The Regional Preparatory Meeting for ITU's World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) 2014 opened today in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The conference will assess the ongoing implementation of the Hyderabad Plan of Action agreed at the last edition of the conference in 2010 and the identification of priority areas for the Asia-Pacific region.
ITU's sixth World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 31st March - 11th April 2014. The gathering of policy makers, regulators and experts from around the world will forge a plan of action for telecommunication and ICT development over the next four years.
Cambodia's deputy prime minister Sok said, "Priority areas identified at past World Telecommunication Development Conferences have benefited Cambodia enormously. Cambodia has successfully managed its transition into a vibrant telecommunications market with the expansion and upgrade of its telecom infrastructure. The ICT sector has also expanded and we are set to contribute to its regional and global growth in the future."
Calling on countries of the Asia-Pacific region to accelerate the roll out of broadband, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I Toure said "Countries in the Asia-Pacific region have led the digital revolution that has transformed the way people communicate around the world. Now is the time to consolidate these gains by pushing forth a dynamic agenda for the global roll out of broadband. I have no doubt that the regional input to the forthcoming WTDC in 2014 will foster the far sighted policies that will guide future digital development around the world."
Dr Toure expressed his appreciation that Cambodia has just finalized its National Broadband Policy with ITU's assistance and reiterated that ITU will extend full technical assistance for its implementation.
The Regional Preparatory Meeting kicked off yesterday with the Regional Development Forum for Asia and the Pacific, focusing on smart, innovative digital technologies.Discussions centred on the key challenges and opportunities for the sustainable, inclusive, innovative and creative development of telecommunications/ICTs in the Asia-Pacific region, while forging partnerships to address opportunities for the development of a ‘smart' technologically driven society that would be both safer and greener.
"ICTs are part of everything we do in our daily lives, and will continue to play an ever-increasing and critical role in the social and economic development of the country," said So Khun, minister of posts and telecommunications.
The Government of Cambodia aims to put up a robust telecommunication policy and regulatory framework and implement strategies to capitalize on existing technologies to facilitate innovation, enhance competitiveness, accelerate productivity and economic development, promote greater social inclusion, and facilitate the sustainable use of ICTs, particularly broadband services added So Khun.
Brahima Sanou, director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau said, "It is encouraging that we are meeting here at a time when ICT growth in Asia and the Pacific region is surpassing global ICT growth rates in all key indicators. Between 2008 and 2013, compound annual growth rates of mobile-cellular subscriptions grew by almost 14 per cent annually, compared to 10 per cent globally.
The number of Internet users continues to grow at double digit rates, slightly higher than the global average."He added that countries in the region have identified ICT/broadband as a priority and a driving force towards sustainable development.
Sanou highlighted ITU initiatives on ‘m-Powering Development' that seeks to build partnerships to deliver ICT applications in education, health, government, banking, environment, and business amongst others; and ‘Smart Sustainable Development Model' (SSDM) that aims to link emergency telecommunication and sustainable development in order to optimize the use of resources in the ICT sector.