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Press Release

New ITU Focus Group to optimize environmental efficiency with Artificial Intelligence

Initiative welcomes research on the sustainability dimensions of emerging technologies




Geneva, 27 May 2019


ITU has established a new Focus Group to study environmental efficiency in the age of Artificial Intelligence, increasing automation, and smart manufacturing. The group's work is also expected to support ITU's ongoing studies of the environmental requirements of IMT-2020 (5G) systems.  

The Focus Group is open to all interested parties. It will lead a two-year consultation process to identify new aspects of environmental efficiency to benefit from ITU international standards.

The Focus Group aims to provide guidance on the environmentally efficient operation of emerging technologies, as well as the influence of these technologies on the environmental efficiency of the broader ecosystem of information and communication technology (ICT).

“Technologies and industries are advancing and converging in ways transforming the structure and productive processes of our economies," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU provides a neutral platform for government, industry and academia to work together in preparing for major waves of innovation, to the benefit of our societies, our economies and our environment."

“New technologies are introducing new opportunities to achieve meaningful progress in environmental sustainability," said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “ITU is supporting the international collaboration necessary to apply these technologies to maximum effect."

The new ITU Focus Group on 'environmental efficiency for AI and other emerging technologies' (FG-AI4EE) will report to the ITU standardization expert group for 'environment, climate change and circular economy', ITU-T Study Group 5.

 “This new Focus Group will provide a global platform to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of AI and other emerging technologies, as well as to address these technologies' ability to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, and the protection of biodiversity," said the Chair of ITU-T Study Group 5, Victoria Sukenik, National Secretariat of ICTs, Argentina. “This new Focus Group will assist ITU-T Study Group 5 in remaining well positioned to develop international standards protecting our planet."

The Focus Group will curate and analyze research into the relationship between emerging technologies and environmental efficiency. This analysis will conclude with the delivery of Technical Reports and specifications to benchmark best practices and describe pathways towards a standardized framework to assess environmental aspects of the adoption of emerging technologies.

ITU Focus Groups accelerate ITU studies in fields of growing strategic relevance to ITU membership. These groups bring together as many stakeholders as possible to deliver a basis for subsequent standardization work in membership-driven ITU Study Groups.

The establishment of the Focus Group was agreed by a meeting of ITU-T Study Group 5 at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, 13-22 May 2019. ​