Over 2,250 VIPs, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, Ambassadors, heads of regulatory agencies, and CEOs from around the world, came together for the week-long event, which featured a series of top-level roundtables, meetings and lively debate on the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in addressing many of the most pressing issues of our time, such as climate change, global economic recovery and cybersecurity.
“During this past week, I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting with participants from all walks of the industry; from young entrepreneurs heading start-ups to CEOs of major ICT companies and prominent political leaders,” said Dr Hamadoun Tour, ITU Secretary-General.
A quick walk through the exhibition halls was enough to confirm that the ICT industry continues to be driven by rapid innovation, despite the economic downturn. But while visitors were often dazzled by the many exciting technologies on display, Tour stressed the importance of working together to make global networks accessible to all, and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
“ITU believes that meeting connectivity goals in ICT will help other sectors like health and education meet their targets by 2015. The concrete connections and partnerships forged this week, and the discussions I’ve been privileged to share, inspire me with confidence that nations and industry are committed to transforming lives by harnessing the power of modern digital technologies.”
Participants and delegates attended from 186 countries – almost the entire gamut of ITU’s 191 Member States. The show floor played host to 456 exhibitors from 49 countries, spanning just about every ICT domain, from the very latest wireless innovations to low-cost broadband solutions to satellite systems.
“ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 is an outstanding forum that provides businesses, governments and NGOs the opportunity to collaborate on today’s leading issues,” said John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems. “Under the visionary leadership of ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour, this year’s ITU TELECOM WORLD has unveiled new ways that ICTs can improve the global standard of living through healthcare, education and sustainability.”
VVIP summits brought Heads of State and Government, ICT ministers and heads of regulatory agencies from around the world, together with top C-level decision makers for discussion on critical areas such as cybersecurity, climate change and the role of ICTs in economic development. Heads of State and Heads of Government were unanimous in recognizing the role of technology as a key tool in helping combat climate change, acknowledging the need to have ICTs recognized in the upcoming Copenhagen agreement. They also joined forces to offer condolences for victims of the recent natural disasters in Indonesia, the Philippines and the Pacific Islands.
The criticality of information-sharing in disaster response was reinforced by a key announcement at the event that will see 18 countries around the Indian Ocean rim participate in a United Nations-backed tsunami exercise. The exercise will stress the fact that, through good climate science and information sharing, ICTs can help reduce the risk and impact of natural disasters.
Forum sessions brought together players from across the ICT sector, from Ministers to CEOs, CTOs and technical and policy experts to discuss areas such as the new technologies shaping the future of ICT, the challenges of regulation in a fast-changing environment, and cybersecurity. Sessions featured roundtables and interactive panel discussions, with participants encouraged to put forward their questions via a range of different formats. For the first time, Forum sessions were webcast live to a global audience, allowing many more to share in the debate.
Companies, countries and regions from across the globe demonstrated the latest technologies on the show floor. Alongside major names and household brands were 35 pavilions from around the world, including a range of thematic pavilions which focused on key areas such as [email protected], e-Health, and empowering people with disabilities through ICTs.
“UNESCO, together with its partners, came to TELECOM WORLD 2009 to display assistive technologies and raise awareness of our mission – which is to mobilize new, action orientated partnerships and further cooperation among stakeholders”, said Abdul Waheed Khan, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO. “As the role of ICTs in enhancing our global wellbeing was in the spotlight this week, we feel real progress has been made in achieving that goal. This event brought together the whole world of ICTs and underlined a vital message – that ICTs must be accessible to all.”
Over 250 young people from 135 countries took part in this year’s Youth Forum, following an action-packed programme of discussion and debate focusing on areas including Innovative technologies and services; New Visions, Policy & Regulation; and Connecting Schools to Connect Communities. During the course of their week in Geneva, Youth Fellows had opportunities to interact and develop mentor relationships with senior members of the ICT sector, such as government officials, industry executives, technology leaders and more.