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ITU Launches Initiatives on Sustainable Development and Disaster Preparedness

16 October 2012: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched two initiatives that aim to achieve sustainable development and improve disaster preparedness and response through smart information and communication technologies (ICT) at the ITU Telecom World 2012 held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

m-Powering Development seeks to harness ICTs and smart solutions to meet sustainable development goals, including on agriculture, education and health, by empowering mobile phone users and powering development and economic activity.

The Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM) initiative aims to demonstrate that ICT for Development (ICT4D) and ICT for Disaster Management (ICT4DM) will increase optimal resource use and sustainable development without additional financial investments. Examples of anticipated solutions include new applications that promote capacity building, climate change adaptation, sound regulation, and strengthened emergency telecommunications, as well as ICT cybersecurity, infrastructure development and network security. Both initiatives will be rolled out globally by April 2014.

Noting the increasing frequency of climate-induced disasters, Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, stressed the need to "seize the opportunities available to us through smart, cutting edge technologies…The deployment of mobile broadband goes beyond merely making a phone call; it brings about a paradigm shift in social and economic empowerment and development.”

At the launch of the m-Powering and Smart Sustainable Model initiatives, ITU signed two partnership initiatives: one on e-Health with the World Health Organization (WHO); and one with the m-Education Alliance. [ITU Press Release] [ITU Telecom World 2012 Website]