The International Telecommunication Union has underscored the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in disaster early warning and response through the launch of two important new global initiatives: the ITU Network of Volunteers for Emergency Telecommunications and the Global Emergency Fund for Rapid Response.
ITU’s 2nd Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications: Saving Lives, which ended weekend in Kuwait City, discussed trends and emerging technological innovations, financing mechanisms, country case studies, challenges in deploying ICTs in disaster zones, climate change issues and the role of the private sector and other non-state stakeholders.
“This was a very successful event,” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao says while noting that “nearly every day, a disaster strikes somewhere in the world. The high number of participants reflects the common will to join forces to help reduce the impact of disasters.”
The adopted outcomes of GET-2016 provide strategic guidance to the national and international community and will result in increased knowledge of the role different entities could play in giving telecommunications/ICT a central role in disaster mitigation and management.
“At this Forum, we have adopted practical strategies to strengthen the world’s response in emergencies,” Salim Alozainah, GET2016 Chairman and Chairman and CEO of the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) said during his presentation of the final report of the forum.
“We all gathered in Kuwait to harness the enormous potential of telecommunications and ICT to save lives when disasters strike,” Brahima Sanou adds.
Launching the ITU Network of Volunteers for Emergency Telecommunications and the Global Emergency Fund for Rapid Response, Mr Sanou of ITU invited all stakeholders to contribute to life-saving initiatives.
Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga, says that “all participants at the forum agreed that ICT is a key tool for disaster management. They further stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder approach and showed unwavering support to the initiatives launched by ITU, as they will greatly help countries to enhance their capacity and provide accessible resources to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and save lives.”