Reliable ICTs key to socio-economic development of Small
Island Developing States
ITU meeting in Dubai focuses on connectivity for Small Island States
Dubai, 29 March 2014 – At a forum held in Dubai today, ITU presented its satellite project to connect Pacific Island States and discussed ways to replicate it in other regions, specifically in Small Island Developing States, known as SIDS, which face many challenges due to their unique characteristics and vulnerabilities in the pursuit of sustainable development.
The objective of the satellite project is to provide Internet connection to communities living on remote islands. The aim is to develop low cost, reliable, and diverse satellite communications capacity for the socio-economic development of the Pacific Islands region. To get the best return on investment, the same telecommunications/ICT infrastructure/resources will be used for emergency telecommunications to ensure public safety when disasters strike.
The forum on “Connectivity for Small Island Developing States” was held on the eve of ITU’s World Telecommunication Development Conference that opens in Dubai on 30 March and will be in session until 10 April.
“Natural disasters are on the rise,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “It is essential that remote islands and rural areas are connected to ICTs so they have access to early warning weather information and they can communicate with relevant authorities, humanitarian agencies, affected communities and early responders when disasters strike.”
“Genuine and durable partnerships are important to ITU in order to assist Small Island Developing States achieve sustainable social and economic development through the use of telecommunications and ICTs to bridge the digital divide,” stressed Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector.
Reliable telecommunication and information and communication technologies (ICT) are indispensable to promote sustainable socio-economic development of SIDS. Assistance provided bilaterally or through international organizations will ensure effective operation of the telecommunication sector and ICT infrastructure in these countries.
In order to support SIDS in their efforts to be fully integrated into the global economy, ITU continues to review the state of ICTs and address critical areas that require action.
“The United Nations General Assembly designated 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States,” explained Sanou. “This provides a real opportunity to address increasing environmental degradation and social and economic marginalization in these countries.
Delegates brought attention to the Third International Conference for SIDS, which will be held in Apia, Samoa in September 2014, and which will provide further opportunity to focus on ICT connectivity in the region.
The World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) will focus on development priorities and strategies for growth in telecommunications and ICTs, while highlighting the theme: Broadband for Sustainable Development. This is of vital interest to the future growth of ICTs, especially in emerging and developing economies, and wherever new business opportunities open up to the rapidly growing ICT industry. The outcome of the Conference – the Dubai Action Plan – will set the agenda for telecommunication and ICT development over the next four years.
Media accreditation for WTDC-14 is compulsory. Please see: www.itu.int/en/newsroom/wtdc-14/Pages/media-accreditation.aspx
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For nearly 150 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. www.itu.int