The Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for the Americas was held from 22 to 24 February in Asunción, Paraguay. Participants at the meeting assessed the ongoing implementation of the Dubai Action Plan adopted at ITU's last World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) and identified priority areas for information and communication technology (ICT) development strategies in the Americas.
His Excellency Mr Santiago Peña, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Paraguay, stressed the importance of technology to connect everyone in the country. "Information and communication technologies are key elements of the National Development Plan 2013 to achieve inclusive growth," he said.
"2017 is a very important year for the ITU's Telecommunication Development Sector," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "The World Telecommunication Development Conference, to be held later this year, will forge a global plan for telecommunication and ICT development over the next four years. I am pleased to see that significant efforts have been made to engage Members in the preparation of key documents of the Conference."
"Participants at this Regional Preparatory Meeting are renowned experts," said Ing. Teresita Palacios, President of the National Telecommunication Commission (CONATEL). "However, the real protagonists of this meeting are the people - the people of the Americas. We are all working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through information and communication technologies."
Five draft regional initiatives for the Americas region for the years 2018-2021 were identified at the RPM for discussion and consideration at the upcoming WTDC-17:
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Communications
- Spectrum Management and Transition to Digital Broadcasting
- Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure, especially in Rural and Neglected Areas, and Strengthening of Broadband Access to Services and Applications
- Accessibility and Affordability for an Inclusive and Sustainable Americas Region
- Development of the Digital Economy, Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) & Internet of Things (IoT), promoting innovation.
"Every day we reaffirm the tremendous potential of ICTs to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs," said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "As we embrace a new ecosystem, our actions must go beyond the ICT sector. The ITU's Development Sector will continue to be an active player and facilitator of innovations for sustainable development."
The RPM for the Americas was preceded by the Regional Development Forum (RDF). Speakers at the opening ceremony included Cecilia Ugaz, Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Resident Coordinator, Oscar León, Executive Secretary of the Inter‐American Telecommunication Commission, CITEL, Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunications Development Bureau (BDT), and Teresita Palacios, President of Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CONATEL) of Paraguay.
At the RDF, participants shared their experiences and insights on the role that ICTs play in achieving the SDGs, with a focus on the Regional Initiatives, the importance of research and innovation for the development of telecommunications/ICTs and the role of the private sector and international cooperation institutions.
This Regional Preparatory Meeting was the fourth in a series that are taking place across the world to identify priorities in each region in preparation for WTDC-17.
The next Regional Preparatory Meeting will be for the Asia-Pacific region and will be held in Bali from 21 to 23 March 2017. It will be preceded by the Regional Development Forum on 20 March 2017.
WTDC-17 will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 9 to 20 October 2017.
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