The global ICT ecosystem is a remarkable feat of engineering and a similarly remarkable feat of international collaboration.
The ICT industry relies on technical standards to an extent rivalled by few other industry sectors.
Our networks and devices interconnect and interoperate thanks to the tireless efforts of thousands of experts worldwide who come together to develop international standards.
International standards provide the technical foundations of the global ICT ecosystem – today’s advanced optical, radio and satellite networks are all based on ITU standards.
95 per cent of international traffic runs over optical infrastructure built in conformance with ITU standards. Video will account for over 80 per cent of all Internet traffic by 2020, and this traffic will rely on ITU’s Primetime Emmy winning video-compression standards.
Standards create efficiencies enjoyed by all market players, efficiencies and economies of scale that ultimately result in lower costs to producers and lower prices to consumers.
Companies developing standards-based products and services gain access to global markets.
And by supporting backward compatibility, ITU standards enable next-generation technologies to interwork with previous technology generations.
At a time when investment in ICT infrastructure is critical, standards protect our past investments while creating the confidence to continue investing in our digital future.
ITU standards aim to provide a common basis for ICT growth and innovation worldwide. That’s why ITU strives to be the world’s most inclusive standardization platform.
A series of ITU events in Dubai last week made a valuable contribution to this inclusivity.
We opened with a two-day ‘hands-on’ training programme for newcomers to the ITU standardization process, welcoming 49 experts from 21 countries. These training sessions simulate the environment of an ITU standardization meeting. They have proven highly effective in helping ITU delegates to develop the practical skills necessary to maximize the value of their participation in ITU standardization. Learn more about these training programmes.
We followed this training with an ITU forum discussing issues pertinent to the African and Arab regions’ participation in ITU-T Study Group 2 (Operational aspects) and ITU-T Study Group 3 (Economic and policy issues), and we concluded the week with meetings of the African and Arab Regional Groups within these two Study Groups.
I would like to thank our host, the United Arab Emirates, for its generous financial support to ITU’s work to bridge the ‘standardization gap’ between developed and developing countries.
UAE is leading by example in building standards capacity in the African and Arab regions.
Developing countries have increased their participation in ITU standardization very significantly in recent years. We have seen a number of success stories emerging as a result.
To give just a few examples…
National regulators promoting high-quality ICT services are receiving expert guidance on the development of appropriate regulatory frameworks.
ICT innovations led by developing countries, innovations such as ‘mobile money’, are now receiving support from ITU international standards addressing security and trust in digital financial services.
Developing countries are keenly aware of the importance of climate action. We are seeing strong participation from developing countries in ITU standardization projects addressing ICTs’ relationship with our environment.
Recent ITU standards provide for lightweight optical cable able to be deployed with minimal expense and environmental impact. These standards are giving developing countries the confidence to consider the rollout of optical networks in some of the world’s most challenging conditions. Nepal, for example, is using this optical cable to connect places as remote as Mount Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Trekking Trail.
The inclusivity of the ITU standardization platform is supported by our Bridging the Standardization Gap programme.
We offer financial assistance to delegates from certain eligible developing countries to support their participation in ITU standardization.
Companies in certain developing countries are able to join ITU for a greatly reduced membership fee.
We continue to increase the number of ITU meetings held in developing countries, and we offer online ‘remote participation’ for the majority of our meetings.
Our guidelines on the establishment of ‘national standardization secretariats’ assist countries in establishing national structures to enhance their participation in regional and international standardization processes.
And regional groups within our standardization expert groups have proven very effective in ensuring that ITU standards address the needs of all the world’s regions.
I encourage you to join the ITU standardization community.
The ITU standardization process ensures that all voices are heard, that standards efforts do not favour particular commercial interests, and that resulting standards have the consensus-derived support of the diverse, globally representative ITU membership.
With an inside view into the development of international standards, developing countries are able to ensure that these standards meet their particular needs and that their national ICT strategies take advantage of reliable standards-based ICTs.
This inside view enables businesses to anticipate major waves of ICT innovation and ensure that their business strategies remain in tune with this innovation.
And with global participation, we ensure the global applicability of ITU standards. We ensure that ITU standards help all countries to share in the ICT advances changing our world.
I look forward to welcoming you to an ITU standardization meeting in the very near future.