Americas Regional Initiatives discussed at Regional Development Forum

RDF AMERICAS6The ITU Regional Development Forum (RDF) for the Americas was held in Cancún, Mexico on 14 July 2015.

The Forum was organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Transport, and the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) of Mexico.

The Forum discussed in detail the five Americas Regional Initiatives approved by the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 as well as providing ITU-D Membership with an opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices in the implementation of the initiatives in the framework of the ITU Strategic Plan for 2016‐2019.

The Initiatives focus on the following areas: emergency telecommunications; spectrum management and transition to digital broadcasting; development of broadband access and adoption of broadband; reduction of telecommunication service prices and Internet access costs; and capacity building to engage in global ICT policy, with special focus on improving cybersecurity and developing countries’ participation in the existing Internet governance institutions.

Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau noted that, “the Regional Development Forums are not only part of efforts to strengthen the ITU Regional presence, but also an occasion to extend the conversation on development issues to the telecom/ICT multi-stakeholders who are not yet Members of ITU Development sector.”

He said, “The Regional Initiatives for the Americas confirm that the region continues to give priority to topics that present recurring challenges. As we work together to build an inclusive information society, I invite you to share with us with your views, suggestions, ideas and feedback on the implementation of the initiatives.”

“An inclusive information society means better education, improved access to medicine and health care, greater transparency and efficiency in governance and more equitable access to jobs and resources on markets that are globalizing rapidly, among many other opportunities,” he added.

Mr Andrés de la Cruz, General Director of Telecommunications and Broadcasting Policies at the Undersecretary of Communications, observed that, “attaining universal ICT accessibility is a priority for the region as a means to promote development in underserved and remote areas and also empower vulnerable society groups.” He added, “The Regional Initiatives together with dynamic ICT policy and regulatory frameworks already in place provide a foundation to accomplish the inclusion of every person in the Information Society.”

Mr Gabriel Oswaldo Contreras Saldivar President of IFT highlighted the implementation of major infrastructure projects which he said have led to a rapid expansion of the telecoms/ICT sector in the region. He however noted that the digital divide remains a major challenge for the region and called on participants at the forum, “to develop shared visions that will enable ICTs become a real tool for development in the Americas.”

During the forum participants also discussed ways to improve cooperation between ITU and members in the region and the activities and actions that should be prioritized during 2016 in the Americas region.

Mr Bruno Ramos, ITU Regional Director for the Americas said, “The Regional Initiatives provide room for interaction and cooperation between policy makers, regulators, the private sector academic and scientific institutions willing to take concrete measures to bridge the digital divide building an inclusive Information Society.”

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