SEOUL, KOREA -The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, called the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Olympics, will be held in Busan from Oct. 20 to Nov. 7, bringing some 3,000 participants from 193 countries, including 150 minister-level dignitaries.
“The ITU Busan meeting, which is designed to improve the quality of the communication services, set technological standards and allocate radio frequencies and satellite orbits, will be a stage that Korea can herald its ICT status to the world,” ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure said.
Ahead of the ITU conference, the ITU secretary general said in an interview with Korea IT Times, “The Busan meeting is a very important international event, which will continue its successful mood until 2015, the 150th anniversary of the IU establishment. I firmly believe that Korea’s top-tier ICT technology and Koreans’ friendliness to technology will make this event very successful.”
Noting that he has high expectations for the 2014 ITU meeting, Hamadoun Toure said, “Various policies to be discussed and fixed at the Busan meeting will have a great effect on the global ICT industry for the coming four years.
“Under the topic of ‘Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of Innovation,’ particularly, we plan to hold an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ITU establishment next year.”
Participants in the global event are scheduled to discuss global ICT issues, the future direction of ITU and the ITU’s role to solve pending global problems.
Commenting that Korea armed with advanced ICT infrastructure, including the world’s fastest super speed Internet, is the best place for holding the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the ITU secretary general said, “I hope a large number of people from the private and government sectors will participate in the Busan meeting to discuss the future direction of ICT.”
Asked about preparations for the big event so far with just one month being left before the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, he said, “Everything is going very well. For successful hosting of the conference to be held at BEXCO in Busan, both the Korean government and the preparatory organization are making preparations to meet some 3,000 official delegates from 193 counties, including ICT-related ministers. “In addition, the Korean government is preparing for various side events for foreign delegates and government officials, including the Korean culture festival and ICT industrial fair. After visiting Korea in 2012 and 2013 consecutively to see Korea’s preparation process, I was confident that the ITU meeting will gain a complete success.”
On core issues to be discussed at the Busan Plenipotentiary Conference, the secretary general said, “As the plenipotentiary meeting has been held every four years, there are many issues to be tabled. Each country dispatches its administrative delegates, including top-class government officials, to discuss ITU’s strategic direction for the coming four years and fiscal plans. They also vote to select new ITU management, including radio wave management committee members and ITU directors.
“Participants in the plenipotentiary meeting will also discuss issues submitted by member countries. However, we cannot know how many issues will be raised until the meeting starts and the time schedule has been fixed. As it has 193 member countries, many controversies are likely to be raised over international cyber security, fiscal issue of ITU, ITU Chapter and revision of agreement.”
The ITU meeting is also designed to expand the organization’s role and prospect the future in the far-reaching ICT field. One of the suggestions is the Costa Rica’s proposal to attract young participants in the ITU framework.
“We recommended that each country include young people in its delegation this time. The Korean government is also actively supporting many young people’s participation. I am confident that we can actively foster future ICT leaders and help ITU advance one step further by attracting young generation. Related to this, the ITU secretariat will extend full supports for ITU member delegations” he said.
Noting that he has special expectations for Korea’s first ITU plenipotentiary meeting, Toure said, “Korea is a front runner in many ICT areas. Over 97 percent of all households in Korea use Internet through the broadband wireless network. Korea ranked first in the ICT Development Index (IDI) of ITU for the fourth consecutive years.
“The Korean government’s efforts for development of the ICT industry and Koreans’ friendliness to ICT have combined to make Korea the ideal place for the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. In particular, the 2014 meeting is very important as it is held ahead of the event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ITU establishment in 2015.”
On Korea’s role in the global society as the host country and IT powerhouse, he said, “As I mentioned earlier, Korea has cemented its position as an IT front runner for several years so that it has a clear role. Korea has played a pivotal role in global ICT society. It has been participating in various activities to develop information and communication technology as an aide for social development and innovation.
“By making the best use of its powerful status in the ICT stage, Korea has been accelerating digitalization with other countries. For instance, Korean Trust Fund allocated $51 million (some 53 billion won) in the ICT field of several regions, including Africa, over two years to encourage ICT development projects, including educational programs to create next-generation ICT field and expansion of broadband infrastructure.
“Korea, which boasts of such big companies as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, is also a leader for technology advancement through innovation. Such activities toward innovation are the result of powerful and successful private-government cooperation.”
He also said, “By using broadband mobile communication and public funds for accelerating Internet, Korea has secured the ICT leader position at a rapid pace. Korea boasts of the world’s top level in per capita high-speed Internet using rate and over 110 percent in the mobile phone distribution rate.”
On the effects of ITU Plenipotentiary Conference on the world, Toure said, “Representatives from the ITU member countries have great effects on the global ICT field. However, the 2014 Busan meeting is a place to establish a wide vision for the global ICT sector for the period from 2016 to 2019 and thereafter.
“The agenda, titled ‘Connected 2020,’ symbolizes the future ICT field vision of ITU. It consists of four goals – growth, diversity, sustainability and innovation. ICT is a core means to solve potentially underlying problems in society, economic and environmental fields.
Stating that ICT and industries have developed at a rapid pace for the past 20 years, greatly contributing to humanity, he said, “However, many negative factors, including information gap, have emerged in the process of rapid development. A representative one is the deepening economic gap between ICT advanced countries and the other countries.”
As a means of solving such pending problems, he continued to say, “At the Busan meeting, we will suggest ‘new connection’ for developing countries as a goal. For instance, the digital utilization rate is 78 percent in advanced countries against a mere 32 percent in developing countries. The low-level digital utilization rate is a big obstacle to social development. It means that a number of people cannot make access to information on education, health and employment. As a result, we plan to operate a program for the purpose of personnel, technical and fiscal supports necessary for new connection.”
According to the ITU judgment, minimum 200 million women are facing sexual unfairness of ICT. More than 100,000 women from 140 countries are to participate in 2,700 events in the event for the global female ICT day, which started at the last plenipotentiary conference.
“At the 2014 Busan meeting, we will deal with ICT gender equality as a major agenda by launching the ‘GEM Tech Awards.’ Its success depends on ICT member countries’ active efforts and cooperation,” he stressed.
Noting that solution pursued by the world in common can be developed through active participation by all parties concerned, the ITU secretary general said, “It is very important for the new millennium to develop communication technology that can prevent natural disasters and save life by reducing the effects of climate change and observing the earth.
“ITU plans to carry out a core role for sustainable environment. This role should be discussed seriously from now on for the agenda to be developed after 2015. At the Busan meeting, we will progress this discussion and reaffirm our leading role,” he stressed.
Saying that the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference could not be realized without the Busan city’s passion and Koreans’ full supports, the ITU secretary general added, “Personally, I will visit the conference center and various events to directly experience interesting showcases and engage in in-depth discussions on the future direction of ITU. In line with this, I invite all ITU members to the international event.”
By Lee Jae-sueng(email@example.com)