ITU launches initiatives to support sustainable development by harnessing mobile broadband

Telecom Lead Middle East: ITU has launched two new initiatives aimed at achieving sustainable development by harnessing smart information and communication technologies (ICT), in particular mobile broadband.

ITU secretary-general Hamadoun I. Touré

The ITU initiatives, m-Powering Development and Smart Sustainable Development Model, were launched on the Saving Lives Platform at ITU Telecom World 2012.

While the M-Powering Development seeks to act as a catalyst to achieve sustainability, ITU’s new Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM) initiative seeks to demonstrate that linking ICT for Development (ICT4D) with ICT for Disaster Management (ICT4DM) leads to increased sustainable development and optimal resource use without additional financial investment.

Through M-Powering, ITU seeks to harness the power of state-of-the-art ICTs and smart solutions to meet sustainable development goals. With mobile subscriptions having crossed the 6 billion mark, and with mobile broadband becoming increasingly available, new opportunities can be grasped to improve health, education, agriculture, trade and commerce. Mobile devices for m-Powering Development are seen both as “empowering” users as well as “powering” development and economic activity.

Smart solutions envisage affordable models for ICT infrastructure development, network security and enhanced cybersecurity as well as the development and deployment of new applications, creation of an enabling environment through sound regulations, capacity building and mitigating the effects of climate change while strengthening emergency telecommunications.

Global roll out of the initiatives, which will be steered by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, is expected by April 2014.

“In a world increasingly threatened by natural disasters brought on by global climate change, we have to seize the opportunities available to us through smart, cutting edge technologies to swing the tide towards achieving sustainable development,” said ITU secretary-general Hamadoun I. Touré. “The deployment of mobile broadband goes beyond merely making a phone call; it brings about a paradigm shift in social and economic empowerment and development. It is truly m-Powering!”

Two partnership agreements marking the launch of the m-Powering and Smart Sustainable Model initiatives were signed at ITU Telecom World 2012: one on e-Health between ITU and the World Health Organization; and another between ITU and the m-Education Alliance.

BDT director Brahima Sanou signed the agreement in the presence of Government Ministers and private sector CEOs with Antony Bloome, representing the m-Education Alliance, which has a membership of 15 organizations.

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