ITU Council reviews progress and charts future course

03.06.2016 #ITU

ITU Council 2016 met from 25 May until 2 June under the chairmanship of Ms Julie Zoller, Senior Deputy Coordinator for International Information Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. State Department.

Over 350 delegates attended Council 2016 representing 47 Member States, including several Ministers, vice-Ministers and ambassadors.

“I am very pleased with the excellent results of the 2016 session of ITU Council which takes us forward in our collective and unwavering commitment to connect the world’s people,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ICTs have a transformative role to play in achieving the three pillars of sustainable development – economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection.”

the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Dr David Nabarro, addressed ITU Council. He emphasized that ICTs are cross-cutting tools which are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and urged the representatives of government attending ITU Council to make ICTs the centre of their development agenda. “The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda will not be achieved by 2030 without connectivity and people being connected,” Dr Nabarro said. “ITU is at the centre of all the sustainable development goals and we count on you to help ensure that these goals are fulfilled everywhere.”

Noting that ITU is a global institution that combines regulation, standards setting and development, Nabarro said ITU can apply its expertise to bridge the digital divide to give the SDGs the momentum they need and ensure no one is left behind.

“While ICTs are recognized as an enabling and implementing tool across all the SDGs, it will be up to us to ensure that ICTs are an integral part of all our development policies and plans,” Mr Zhao said. “Let us work together to create the enabling environment to make these aspirational goals a reality, especially on the critical issue of global telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, essential for digital inclusion and the creation of a knowledge society, and crucial if we are to provide a platform for success in the SDGs by 2030.”

Gender equity and mainstreaming was prominent too at the ITU Council. U.S. Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto and Director General of the UN Offices at Geneva Michael Møller highlighted the International Geneva Gender Champions initiative. Mr Møller observed that "ICTs are among the main factors shaping our future and everyone should have full access to their benefits". Ambassador Hamamoto noted that "technology is critical to social and economic development, and that's exactly why it is also critical that women and girls have equal access to ICTs and to opportunities to develop 21st century skills".

Source: ITU

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