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March 10, 2017

Bridging the Standardization Gap: lessons from the Caribbean

By ITU News

“In perusing the work of BSG [ITU’s Bridging the Standardization Gap programme], I was pleased to note that its main goals include addressing the disparities in the ability of developing countries to access and influence international ITU telecommunication standards, and facilitating the efficient participation of developing countries in ITU’s standards-making process as well as disseminating information about existing standards,” said Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley. “It will please you to know that CARICOM [the Caribbean Community] shares these goals.”

Prime Minister Rowley made these remarks at the ITU Regional Standardization Forum on Bridging the Standardization Gap for the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago this week. (See video below.)

The Forum was the latest ITU event to assist developing countries in expanding their standardization capacity, which is one of ITU’s core strategic objectives. This assistance is fundamental to ITU’s mission as we aim to bring cohesion to the innovation of the ICT community and provide an equitable basis for ICT development worldwide.

‘Single ICT Space’: key for Caribbean’s digital economy

Harmonized policies, regulations and technical standards are central to the draft roadmap for the development of the Caribbean’s ‘Single ICT Space’ initative. The draft roadmap was approved last month at the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held in Guyana.

“We expect that this space will create affordable networks, which are of tremendous benefit to Caribbean consumers and businesses,” said Prime Minister Rowley.

“This is critical to accelerating the implementation of CARICOM’s single market and economy and will be a driving force for social and economic development in the region. From a Trinidad and Tobago perspective, we see the ICT sector as a critical part of our national development programme – high on our agenda is enhancing digital literacy and developing the skills to enable productivity and innovation.”

Sharing lessons learnt

The ITU forum offered a platform for Caribbean and Latin-American countries to share lessons learnt in their efforts to build standardization capacity at home. Participants shared insight into how they are tackling key ICT policy and regulatory challenges as well as ICT operations and management demands.

A BSG hands-on training session was organized for Caribbean experts to develop the practical skills necessary to draft and present contributions to ITU standardization meetings, lead collaborative work, gain support for proposals, and build the consensus essential to ITU decision-making.

“We will discuss with ITU a tailored regional approach to develop the Caribbean’s standardization capabilities under the newly revamped ITU BSG programme,” said Gilbert Peterson S.C., Chairman of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. “The tailored programme will provide valuable assistance in achieving the objectives of the roadmap towards the Caribbean’s Single ICT Space.”

The forum was followed by meetings of the Regional Group for the Americas within ITU-T Study Group 2 (Operational aspects) and the Regional Group for Latin America and the Caribbean within ITU-T Study Group 3 (Economic and policy issues).

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