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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WTSA join forces with UN on climate change

WORLD Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08) ended its 2008 session recently with a concensus to join forces with the United Nations in the battle to reduce the impact of climate change through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The 10-day meeting, which was the first of its kind held on the continent of Africa, precisely in South Africa, saw participants numbering 768 from 99 countries, endorsing the proposition to restructure the old-age International Telecommunication
Union (ITU)’s standards to strengthen it as the global premier ICT standards body.

In addition, eight new chairmen were elected bringing a fresh outlook to many of ITU’s areas of study.

A press statement made available at the weekend by the duo of Chief, Media Relations and Public information and Communications Officer, Messrs, Sanjay Acharya and Toby Johnson, indicated that this focus on strengthening ITU standards would impact positively on a wide range of issues regarding the future direction of the ICT industry.

Also top on the WTSA agenda at the just concluded meeting was ICTs and climate change, the deployment of Internet Protocol version six (IPv6), accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, conformance and interoperability testing, and encouraging academic participation in ITU’s work.

The event attended in addition by 13 Ministers, adopted a resolution to work towards reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from the use of ICTs, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

They equally resolved that ICTs could be a major mitigating factor in efforts to moderate climate change and to limit and ultimately reduce GHG emissions across all industry sectors, in addition to acknowledging that ITU was committed to achieving climate neutrality within three years.

Another resolution tasks the ITU secretariat intend to carry out studies in order to introduce the use of an ITU Mark as a voluntary programme permitting suppliers to make a visible declaration that their products conform to ITU-T recommendations.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), Mr. Malcolm Johnson, said in a message from members that ITU is, and will remain the world’s pre-eminent global telecommunication and ICT standards body.

“And we also hear very clearly that ITU should continue on its mission to connect the world, and that bridging the standardization gap - by increasing developing country participation in our work - is an essential prerequisite to achieve this goal,” he said.

Stressing that the reorganization of the Study Groups was not a simple task, noting “It has been attempted before but this time we have established a streamlined and efficient structure, avoiding duplication and focusing on our key objectives.”


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