The special sessions on ITU’s work on emergency telecommunications took place on 16 September 2019 at ITU Headquarters.
The objective of the sessions was to showcase ITU's work on emergency telecommunications and its commitment to expand the work on disaster response by launching an initiative to create an internal roster of staff volunteers. Volunteers will be trained to respond to the increasing demand for support in restoring vital telecommunications services and links following a disaster.
The morning session targeted permanent missions in Geneva, ITU sector members, UN organizations and ITU staff and focused on ITU's work on emergency telecommunications, with an emphasis on its disaster management activities. It featured presentations by ITU and key partners, including the Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC) and partners from the satellite industry. Representatives from the private sector and UN organizations shared their work on disaster management and talked about the opportunities offered by today's technologies in saving lives. A representative from Mozambique shared his experience on the recent disaster caused by Hurricane Idai, showing the importance of the assistance provided by ITU and ETC in restoring their telecommunications’ infrastructure allowing them to better assist the affected communities.
The session also introduced the new ITU emergency telecommunications roster initiative which responds to ITU plans to expand its disaster response activities. The interactive session also offered participants an opportunity to share their experiences, challenges and needs in the field of disaster management.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the new roster initiative, which will help ITU to better respond to the increasing needs in disaster response. The session provided an overview of the work of first responders on the ground, the different telecommunication technologies used to restore telecommunication links in the aftermath of disasters, as well as the importance of the establishment and implementation of national frameworks to speed up customs procedures for clearance of telecommunications equipment. The session also highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and the need to strengthen coordination strategies to better assist governments and affected population when disaster strike.
A small exhibition space displayed current ITU satellite telecommunications equipment.