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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Priority Areas

Priority areas

It is of critical importance to define the priority areas for telecommunication development in LDCs. This is where the activities of BDT and its development partners should be focused during the cycle 2007-2010. If all stakeholders adequately address these issues, it is hoped that the major bottlenecks to development will be removed and the countries will be geared to high growth of their networks. A general programme of action is proposed below in the form of new priority areas.

ICT Training in a multipurpose community telecentre established by ITU in rural Bhutan. Source: ITU

a) Universal Access: To promote universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable access to ICTs for all people in both underserved rural and urban areas, in order to bridge the digital divide and thereby create digital opportunities for all to benefit from the potential offered by ICTs for social and economic development. Assistance will be provided to countries in establishing national mechanisms to achieve universal access in both underserved rural and urban areas. It is also important to promote teleworking so as to allow citizens in LDCs and SIDS to live in their societies and work anywhere. The basic pillars of universal access in LDCs and SIDS should include:
  • rural telecommunication development;
  • development of appropriate infrastructure and introduction of new technologies and services;
  • ICT policies and strategies;
  • human resource development and training to increase the capacity of LDCs and SIDS to innovate and to participate fully in, and contribute to, the information society

 A building destroyed by war. Source: ITU/Melissa Arditto

b) Rehabilitation and reconstruction of telecommunication infrastructure for countries in special need: Various world telecommunication development conferences and ITU plenipotentiary conferences have adopted a number of resolutions requiring that special assistance be given to countries that are emerging from war, civil strife and disasters, for purposes of reconstructing their telecommunication infrastructure. Without concentrated assistance from BDT and other partners, it would take decades to restore them to the level of development they enjoyed prior to the disasters. Direct assistance and bilateral and multilateral sources of financing will be used for this purpose.

Satellite imagery provided by ITU to Indonesia, showing (in red and yellow) damage caused by the Java earthquake in May 2006. Source: UNOSAT

c) Emergency telecommunications: This is a critical area for all countries, especially those with fragile economies. Article 40 of the ITU Constitution addresses the "priority of telecommunications concerning safety of life". The focus will be on:
  • promoting technical cooperation and enhancing the capacity of countries, particularly LDCs and SIDS, in utilizing ICT tools for disaster early warning, preparedness, response and relief, including the dissemination of understandable warnings to those at risk;
  • identifying the activities in relevant organizations related to the use of active and passive sensing space-based systems for the purpose of disaster prediction, detection and mitigation
  • promoting regional and international cooperation for easy access to, and sharing of, information for disaster management, and exploring modalities to facilitate participation of LDCs, SIDS and countries with economies in transition
  • participating in integrating ICT in standards-based monitoring and worldwide early-warning systems linked to national and regional networks and facilitating emergency disaster response all over the world, particularly in high-risk regions
  • ensuring that disaster resilient features are incorporated in telecommunication networks and infrastructure
  • making available to members ICT-based solutions, including wireless and satellite-based technologies, to facilitate the provision of medical and humanitarian assistance in disasters and emergencies
  • carrying out infrastructure damage assessments after disasters strike, and assisting countries to reconstruct and rehabilitate telecommunication infrastructure.