Nº 3 2014 > Dubai Action Plan
Programmes as an implementation framework
The sixth World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC‑14) approved the programmes outlined below as a concrete framework for the fulfilment of the five objectives and fifteen associated outputs (products and services) set for ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU–D) to fast-track global connectivity over the next four years.
When implementing these programmes, the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) will, where appropriate, collaborate with other organizations, including Sector Members, academia, non-governmental organizations and other United Nations agencies, in order to combine expertise and avoid duplication of work.
Programme: Policy and regulatory environment
Under this programme, research and analysis will be conducted at global and regional levels on the latest policy, regulatory, economic, financial and market trends in telecommunications and information and communication technologies (ICT). Annual surveys and other means will be used to measure the social and economic impact of being connected.
Along with reports, studies and benchmarking tools, ITU will produce recommendations and guidelines, and identify best practices. ITU will also assist individual countries in specific matters of interest to them, such as regulatory and institutional reform, competition, investment and financing, new business models, high- and ultra-high-speed broadband deployment, consumer protection (online security and safety), data (including Internet of Things and machine-to-machine), cost modelling for cost-based regulated services (wholesale and retail), scarce resources (such as spectrum), telephone numbering and signalling point codes, infrastructure sharing (including use of smart grids), cost-effective solutions for remote and rural areas, number portability, Internet protocol (IP) interconnection, mobile roaming, universal and affordable access to ICT services and smart cities.
Publications will include the annual Trends in telecommunication/ICT reform report, the ICT regulation toolkit, the broadband series of thematic reports, and the regulatory and tariff policies database.
ITU will provide global platforms (face-to-face and online) for policy-makers, regulators and the private sector to address topical issues, share experiences and best practices, and discuss ways to help countries achieve their goals of growing digital economies. In this context, ITU will continue to organize global and regional events, forums, training workshops and seminars, such as the Global Symposium for Regulators.
Programme: Telecommunication/ICT networks, including conformance and interoperability
This programme will assist ITU Member States and ITU–D Sector Members and Associates in maximizing the use of appropriate new technologies for the development of their information and communication infrastructure and services. Some specific areas of work are listed below.
Spectrum management and radio monitoring
BDT provides assistance in various aspects of spectrum management, including producing specialized tools for this purpose. BDT will, in particular, continue to maintain, update and expand the Spectrum Management for Developing Countries (SMS4DC) software, providing technical assistance and conducting training activities for its deployment and use. It will provide spectrum management assessments and recommend action plans for the further development of spectrum management structures, procedures and tools, including new spectrum sharing approaches, such as dynamic spectrum access. It will also provide assistance on spectrum fee regimes, the harmonization of regional spectrum allocations (including coordination procedures in border areas), and the use of spectrum monitoring systems and networks.
The transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, already begun in many developing countries, is expected to peak over the next few years in Regions 2 (Americas) and 3 (Asia and Australasia), and to be completed in Region 1 (Africa and Europe) by the June 2015 deadline set in the GE06 Agreement. BDT will assist developing countries to achieve smooth migration from analogue to digital broadcasting and offer support in post-transition activities, such as the introduction of new broadcasting services and allocation of the digital dividend. In particular, BDT will continue to provide assistance on policy and regulatory frameworks for digital broadcasting, and will organize regional meetings between ITU members on the use of spectrum for broadcasting or other services.
Future BDT activities will focus mainly on policy and regulatory frameworks for digital terrestrial broadcasting, including frequency planning and optimization of spectrum use; digital broadcasting guidelines and master plans for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting; conversion of analogue to digital archives; and new broadcasting services and technologies.
The architecture of information and communication infrastructure is continuously changing to accommodate new requirements for new services and applications, along with evolution to next-generation (and future) networks. BDT will assist Member States in moving to future network architectures and technologies, applying the standards (Recommendations) developed in the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU–T) and the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU–R).
