Thursday, February 17, 2022

Standard-setting guides tech for sustainable development

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Industry and governments aim to help shape global digital transformation agenda ahead of ITU standardization assembly

Industry leaders and policy makers will gather at the end of the month to share ambitions for technical standards to drive sustainable development worldwide.

The discussions on 28 February – hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland – offer a platform for companies, countries, regulators, and academia to align with United Nations development priorities for the decade.

The ITU Global Standards Symposium also highlights the rising share of ITU standardization work dedicated to environmental sustainability, healthcare, road safety, financial inclusion, and the creation of smart cities and communities.

Technical standards developed through international collaboration aim to harness the accelerating uptake of technologies in fields such as 5G, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence (AI) to help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals.

"The global ITU membership is uniquely positioned to drive digital infrastructure development, connect the unconnected, and build confidence and trust in digital technologies," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "International standards can bring the benefits of digital transformation to everyone, everywhere."

Setting the standardization agenda

The symposium paves the way for the decisive ITU World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) between 1 and 9 March.

WTSA-20 – delayed for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic – is poised to set the course for ITU's standardization work to meet emerging industry and societal needs. It comes amid mounting climate fears, the ongoing health crisis, and rising demand for technical standards, as all sectors accelerate investment in digital technologies to improve efficiency and transform multiple businesses and services.

"All voices are heard in the inclusive ITU standardization process, where every step forward is determined by consensus decision," said Chaesub Lee, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "Working together on international standardization, we can build consensus on how new technologies should factor into our future."

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