World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) marks the establishment of ITU on 17 May, 1865. It brings attention to the potential of ICTs in meeting the development and economic aspirations of societies and on the importance of the Internet as a global resource. This year’s theme for WTISD, “Better City, Better Life with ICT”, is in keeping with the overarching theme — Better City, Better Life — of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China where the global ceremony commemorating the occasion was held.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Award
Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak has made connectivity one of his priorities. As part of the New Economic Model for Malaysia, he has placed a high priority on strengthening ICT infrastructure. His administration has supported the work of ITU in strengthening global cybersecurity through the IMPACT Centre in Cyberjaya near Kuala Lumpur. In his message delivered at the ceremony, the Prime Minister noted that the 145th anniversary of ITU, the oldest agency of the United Nations family, highlights the tremendous progress we have achieved as a global community and further paves the way for the opportunities and potential ICTs present to us in achieving our goals of social and economic development. “In this increasingly interconnected and networked world that we live in, it has become critically important for us to keep abreast with the latest technological advancements and continue to tap the huge potential of ICT to build an open, inclusive and knowledge-based society,” Prime Minister Najib said. “It is also apt to note that this year’s theme ‘Better city, better life with ICTs’ becomes a timely reminder for us that the digital divide exists not only in the rural areas but also amongst those less fortunate in the cities.”
Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib, addressing a global audience at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai said, “Let us strive to achieve knowledge, lasting peace, and harmony through ICT — the driving force that brings home civilizational changes for us all worldwide.”
The Award was accepted on behalf of the Prime Minister by the Minister of Information, Communication and Culture of Malaysia, Mr Rais Yatim.
Mr Wang Jianzhou is Executive Director, Chairman and CEO of China Mobile, which operates the world’s largest mobile network with over 500 million subscribers. The China Mobile network covers all major cities in China as well as outlying and remote rural areas. “Just as progress of communication and information technologies boosted human economic and cultural development, new service architectures including the Internet of Things will bring further and more profound influence to the world,” Mr Wang said. “We look forward to better human welfare brought by broader ICT applications, and are ready and willing to make our own contributions along this journey.” Wang added that on its 145th anniversary, “ITU has become a great promoter and contributor for international telecom standardization, telecom infrastructure improvement, network and technology evolution, as well as development of business and service specifications”.
Mr Robert Kahn, President and CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), played a key pioneering role in the development of the Internet. He laid the foundations of the TCP/IP protocol architecture, which is a standard operating feature of the Internet. CNRI is a non-profit organization that focuses on the strategic development of network-based information technologies and Kahn has continued to nurture the evolution of the Internet, steering the development of new standards. “The contributions of ITU to the orderly progress of telecommunications and standards, from the earliest days to the present, are well known,” Kahn said as he expressed his appreciation to be designated a laureate for 2010. “I believe ITU has a role to play in the ongoing dialogue about the future of the Internet, and I look forward to sustained contributions from ITU in its standards efforts, in coordination of the usage of radio spectrum, and in the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals for the less developed countries.”
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour welcomed the three eminent laureates who have contributed to connecting the world through the Internet and the mobile phone and in making cyberspace a safer place for users everywhere. “Today, more than half the global population lives in an urban environment and a million or more people inhabit over 400 cities worldwide,” said Dr Tour. “In this context, the laureates of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Award — Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, Mr Wang Jianzhou and Mr Robert Kahn — have contributed immensely to the development of ICTs that will make a profound impact on environmentally sound and sustainable development of our cities while strengthening network security.”
The World Telecommunication and Information Society Award ceremony was held in the Blue Hall of the World Expo Centre in Shanghai. The high-level Chinese delegation was led by the Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China Mr Li Yizhong.
ITU Flag flies at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China
The ITU flag was hoisted today at the World Expo 2010 site marking ITU’s ‘Honour Day’ on the occasion of the 145th anniversary of the Union. Speaking at the flag hoisting ceremony, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour said, “The world has changed almost beyond recognition over the past century and a half, and much of this change has been driven by advances in information and communication technologies. ITU has championed the rights of all people to communicate and to have equitable and affordable access to modern communications technology. And I stand committed to making the world a better place by using the power of ICTs to drive change.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for ICT deployment to protect the environment
In his message on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The theme of this year’s observance, ‘Better Cities, Better Life with ICTs’ is a reminder that communications technologies must be employed — and disposed of — in a manner that raises living standards while protecting the environment.” Mr Ban also noted: “Greater access can mean faster progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Internet drives trade, commerce and even education. Telemedicine is improving health care. Earth monitoring satellites are being used to address climate change. And green technologies are promoting cleaner cities. As these innovations grow in importance, so, too, does the need to bridge the digital divide.”
ICT and Urban Development: Forum in Ningbo, China
‘Better Cities, Better Life with ICT’, the theme for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, found expression in an international theme forum organized by World Expo 2010 in Ningbo, located across the Hangzhou Bay from Shanghai. A bustling, yet charming port city at the confluence of the Yao and Fenghua rivers which then meander into the East China Sea as the River Yong, this ‘Silk Road on the Sea’ has witnessed the ebb and flow of ancient civilizations. This weekend, the city hosted an international gathering of international experts, academics and civic authorities to discuss the issues of a modern age: ICT and Urban Development.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Award laureates Wang Jianzhou, CEO of China Mobile, and Robert Kahn, CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, participated as did ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour, Deputy Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and last year’s laureate Deborah Tate. They were joined by around 600 participants from 15 countries.
An interactive dialogue on the Internet and ICT industry broadcast live on CCTV brought up a lively debate centred on several questions: What further changes will the Internet bring in the future? What direction is the information industry taking in moulding the future cyberspace? And what should the priorities be to contribute to a better future?
Discussions centred on the role of ICTs in urban management and the development of environmentally sustainable cities, improving access to municipal services such as shelter, healthcare, water, sanitation, and education, connecting citizens to networking opportunities as well as to information and knowledge, and to strive to achieve improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.
ITU Film: ICTs for a Better Future premieres at the World Expo
An ITU film on ICTs for a Better Future premiered today, 17 May at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai during the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day ceremony. The film, which will be on permanent display in the UN Pavilion at the World Expo, can also be viewed online from the ITU website. The film was produced in collaboration with UNTV, Geneva.