BDT will, in particular, assist Member States to deploy and migrate their existing networks to next-generation networks and beyond and to digitize analogue networks, applying affordable wired and wireless technologies, including interoperable infrastructure.
Broadband networks: wired and wireless technologies, including IMT
BDT will provide developing countries with an understanding of the different technologies available for broadband using both wired and wireless technologies for terrestrial and satellite telecommunications, including International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT).
Specific activities will include providing assistance to developing countries in planning the implementation and development of national broadband networks; collecting and disseminating information and analyses on the current status of broadband backbone and submarine cables, in order to assist members in network planning, avoiding duplication of efforts and resources; and promoting Internet exchange points, as well as supporting the transition to IPv6.
Rural areas remain sparsely covered, and telecommunication operators do not consider rural coverage a viable business case. Recent growth of teledensity in urban areas, fuelled by mobile technology, has widened the digital gap between rural and urban areas. Setting up backhaul connectivity remains a high-cost exercise. Erratic power supply or complete lack of energy sources is a major barrier, although photovoltaic power is increasingly becoming a viable alternative.
BDT’s focus will be to provide information on suitable technologies for access, backhaul and source of power supply to bring telecommunications to rural, unserved and underserved areas; implement projects on public/community broadband access points; and disseminate information and analyses of the latest technologies (including satellite) and best practices.
Conformance and interoperability
Conformance with international standards maximizes the probability that an ICT vendor's products will interoperate with those of other vendors. This interoperability is addressed by international standards such as ITU Recommendations, which enable communications between the ICT of different manufacturers, countries and continents. Mutual recognition arrangements between the test centres of different countries or regions give consumers confidence in tested products, increase market opportunities, encourage trade and technology transfer, and contribute to the removal of technical barriers to trade. The ITU Conformance and Interoperability Programme seeks to increase conformance with ITU Recommendations and, in turn, the interoperability of ICT globally (assessed according to global standards such as those of the International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission — ISO/IEC).
BDT will educate technicians, policy-makers and businesses on the importance of conformance and interoperability procedures and testing, and of mobilizing resources for regional and national programmes. BDT will help developing countries to establish conformance and interoperability programmes, assessing the possibility of establishing regimes at national, regional and subregional level, and preparing guidelines on this process.
Programme: Innovation and partnership
This programme will identify best practice and coherent policy approaches to ICT innovation, to be integrated into national development agendas. It will also identify ways and means to develop partnerships among various organizations, in line with the focus of the post-2015 development agenda on a new global partnership.
Along with developing internationally comparable measurements of innovation capabilities for use at national level, guidelines will be drafted on fostering innovation in the public sector at all levels of government to enhance the delivery of public services, improve efficiency, coverage and equity. Guidelines will also be produced on creating ICT incubators that are sustainable and on how to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of small and medium-sized enterprises.
A study will be carried out on resource mobilization and access to investment financing, with the objective of developing a strategy for building effective partnerships and furthering ITU–D's objectives. Among other things, the study will examine ways of overcoming challenges in translating memoranda of understanding and partnerships into actual resource mobilization and project implementation. It will also look into how to obtain favourable lines of credit for developing countries from various sources, including international and regional financial and developmental institutions. The study will also recommend a strategy for building effective partnerships.
This programme aims to support the ITU membership, in particular developing countries, in building trust and confidence in the use of information and communication technologies, taking into account the global, transnational nature of cyberthreats. Assistance will be focused on capacity building and outreach activities on legal, technical and procedural measures, organizational structures and international cooperation.
The programme will collaborate with all relevant organizations to avoid duplication of effort. In particular, it will support ITU Member States in developing their national or regional cybersecurity strategies as an essential step towards building national capabilities for dealing with cyberthreats. It will also support ITU Member States, in particular least developed countries, in their efforts to build capacity, and will facilitate their access to resources developed by other international organizations working on national legislation to combat cybercrime.
