Inclusive ICT policy urged
Dec 04, 2012 (Khaleej Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The World Conference on International Telecommunications, or WCIT, opened on Monday with a call by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for transparency and inclusiveness in the management of information and communication technology.
In his address to the conference running until December 14 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the UN chief reiterated his plea for an open Internet, and said "the management of ICT should be transparent, democratic and inclusive of all stakeholders."
He called the conference to help further unleash the benefits of ICTs while promoting an environment that drives innovation. "I am pleased that you have taken steps to open the process -- including the vital voices of civil society and the private sector," Ban said in his video address to the delegates.
"The ICT continues to transform our world -- opening doors, saving lives, and educating and empowering people in developed and developing countries alike. The Arab Spring showed the power of ICT to help people voice their legitimate demands for human rights and greater accountability," he said.
Dr Hamadoun I. Toure, the secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, said the conference would be exploring the best ways to ensure that all the world's people can benefit from affordable, equitable access to ICTs.
"ICTs give people the power to totally transform their lives -- through education, health care, and everything else the online world can deliver. This is why we have linked broadband with the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable growth," he said.
Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director-general of the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, or TRA, in his opening address, hoped that the conference, which is to review the current international telecommunications regulations, would reach a consensus.
"During the two-week WCIT-12 conference, delegations from the ITU's 193 member states will debate revisions to the current treaty to ensure it better meets the needs of 21st century networks and users," he said.
Proposals to the conference include ways to accelerate the global roll-out of broadband (with an increased focus on energy efficiency and cutting e-waste); initiatives to further promote accessibility of technology to persons with disabilities; support for continuing investment in networks, services and applications; strategies to address high cost of mobile roaming and taxation of international telecommunications services; and the need for a harmonious and conducive international environment that drives future innovation. "The accomplishments of the UAE at the international level have been noteworthy. We are proud to have played an important role in all of the ITU's activities this year, starting with the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva which was chaired by the UAE, and ending with WCIT, which is also chaired by the UAE," said Al Ghanim.
The UAE, through the TRA, has hosted a series of high-profile ITU events over the past two months, including the ITU Telecom World in October, the Global Standards Symposium, and the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly in November.
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