Nº 3 2014 > Dubai Action Plan
The forthcoming Plenipotentiary Conference — to be held in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 20 October to 7 November 2014 — is expected to approve a strategic plan for ITU for the four-year period 2016–2019, consisting of an ITU-wide vision, mission and values for the better world the organization wants to see. The plan will also contain ITU-wide strategic goals and targets, as well as objectives, outcomes and outputs of the individual ITU Sectors and of the General Secretariat.
In the case of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU–D), the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC‑14) in Dubai developed and agreed on five objectives and fifteen associated outputs (see box) that form the Sector’s component in the overall draft ITU strategic plan. WTDC‑14 also endorsed the ITU-wide vision and mission, as cited below.
“An information society, empowered by the interconnected world, where telecommunication/information and communication technologies enable and accelerate social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and development for everyone.”
“To promote, facilitate and foster affordable and universal access to telecommunication/information and communication technology networks, services and applications and their use for social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and development.”
Scope and thrust
WTDC‑14 endorsed the goals of growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnership. The conference defined growth as enabling and fostering access to, and increased use of, telecommunications and information and communication technologies. It understood inclusiveness to mean bridging the digital divide and providing broadband for all.
Telecommunications and information and communication technologies are increasingly being recognized by governments around the world as the key engine for economic growth and social development. The work of ITU, as the United Nations specialized agency in this area, has become even more vital in recent years, given that advanced telecommunication technologies now underpin every aspect of human life.
To continue the progress that has been made since the establishment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in 2000 and of the connectivity targets set by the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 and 2005 requires the development of infrastructure (in particular for broadband), the provision of applications and services, human capacity building, and a predictable, enabling regulatory environment to ensure that technological development is sustainable.
Generating local content is an enabler for the deployment and penetration of broadband services. Countries with similar or common culture and language — especially those facing cultural and linguistic barriers — should get together to construct local content, in particular for e‑health, e‑learning and e‑commerce, to satisfy demand for local content.
In view of the borderless nature of cyberspace, international cooperation is important in enhancing reliability, availability and security in the use of modern technologies. ITU–D will facilitate such cooperation, recognizing the urgent need to support countries in implementating their national cybersecurity frameworks in the light of best practices.
Other priorities in ITU–D work include least developed countries, small island developing States, landlocked countries and countries with economies in transition, as well as emergency telecommunications and gender equality.
Given the magnitude of the tasks facing ITU–D, success will depend on working closely with ITU members and mobilizing resources through public-private partnerships.
ITU–D and in particular the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) should continue to be innovative in order to remain competitive. ITU–D aims to promote innovative uses of telecommunications and information and communication technologies to improve people's lives.
Innovation is also essential for countries and firms if they are to recover from the global economic downturn and thrive in today's highly competitive and connected global economy.
Innovative broadband-fuelled services such as m-payments, m-health and m-education can empower individuals, communities and societies, especially in developing countries, to enhance their own social and economic well-being.