ITU begins three-week conference in Busan

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ITU begins three-week conference in Busan

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) kicks off its quadrennial Plenipotentiary Conference in Korea’s largest port city of Busan today.

The three-week convention is expected to attract about 3,000 ministers and high-level government officials from 170 countries.

The conference is the highest policy-making event held by the ITU, and its decisions impact public telecom policies worldwide, as well as moves in the private sector.

The ITU is an agency under the United Nations that specializes in information and communications technology. It aims to improve access to digital technologies globally, particularly in less advanced nations.

It primarily assigns wireless frequency bandwidths and satellite orbits to countries and establishes standards for information and telecommunications technologies (ICT) that all members must follow.

This is the first time the conference has been held in Korea since the ITU’s establishment in 1865.

Over three weeks, the delegates - including Korea’s ICT experts - will determine and outline policies for the future of ITU.

Yesterday, ICT ministers announced the adoption of their Busan Declaration, which emphasizes the need to close the information and technology gap between developing and advanced nations as well as among different social classes.

It also stressed that the development of technology could play a role in alleviating poverty after the 2015 deadline for the UN Millennium Development Goals that aim to improve health and education access and wipe out destitution worldwide.

“ICT development nowadays is a key booster in economic growth and job creation. The expansion of Internet of Things technologies, especially, will greatly change our social and economic structures,” Choi Yang-hee, the minister of science, ICT and future planning and the host of this year’s ITU conference, said yesterday at a ministerial meeting. “I hope this meeting becomes a cornerstone where ICT authorities and industries can start discussing how it will enhance human life overall,” he added.

Separately, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced on Saturday that Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia had informed Korea that they would not be sending representatives to Busan for the conference amid fears about the spread of Ebola.

BY Kim Ji-yoon []

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