ICTs needed for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

It is widely acknowledged that the issue of climate change is rapidly emerging as a global concern, which needs a global response. The High-Level Segment underlined that Member States are committed to combating climate change: ITU remains committed to combating climate change. ITU’s work is in line with the needs and priorities of our Member States in the vital importance of taking action to combat climate change."

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General

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Updated : 2011-07-26