Europe Regional Initiatives discussed at Regional Development Forum
The ITU Regional Development Forum (RDF) for Europe was held in Bucharest, Romania from 20 to 22 April 2015 under the theme “Broadband for Sustainable Development.”
The Forum was organized by ITU at the kind invitation of the Ministry for Information Society of Romania and the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) and discussed the five Europe Regional Initiatives approved by the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) held in 2014.
The Initiatives 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.
The event provided participants with an opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices in the implementation of the regional initiatives and also paid special attention to the new ITU’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2019, the activities of the ITU-D Study Groups and of the ITU Centers of Excellence.
Proposals for concrete actions to be carried out under the Regional Initiatives for Europe were presented at the meeting. Several commitments supporting the implementation of the Regional Initiatives were expressed by Governments, Regulators, Private Sector and Academia.
“All proposals and commitments will serve as a basis for establishing an implementation plan for the Regional Initiatives for Europe,” said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “I am confident that this bottom-up approach will strengthen the impact of our joint actions at the regional level.”
“It goes without saying that the implementation of the Regional Initiatives requires a true multi-stakeholder approach led by the Governments of the region,” he added.
Mr Sorin Mihai Grindeanu, Minister for Information Society of Romania noted that although ICTs have become key enablers of sustainable development, “major challenges remain in ensuring wide availability of technologies, addressing the digital divide, promoting digital literacy, and minimizing the risks associated with the use of technologies.”
“We can address these challenges through international cooperation to create an enabling environment for innovation and growth,” he said.
“We believe in the importance of all of the European Regional Initiatives,” said Mr Marius-Catalin Marinescu, President of ANCOM. “Coordinated activities, interactions and the harmonized use of radio spectrum are highly relevant for the accelerated rollout of broadband networks,” he added.
Mr Jaroslaw Ponder, ITU Coordinator of the Europe Region, said that 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.”
See also: Final Report.