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ITU Telecom World Considers ICT’s Role in Disaster Risk Prevention

18 October 2012: ITU Telecom World 2012 brought together high-level participants to discuss the defining challenges of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, including the role of smart applications in sustainable development and disaster risk reduction (DRR). 

ITU Telecom World 2012 included a high-level Leadership Summit, which was organized around the theme of innovation. The Summit provided a collaborative platform for global leaders responsible for framing and implementing ICT visions, policies and strategies to share knowledge, perspectives and best practices on global societal challenges such as sustainable development and disaster risk prevention. Heads of State, government ministers, UN Agencies, business executives, and international experts debated and analyzed the fostering of innovation at all levels with the aim of enabling innovation.

Speaking at the Summit, Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General, underscored the role that ITU Telecom World 2012 plays "in creating awareness [of]…the ICT industry and the opportunities and challenges it creates.” He described new inventions, productions and services to “eradicate poverty, combat climate change, predict disasters, improve education and agriculture, and provide timely primary healthcare.”

During the Summit, a session titled “Saving Lives with ICT” discussed the role of ICTs in monitoring environmental change, predicting and detecting disasters, and raising timely alerts. While noting that the use of ICTs in emergencies can save lives, the session also identified limited connectivity, particularly in remote and rural areas, as one challenge to deploying emergency ICTs. The Saving Lives pavilion launched two ITU initiatives for m-Powering smart sustainable development and effective disaster management. Other sessions on the future of the telecommunications sectors debated the ways it needs to be communicated, funded and protected.

The event showfloor included the Immersive Box, a digital experience presenting climate change scenarios, and interactive tables informing and entertaining participants on the history of cybersecurity, ICTs and emergency telecommunications.

Reza Jafari, Chairman, ITU Telecom Board, announced that ITU Telecom World 2013 will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in reflection of ITU Telecom's commitment to hosting annual events based on geographic rotation. ITU Telecom World 2008 was also held in Bangkok.

ITU Telecom World 2012 was held from 14-18 October 2012, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). [ITU Opening Press Release] [ITU Leadership Summit] [ITU Closing Press Release] [IISD RS Story on the Launch of m-Powering]