ITU be­gins three-week con­fer­ence in Bu­san

JoongAng Daily - - Front Page - BY KIM JI-YOON jiy­oon.kim@joongang.co.kr

The In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union (ITU) kicks off its qua­dren­nial Plenipo­ten­tiary Con­fer­ence in Korea’s largest port city of Bu­san to­day.

The three-week con­ven­tion is ex­pected to at­tract about 3,000 min­is­ters and high-level gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from 170 coun­tries.

The con­fer­ence is the high­est pol­icy-mak­ing event held by the ITU, and its de­ci­sions im­pact pub­lic tele­com poli­cies world­wide, as well as moves in the pri­vate sec­tor.

The ITU is an agency un­der the United Na­tions that spe­cial­izes in in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy. It aims to im­prove ac­cess to dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies glob­ally, par­tic­u­larly in less ad­vanced na­tions.

It pri­mar­ily as­signs wire­less fre­quency band­widths and satel­lite or­bits to coun­tries and es­tab­lishes stan­dards for in­for­ma­tion and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies (ICT) that all mem­bers must follow.

This is the first time the con­fer­ence has been held in Korea since the ITU’s es­tab­lish­ment in 1865.

Over three weeks, the del­e­gates — in­clud­ing Korea’s ICT ex­perts — will de­ter­mine and out­line poli­cies for the fu­ture of ITU.

Yes­ter­day, ICT min­is­ters an­nounced the adop­tion of their Bu­san Dec­la­ra­tion, which em­pha­sizes the need to close the in­for­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy gap be­tween de­vel­op­ing and ad­vanced na­tions as well as among dif­fer­ent so­cial classes.

It also stressed that the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy could play a role in al­le­vi­at­ing poverty after the 2015 dead­line for the UN Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals that aim to im­prove health and ed­u­ca­tion ac­cess and wipe out des­ti­tu­tion world­wide.

“ICT de­vel­op­ment nowa­days is a key booster in eco­nomic growth and job cre­ation. The ex­pan­sion of In­ter­net of Things tech­nolo­gies, es­pe­cially, will greatly change our so­cial and eco­nomic struc­tures,” Choi Yang-hee, the min­is­ter of sci­ence, ICT and fu­ture plan­ning and the host of this year’s ITU con­fer­ence, said yes­ter­day at a min­is­te­rial meet­ing. “I hope this meet­ing be­comes a cor­ner­stone where ICT au­thor­i­ties and in­dus­tries can start dis­cussing how it will en­hance hu­man life over­all,” he added.

Sep­a­rately, the Min­istry of Sci­ence, ICT and Fu­ture Plan­ning an­nounced on Satur­day that Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia had in­formed Korea that they would not be send­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives to Bu­san for the con­fer­ence amid fears about the spread of Ebola.

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