Emerging Trends | Infrastructure | SDG10
December 8, 2012

Connecting the Unconnected

By Mr. Brahima Sanou

First WCIT-12 Resolution approved and applauded

It was heartening and appropriate that the first Resolution to be approved during the landmark WCIT-12 was all about connecting those who are still not connected.

It was a Resolution aimed at fast-tracking connectivity for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDSS) and represents very well the real focus of WCIT-12 as well as ITU’s digital inclusion mandate.

Virtually every facet of modern life depends on information and communication technologies.

ITU is at the very heart of the ICT sector, brokering agreement on technologies, services, and the allocation of global resources to create a seamless global communications system that’s robust, reliable, and constantly evolving.

This is part of ITU’s vision and mandate to connect the world and World Conference on International Telecommunications (#WCIT12) presents a unique opportunity to further this aim.

The first Resolution that has been passed at WCIT-12 by ITU Member States comes from Ad Hoc Group 3 of the Plenary and refers to special measures for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDSs) for access to international optical fibre networks.

Increased access to fibre optic networks plays a fundamental role in the exponential growth and rollout of broadband connectivity – essential for connection online and vital if we are to seriously advance towards real digital inclusion.

What is the Resolution all about?

The newly agreed Resolution reaffirms the right of access for landlocked countries to the sea and freedom of passage through the territory of transit countries by all means of transport, in accordance with applicable rules of international law.

These transit countries, in the exercise of their full sovereignty over their territory, have the right to take all measures necessary to ensure that the rights and facilities provided for landlocked countries in no way infringe upon their legitimate interests and also recognize the importance of telecommunications and new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the development of LLDCs and SIDSs.

The Resolution agreed to at WCIT-12 resolves to instruct me, as the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, to study the special situation of telecommunication/ICT services in the LLDCs and SIDSs, taking into account the importance of access to international fibre optic networks at reasonable costs as well as to report to the ITU Council on measures taken with respect to the assistance provided to LLDCs and SIDSs.

ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré has also been mandated to bring this new Resolution to the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations – Ban Ki-moon – with a view of placing this on the agenda of the United Nations High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDSs.

The Resolution passed at WCIT-12 also invites the ITU Council and Member States to cooperate with LLDCs and SIDSs to take appropriate measures to ensure that the Union continues to collaborate actively in the development of telecommunication/ICT services in LLDCs and SIDSs as well assisting these countries in executing telecommunication infrastructure integration projects and programs.

The approved Resolution was unanimously supported by ITU Member States in the true spirit of consensus of ITU – And this lies at the heart of our mission in ITU and particularly its Development Sector, representing all nations no matter their circumstances, and working hard to achieve digital inclusion so that everyone can reap the enormous socio-economic benefits from being truly connected.


Mr. Brahima Sanou is Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau
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Connecting the Unconnected

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