The programme will assist Member States, in particular developing countries, in elaborating appropriate and workable legal measures on protection against cyberthreats; establishing technical and procedural measures aimed at securing national ICT infrastructure; and establishing organizational structures, such as computer incident response teams, to identify, manage and respond to cyberthreats. In addition, the programme will help Member States to contribute to the implementation of ITU's global initiatives to combat cyberthreats and to protect children online — currently, the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) and Child Online Protection (COP).
Member States are encouraged to share, through the programme, both their best practices for implementing ITU Recommendations (such as Recommendations ITU–T X.1057 and ITU–T X.1055) and their national experiences in preventing, mitigating, responding to and recovering from cyberincidents. This will assist developing countries in protecting their telecommunication/ICT networks against cyberattacks and cyberthreats.
Programme: ICT applications and services
The purpose of this programme is to support ITU Member States in the use of telecommunications and ICT to develop the various facets of the information society, in particular in underserved and rural areas, in order to attain the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the targets of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Such support will be given in collaboration and partnership with other United Nations organizations and the private sector.
Three approaches will be taken. In the first, support will be provided in elaborating national strategic planning frameworks and associated toolkits for selected ICT applications and services, in close collaboration with the relevant United Nations specialized agencies and other international organizations.
The second approach will involve supporting the deployment of ICT/mobile applications to improve the delivery of value-added services in high-potential areas, such as disaster management, e‑health, education, agriculture, governance, environmental protection and mobile payment applications. The programme will launch appropriate partnership platforms — involving public and private partners — in order to foster the deployment of innovative ICT applications.
The third approach will consist of continuing to conduct detailed studies and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices on various ICT applications, particularly using broadband, mobile communication, open source, and new technology advances and innovations, taking into account the means available for implementation (be they wireline, wireless, terrestrial, satellite, fixed, mobile, narrow-band or broadband).
Programme: Capacity building
Under this programme, ITU expertise will be used to enhance capacity-building policies, especially in developing countries and to provide guidelines to implement such policies. The programme will raise awareness among governmental and private-sector decision-makers of the importance of capacity building.
BDT will implement a wide range of practical measures, including face-to-face learning, training of trainers, and disseminating high-quality training materials. BDT will continue to enhance the ITU Academy portal and to promote the Centres of Excellence network and Internet Training Centres as indispensable components of ITU capacity building. It will also continue to be organize periodic regional and global meetings, workshops and seminars as platforms for knowledge sharing.
A training programme will be developed through the ITU regional offices in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to provide human capacity building in order to equip ITU members with greater knowledge about Internet governance.
The programme will encourage the establishment of cooperative partnerships with all stakeholders specializing in telecommunication/ICT education, training and development activities, and the engagement of qualified and experienced experts from academia, private sector, government and international organizations, in order to build human and institutional capacity.
The programme will further promote and support research on and analysis of the latest sector trends and priorities through regular surveys and data collection. It will also promote linkages between educational institutions and the telecommunication/ICT sector to ensure that graduates are better matched with sector needs.
Programme: Telecommunication/ICT statistics
This programme will seek to ensure that ITU maintains its current global leadership as the main source of international telecommunication and information and communication technology data and statistics. This will be done in the following ways.
The programme will collect, harmonize and disseminate data and official statistics using a variety of data sources and dissemination tools, such as the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, the ICT Eye ITU online portal, and the United Nations data portal.
BDT will analyse trends and produce regional and global research reports, such as Measuring the Information Society. This will include benchmarking developments in the telecommunication and information and communication technology sector, and clarifying the magnitude of the digital divide using such tools as the ICT Development Index.
BDT will continue to develop international standards, definitions and methodologies on telecommunication and information and communication technology statistics, in close cooperation with other regional and international organizations, including the United Nations, Eurostat, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
BDT will also continue to organize the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium and its related statistical expert groups, providing a global forum enabling ITU members and other national and international stakeholders to discuss measurement of the information society.
