2016 Regional Development Forum for Europe

rdf-europe-photoThe 2016 ITU Regional Development Forum for Europe took place in Budva, Montenegro, from 27 to 28 September.

The Forum organized by ITU in collaboration with the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services of Montenegro (EKIP), was held back to back with the Regional Conference on Regulation of Electronic Communications Market.

The RDF provided an opportunity for a high-level dialogue between ITU-D Membership on progress made in the implementation of the five regional initiatives for Europe, approved by the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 (WTDC-14).

Participants also reviewed the implementation of the ITU Strategic Plan for 2016-2019 at the regional level, the activities of the ITU-D Study Groups and the ITU Centres of Excellence as well as ITU Membership and Academia.

“Although Europe is one of the global leaders in terms of broadband connectivity, affordability, internet penetration, and others, inter-regional disparities still exist and require constant adaptation of actions to meet the real needs of the region”, said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunications Development Bureau (BDT). “The rapid spread of information and communication technologies has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide, develop knowledge societies and facilitate the attainment of sustainable development.”

He noted that the Regional Development Forum represents an excellent platform for multi stakeholder dialogue between the BDT and membership on the implementation of the outcomes of World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), and in particular the Regional Initiatives.

Mr Zoran Sekulić, Executive Director of EKIP, said his country was honored to host the 2016 Regional Development Forum for Europe. “I would also like to register our appreciation for the support and understanding that ITU has shown us in our endeavors to develop a vibrant and efficient telecommunication/ICT sector.”

During the Forum, Mr Jaroslaw Ponder, ITU Coordinator of the Europe Region, presented a status report on the implementation of the five Regional Initiatives which focus on the following areas: spectrum management and transition to digital broadcasting; development of broadband access; ensuring access to telecommunications/ICTs, in particular for persons with disabilities; building confidence and security in the use of telecommunications/ICTs and entrepreneurship, innovation and youth.

He said “the efficient and effective implementation of the five Regional Initiatives has the potential to unlock new opportunities for the European ICT ecosystem and accelerate digital transformation. All stakeholders are encouraged to join this effort.”

In the framework of the implementation of the Regional Initiatives, ITU handed over to Albania the results of the National Review on the ICT Centric Innovation Ecosystem, as well as results of the Twinning Programme between Albania and Slovenia on the Broadband Infrastructure Mapping.

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