ITU plans 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015

ITU Governing Council has approved plans for the preparation of ITU’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015 and decided on the theme: ‘Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of innovation’.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which marks the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865, will also focus on the 150th anniversary theme.

ITU will be celebrating its 149th anniversary on 16 May in Geneva where World Telecommunication and Information Society Award will be presented to three laureates- Paul Kagame, president, Republic of Rwanda; Park Geun-hye, president, Republic of Korea; and Carlos Slim, chairman, Grupo Carso and president of the Carlos Slim Foundation.

ITU’s governing Council concluded two weeks of deliberations which focused on the strategic and financial plans for the Union for 2016-2019 as well as on inputs to the forthcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the highest governing body of the Union, that will be held next in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Countries expressed their appreciation and support for ITU’s activities on protecting children online and especially congratulated the ITU secretary general for his leadership and commitment towards building a safer online environment for children and young people. ITU secretary general Hamadoun I Toure called for greater international cooperation to combat growing threats to cybersecurity and to the safety of children online.

The Council was updated on the status of ITU’s Conformance and Interoperability (C&I) programme following WTDC-14, which recognized that “widespread conformance and interoperability of telecommunication/ICT equipment and systems through the implementation of relevant programmes, policies and decisions can increase market opportunities and reliability and encourage global integration and trade”.

During the Council session, Chinese vice minister Lihua Liu announced an increase in the financial contribution to ITU by the Peoples’ Republic of China.

ITU Council comprises 48 countries representing the ITU Membership of 193 States, with over 420 delegates attending. Ministers from Australia, Cameroon, Jamaica, Mali, the Philippines, Tunisia as well as vice-ministers from China and Costa Rica also participated.

The 2014 spring session was chaired by Aboubakar Zourmba, assistant director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART) of Cameroon. Zourmba emphasized the importance of digital inclusion and said that care should be taken to ensure that populations with literacy gaps are not condemned to digital exclusion.

The Council covered several agenda items, including those related to gender mainstreaming, ICT access for persons with disabilities, Internet-related activities, cybersecurity and child online protection.

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