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11 Dec, 2014

New ITU Global Initiatives reports offer solutions for development, disaster management

Doha, 9 December 2014 (International Telecommunications Union) – The Advisory Boards of the ITU m-Powering Development and Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiatives released their first reports in Doha, Qatar, at an extraordinary meeting of each of the Boards, which met on the eve of ITU Telecom World 2014 in session 7-10 December.

“These reports are the culmination of months of hard work by the Advisory Boards and I commend them for their efforts,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “The analysis and recommendations contained in these reports will further drive efforts to harness the power of ICTs not only to empower users but also to promote sustainable development now and in the future.”

The Advisory Boards also adopted Action Plans to guide the implementation of the initiatives. The Action Plans identify areas critical to advancing the initiatives, including advocacy and global dialogue, innovation and resource mobilization.

Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, noted that the agreed Action Plans “will help target key influencers and actors to move the Initiatives forward.” He thanked the members of the two Advisory Boards for their hard work and commitment and added that the newly-released reports will help “raise awareness about the technological opportunities ahead and highlight the challenges that we need to address in the future.”

The m-Powering Development Initiative report finds that technological innovations and initiatives that use mobile phones can potentially bring exponential benefits to entire communities and make a valuable contribution to the global development agenda. It calls for the development of an enabling regulatory environment for m-Powering initiatives where no citizen is excluded by affordability, accessibility or availability issues. The Report also affirms that mobile initiatives need to be addressed in a holistic manner to avoid a vertical silo approach.

The report by the Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiative focuses on the link between ICT for Development (ICT4D) with ICT for Disaster Management (ICT4DM) and their role in sustainable development processes. ICTs can have a profound effect on individuals, communities, and nations as specific technological solutions can be utilized in all the phases of disaster management, including disaster preparedness, reduction, mitigation and post-disaster rehabilitation. However, without a favourable regulatory framework within which to operate, the benefits that ICT can provide are significantly reduced. The report urges governments to make telecommunication infrastructures more resilient to disasters, especially in developing countries where they are more susceptible to breakdown.

The Reports will soon be available online on webpages of the Initiatives:

The Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiative (SSDM) is an international, multi-stakeholder platform that seeks to link ICT for development with ICT for disaster management in order to achieve sustainable development.

The M-Powering Development Initiative seeks to leverage the ubiquity of mobile technology beyond basic communications. Its objective is to capitalize on the availability of mobile networks to strengthen economies and offer new opportunities to improve health, education, governance, banking, sport and commerce.

The next meetings of the Advisory Boards will take place in the second quarter of 2015.