Emerging Trends | ICT4SDG | ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018
October 23, 2018

Meet the Candidates: Doreen Bogdan‑Martin for Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

ITU’s Member States will soon elect the Union’s top executives at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ITU News is highlighting written interviews (Q&As) with the candidates for each of ITU’s top posts. Below is the Q&A for Doreen Bogdan‑Martin, candidate for Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau.

How should ITU evolve to maintain relevance in today’s world?

Capitalize on our networks through partnerships. ITU must develop collaborative and innovative partnerships among members and with investors, operators, technology companies, development banks, expert bodies and other international institutions. Partnerships are key catalysts for innovation, scalability, and deployment.

Do more with our data in today’s data-driven world. ITU must serve our members’ needs better by converting our raw data into intelligence, strengthening our forecasting capability, and enabling big data analytics. We must embrace innovation in data collection and analysis.

Upgrade our capacity building for today’s complex and rapidly changing environment. We must equip members with cutting‑edge knowledge from the private sector and universities, as well as modernize our training courses and publications.

“ITU needs to get closer to its members on the ground. We must provide better, tailored technical assistance and direct in-country projects and services.”

Strengthen our presence in the field. Today’s world is diverse across its various regions, so ITU needs to get closer to its members on the ground. We must provide better‑tailored technical assistance and direct in‑country projects and services.

Increase our efficiency. ITU must become more agile and accelerate delivery of our work for our members. We need to prioritize our resources, increase transparency, strengthen accountability, and improve project management.

What are your top three priorities and how do you plan to achieve them?

Priority 1: Enhance ITU’s data resources and capacity building for the digital era

To create more rigorous and consistent data sources, I plan to add real‑time, end‑user data and analytics to data sent by administrations by partnering with innovative groups such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the World Bank’s Development Data Group, GSMA, and United Nations (UN) Global Pulse.

“Partnerships are key catalysts for innovation, scalability, and deployment.”

Enhanced internal data resources will also expand opportunities for partnerships with our academic membership. With them, we can develop courses in key areas related to enhancing digital knowledge and skills. We will make these more accessible to our membership by deploying contemporary learning tools, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs), online seminars, and podcasts. The same experts who contribute to our knowledge products will prepare and deliver related training modules and pursue joint research projects.

Priority 2: Localize assistance to our members

I will strategically and systematically strengthen our regional offices, staffing them with experienced subject-matter experts and drawing on engagement with the UN Development system and UN Partners. We will ensure that our offices are fit‑for‑purpose and empowered to serve our members efficiently and effectively in order to achieve the regional initiatives adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference.

Priority 3: Multiply our impact through partnerships

I will prioritize collaboration with our network of partners so as to augment the use of resources. By working with external organizations such as IEEE, and the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as with our UN sister agencies, we will enhance our impact on the ground and ability to scale.

What do you see as ITU’s unique role in accelerating progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are a cross‑cutting enabler for each and every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the very backbone of today’s digital economy. ITU is uniquely positioned to accelerate progress as both: (1) a UN body with a committed global development outlook; and (2) an integral hub for the global ICT industry, policy‑makers and regulators.

“ITU must serve our members’ needs better by converting our raw data into intelligence, strengthening our forecasting capability, and enabling big data analytics.”

We can add great value in three dimensions:

  • Leverage the “horizontals”: ITU should help its Member States to integrate SDGs into national development strategies and policy frameworks to increase investment, competition, and innovation in enabling networks, services, and applications. These efforts can be reflected in an improved annual SDG “Voluntary National Review” leading up to the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF).
  • Broker the “verticals”: ITU should play a strategic role in increasing sector‑specific understanding and opening up opportunities between the “SDG demand side” and the “ICT supply side”. We are uniquely positioned to partner with other UN bodies to bring policy‑makers from ICT and particular sectors together with network and application providers. We can help seize development opportunities through digital financial inclusion, digital health, on‑line and life‑long learning and digital skills training, e‑commerce, digital entrepreneurship (job creation), and intelligent transport for urban management.
  • Play a fuller part in the UN SDG processes: We should bolster ITU’s work with the UN Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs, actively contributing to the annual Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) event agenda. This will include playing a lead role in the annual review of SDG 17, which focuses on global partnerships. We should also directly engage in the implementation of the Youth 2030 strategy focusing on capacity building and promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship to achieve the SDGs.

What has been your most important leadership achievement?

One of my strengths is identifying needs and executing solutions for ITU and our membership. In this vein, I successfully developed and implemented various creative initiatives and partnerships, including the Global Symposium for Regulators, the establishment of the UN ITU office in New York, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, EQUALS — the Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, BYND 2015 Global Youth Summit, and the interagency group which led the ICTs 4SDGs advocacy work.

How have you built consensus amongst diverse stakeholders?

Put simply — I build consensus by listening, consolidating common interests, and proposing sound alternatives that address the stakeholders’ objectives. I applied these basic principles throughout the work mentioned above, as well as when I serve as Secretary to the ITU Council, or the Plenipotentiary Conference, and chair of various committees.

What else would you like to add?

I am part of the Faculty of the SDG Academy and currently teach a Tech4Good course. I am a member of the Board of Governors of the UN System Staff College, and an Affiliate of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. I am the current chair of the UN Strategic Planning Network and a member of the WEF Internet for All Steering Committee. I am a member of the governing committee of the Swiss Network for International Studies. I am an amateur radio operator. I am a spouse and a very proud mother of four amazing teenagers.

“I will strategically and systematically strengthen our regional offices, staffing them with experienced subject-matter experts and drawing on engagement with the UN Development system and UN Partners.”

I believe in the mission and value of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), and I look forward to the opportunity to lead a dynamic BDT that advances equitable and affordable access to connectivity for all.

Doreen Bogdan‑Martin, prior to announcing her candidacy, was the Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership at ITU. Learn more about Ms. Bogdan-Martin and the other candidates for ITU’s top posts on the Candidates page of the PP-18 website.
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Meet the Candidates: Doreen Bogdan‑Martin for Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

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