ITU will encourage Member States to bring together different stakeholders in government, academia and civil society to raise national awareness about the importance of producing and disseminating high-quality data for policy purposes.
The programme will contribute to monitoring — and to developing frameworks for measuring progress towards — internationally agreed goals and targets, including the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and WSIS targets, as well as the targets set by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
ITU will maintain a leading role in the global Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development and its relevant task groups.
Countries will be encouraged to produce high-quality data based on internationally agreed standards and methodologies. The data will serve to quantify national digital divides, the impact of efforts to close the gaps and, as far as possible, the social and economic effects associated with being connected.
Programme: Digital inclusion
This programme will develop policies, strategies and guidelines to ensure universal access to telecommunications and ICT, in particular for persons with disabilities, ageing populations, indigenous communities, and women and girls. These measures will address social and economic challenges, such as the need to promote youth employment and entrepreneurship and the empowerment of women and girls.
More specifically, the programme will produce public policy recommendations for the development of telecommunications and ICT in indigenous communities. It will also provide model national strategies to ensure that women and men enjoy equal access to ICT and that these technologies are used for the social and economic empowerment of women and girls. Outputs will include gender mainstreaming guidelines for regulatory agencies and ministries of communication, guidelines for gender-sensitive project development and evaluation in the telecommunication sector, and guidelines on updating universal access/service mandates and funds to promote accessibility and digital inclusion of people with specific needs.
The programme will draft comprehensive digital inclusion policies, strategies and guidelines, including input to national broadband plans. It will develop products and services to enhance the ability of members to provide digital literacy training to people with specific needs; and develop national programmes on the use of telecommunications and ICT for social and economic development. The programme will also raise awareness of the need for digital inclusion.
Programme: Concentrated assistance to least developed countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries
Under this programme targeted assistance will be provided to least developed countries, small island developing States, landlocked developing countries, and countries with economies in transition for the development of broadband infrastructure, ICT applications, cybersecurity, policy and regulatory frameworks, and human capacity building. Through the programme, universal access to telecommunications and ICT will be promoted in all these countries, and assistance will be provided to them in disaster monitoring and mitigation, with the aim of helping them attain, by the year 2015, internationally agreed objectives such as the Millennium Development Goals.
Programme: Climate-change adaptation and mitigation using ICT
As part of its mandate, BDT will assist developing countries in using ICT to mitigate and address the effects of climate change, while taking care to avoid damaging the environment.
Assistance will include mapping areas vulnerable to natural disasters; developing information systems for such areas; and using data from active and passive satellite-based remote sensing systems and other systems or applications for climate monitoring, disaster prediction, and detection and mitigation of the negative effects of climate change.
Assistance will also be provided to help Member States to participate in bilateral, regional and global research, assessments, monitoring and mapping of climate impacts, and the development of response strategies; and adopt metrics and common standards for evaluating the environmental impact of the use of telecommunications and ICT and their positive contribution to the broader economy. In evaluating the impact on greenhouse gas emissions, e‑waste will be taken into account.
Programme: Emergency telecommunications
Emergency telecommunications is a priority area for all ITU Member States, and this programme will provide assistance in the use of telecommunications and ICT in preparing for, and responding to, disasters (including early warning and disaster preparedness plans). Regional and international cooperation, collaboration and information sharing will be encouraged.
Other programme activities include ensuring that disaster-resilient features are incorporated in telecommunication networks and infrastructure; assessing infrastructure damage after disasters strike, and assisting countries to reconstruct and rehabilitate telecommunication infrastructure; providing training on the use of emergency telecommunication equipment when disaster strikes; strengthening and expanding initiatives such as e‑health to provide humanitarian assistance in disasters and emergencies; and developing partnerships with vendors dealing with emergency telecommunication equipment and renewable energy solutions.
The programme will promote and support research on, and analysis of, the latest sector trends and priorities through regular surveys and data collection.