The ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for Europe was held 27-28 April in Vilnius, Lithuania. Participants at the meeting assessed the ongoing implementation of the Dubai Action Plan adopted at the last WTDC, held in 2014, and identified priority areas for information and communication technology (ICT) development strategies in Europe.
This was the last in a series of six RPMs that took place across the world to help identify priorities in each region in preparation for the next World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17). Previous RPMs were held in the Commonwealth of Independent States (9-11 November 2016); Africa (6-8 December 2016); Arab States (30 January-1 February 2017); the Americas (22-24 February 2017) and the Asia and the Pacific region (21-23 March 2017).
WTDC-17, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 9-20 October 2017, will forge a global plan for telecommunication and ICT development over the next four years.
"ICT development and the widespread use of ICTs are very important topics," said Mr Ričardas Degutis, Vice-Minister of Lithuania's Ministry of Transport and Communications. "Everyone has the right to use ICTs, and should have the ability to access these," he added.
"I am pleased to see that, in the past six months, significant efforts have been made to engage Members in the WTDC preparatory process, as this meeting will be key to forging a global plan for telecommunication and ICT development," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
Mr Feliksas Dobrovolskis, Director General of Lithuania's Communications Regulatory Authority and chair of the Europe RPM, said that the preparatory meeting was "an opportunity for the European group to become united in shaping proposals and sharing common views."
"From Kyrgyz Republic to Rwanda, then Sudan, Paraguay, Indonesia and now Lithuania, all six RPMs have provided a platform for open dialogue, cooperation and partnerships," ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director Brahima Sanou said upon completion of the WTDC regional preparatory process in Vilnius. "During all of the preparatory meetings one concept resonated loud and clear: the common commitment to make the world a better place through the use of information and communication technologies."
Five draft 2018-2021 European regional initiatives were identified at the Vilnius meeting for discussion and consideration at the upcoming WTDC-17:
- broadband infrastructure, broadcasting and spectrum management,
- a citizen-centric approach to building services for national administrations,
- accessibility, affordability and skills development for all to ensure digital inclusion and sustainable development,
- enhancing trust and confidence in the use of ICTs; and
- ICT-centric innovation ecosystems
The RPM for Europe was preceded on 26 April 2017 by the Regional Development Forum (RDF). Speakers included Vice-Minister Ričardas Degutis; Mr Manuel da Costa Cabral, Chairman, Com-ITU of CEPT (The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations); and Mr Brahima Sanou.
At the RDF, participants shared their experiences and insights on the role that ICTs play in achieving the SDGs.
reports, produced by the
ITU Europe Coordination Office, were launched on that day. They include:
- Regional review of national activities on child online protection in Europe
- Twinning between Poland and Albania: technical specifications for a tool to measure quality of service
Twinning between Albania and Slovenia: Broadband infrastructure mapping
Mobile identification: Implementation, challenges, and opportunities
- ICT for Energy – Telecom and Energy Working Together for Sustainable Development
In addition a training catalogue of the ITU Centres of Excellence Network for Europe was issued.