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COVID-19 response and recovery

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"As the world recovers from and adjusts to the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic, ITU is mobilizing around the United Nations' call to build back better. As the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, we are now more than ever committed to bringing the benefits of these technologies to people everywhere.​​"
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao

The COVID-19 crisis has not only highlighted the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for continued functioning of societies but has also brought to the fore the startling digital inequalities between and within countries.

Bound by the powerful belief that technology can be a source of good for everyone, ITU Members have stepped up and engaged in activities that have proven essential in saving lives and keeping economies going. 

​ITU is helping countries to fully utilize digital technologies to respond to and recover from COVID-19, and to build preparedness for similar future global emergencies. Now more than ever, the world needs to be able to rely on ICTs and ITU's leadership in promoting universal, secure, reliable and affordable connectivity. 

Consult the list of its COVID-19 initiatives, activities and partnerships he​re​​, and read core COVID-19 messages he​re​.​

​​​ITU News
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ITU Podcasts
LISTEN to ITU podcasts on how COVID-19 has ​affected the telecom sector, and the economy and society at large.  
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WATCH the latest ITU videos on the ​ socio-economic effects of COVID-19. ​


WSIS14 June 2021​​ -  The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated two things like never before: firstly, the importance of digital technologies and secondly, our ever-deepening global interdependence. Learn how the WSIS Forum can help to leverage partnerships and information and communication technologies (ICTs) to foster inclusive, resilient, and sustainable societies and economies. Full article available here.​​​

smart cities10 June 2021​​ -  The ICT industry is now in recovery phase in relation to COVID-19. But international and regional ICT policy experts and regulators must continue using the best practices acquired during the response stage to achieve the collective goal of meaningful and inclusive connectivity for all. That is why multi-stakeholder dialogues, like ITU's upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) are so important: They provide a platform to recover and thrive together. Read the full article here.​​​
connect to recover01 June 2021​​ -  Broadband connectivity and digital infrastructure are not just a necessity but a new global imperative. In cooperation with partners from Japan and Saudi Arabia, ITU's Connect2Recover initiative seeks to reinforce the digital infrastructure and ecosystems of beneficiary countries and to galvanize action for affordable and reliable connectivity as part of COVID-19 recovery strategies. Find out more here.​​​



Main COVID-19 response & recovery initiatives​​

Connect to recover Connect2Recover aims at reinforcing the digital infrastructure of beneficiary countries and better means of utilizing digital technologies (e.g. teleworking, e-commerce, remote learning and telemedicine) to support COVID-19 recovery efforts and preparedness for the “new normal”, as well as potential future pandemics.​

REG Covid Platform Global Network Resiliency Platform (REG4COVID)
To address the strain experienced by telecommunication networks, vital to the health and safety of people, ITU has launched a new platform​ to ​pool experiences and innovative policy and regulatory measures.​

WSIS ICT Repository ICT Case Repository​
The ICT Case Repository​ collects innovative ​projects and activities on how ICTs are assisting stakeholders in their everyday life, work, and in ​combating challenges caused by this extraordinary situation.

Digital transformation CISCO CYB4COVID​
While always crucial, it is particularly at times like this that we need to ensure that our systems and networks ​are secure. On CYB4COVID​, ITU shares information about initiatives, actions, resources and projects on cybersecurity that are designed to help ensure communities remain connected safely and securely​ ​here. ​​​


Digital Health Ad-hoc group on digital technologies for COVID health emergency
Part of the ITU-WHO Focus Group on Artificial Intelligence for Health, the new group aims to establish best practices in the use of AI at each lifecycle of a public health emergency. It will review AI and other digital health technologies’ performance in combatting COVID-19 and future health emergencies. ​
G20 SG meetingExtraordinary G20 ​Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting
ITU supports the G20 Digital Economy Ministers in their commitment to sharing information in a secure manner and encouraging the research and development of digital technologies for health. G20 statementITU Secretary-General blog​

ITU WHO statementReaching all, including those not connected to the Internet, with vital information
ITU and WHO, with support from UNICEF, will work with telecommunication companies to text people directly on their mobile phones with vital health messages​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

COVID-19 resources & latest trend analyses​

ITU’s new report – Pandemic in the Internet age - considers the critical actions and initiatives undertaken early in the COVID-19 pandemic and examines their efficacy and sustainability in the medium and longer term. It recommends actions and regulatory measures aimed at addressing the digital divide, driving digital deepening, effecting digital transformation, and building digital resilience.

REG4COVID discussion paper ITU’s report - The telecommunication industry in the post-COVID-19 world - explores operational and business models, as well as financing strategies, that can facilitate the deployment of ICT infrastructure among unserved populations and deliver universal connectivity in the post-COVID-19 world. ​ ​​​​​​​​​​
Connect to recover Giga’s report "Connecting the Dots" summarizes the key accomplishments of this ITU-UNICEF initiative to connect every school and its surrounding community to the Internet. As the COVID-19 pandemic u​nfolded globally in 2020, Giga mapped Internet access in over 800,000 schools, welcomed 10 partners and developed work plans in 17 countries. Giga was highlighted as a “key way forward towards digital transformation” in the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. ​

According to the joint UNICEF-ITU report "How many​ children and youth have Internet access at home?", the lack of connectivity due to COVID-19 doesn’t just limit children and young people’s ability to connect online. It prevents them from competing in the modern economy and isolates them from the world. The lack of Internet access is costing the next generation their futures.

The COVID-19 global health emergency has dramatically underlined the importance of harnessing the full power of digital technologies to strengthen health systems and programmes. The Digital Health Platform Handbook aims to assist countries to advance their national digital health system through the use of a digital health platform, which provides the underlying foundation for various digital health applications and systems used to support health and care services.

REG4COVID discussion paper New ITU REG4COVID discussion paper analyses the measures taken in the COVID19 context to address Last Mile Connectivity (LMC) issues and identifies best practices. It examines the market aspects of last-mile connectivity, with a view towards promoting and setting up sustainable infrastructure solutions, and provides guidance for private sector and civil society stakeholders to act upon the LMC opportunities available today. ​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
ITU News Magazine
UN COVID ImageFind out how the whole of the UN system is
addr​essi​ng COVID-19
 in their spheres of expertise. ​​​​