ITU has appointed Aboubakar Zourmba as Chairman of ITU Council 2014. In the coming months, councillors will look into preparations for the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference that will take place in Busan, Republic of Korea this autumn. Key discussions in the coming days will center around the strategic and financial plans of the Union, which aim to provide a comprehensive and concrete framework to achieve ITU’s strategic goals and its mission to connect the world.
In his State of the Union address delivered at the opening of the Council session, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said, “The Strategic and Financial Plans will determine the roadmap for us to play our role in ensuring that ICTs foster inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth and development in a truly interconnected world.” He added that the Strategic Plan, which is fully aligned and linked to the Financial plan, represents “the better world we want to see; our core focus as an organization; and the common beliefs it is grounded upon”.
Secretary-General Touré reminded delegates that ITU, the oldest specialized agency of the United Nations, will celebrate its 150th anniversary next year. “We stand on the threshold of a bright and extraordinary future, delivered by the power of information and communication technologies,” Dr Touré said. “After almost 150 years of steady sailing as an organization, I am confident that we are continuing to move in the right direction.”
Aboubakar Zourmba, Assistant Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART) of Cameroon, was appointed Chairman of ITU Council 2014. Pointing to the digital divide, Mr Zourmba said that while traditional telephones could be used by anyone, mobile devices are in essence powerful computers which cannot be easily accessed by those who are unable to read and write; this is a major concern that should be addressed by ITU studies to solve this problem.
Apart from the strategic and financial plans for ITU, Council will address several key issues, such as Internet-related activities and public policy issues, cybersecurity and child online protection, accessibility for persons with disabilities, gender mainstreaming, conformance and interoperability as well as preparations for upcoming events such as the World Summit on the Information Society ten-year follow up event (WSIS+10), 10-13 June 2014 in Geneva, ITU Telecom World, 7-10 December in Doha, Qatar, and the World Radiocommunication Conference, 2-27 November 2015.
Delegates from 48 countries representing the ITU Membership of 193 States will attend the Council session, which runs until 15 May. The Council meeting will be followed on 16 May with the celebration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, marking the 149th anniversary of the establishment of ITU on 17 May 1865.