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Uganda eyes International Telecommunications Union seat
The 18th Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has opened in Mexico where Uganda has intensified its campaign to get a seat the in Region D (Africa) Council.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference that opened in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Mr Patrick Mwesigwa, said he is confident that Uganda would return to ITU Council for Region D (Africa).

Uganda last served on the ITU Council in 2002 to 2006. Presently, twenty African countries are contesting for the 13 seats allocated to the region.

The Ugandan delegation has intensified its lobbying for support at the ongoing event, which is taking place at the Guadalajara Expo Centre from October 4-22.

The delegation includes senior officials from UCC and the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MoICT), and is led by the Minister for ICT, Hon. Aggrey Awori who is expected to address the Conference on October 8, 2010, ahead of the ITU elections.

At least 2,000 delegates, participants from some 190 ITU Member States, Sector Members and observer organisations, including over 80 Ministers, 40 Deputy Ministers, and 40 ambassadors, are attending the three week event, hosted by Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transport.

The Plenipotentiary meets every four years to decide on strategy for ITU – an agency of the United Nations for Information and Communications Technology (ICT). ITU is responsible for allocating global radio spectrum, creating the technical standards that fuel all ICT networks, and developing and implementing strategies to bridge the digital divide.

Held every four years, the event sets the strategic direction of the organisation and proposes new policies and recommendations that reflect the changing needs of its membership.

During the opening ceremony, Mexican President Hon. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa said telecommunication was an indispensable tool to achieve justice and equality whilst outlining his government’s strategies and programmes to bridge the digital divide and ensure that “those who have the least have access to telecommunications.”

The ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré, urged delegates to be “bold and visionary” in reaching agreements that will provide a sound platform for the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and services for the decade ahead.

Dr Touré called upon delegates to “imagine, to innovate, and to create a bright, long-term future for the ICT sector.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a speech delivered by ITU Deputy Secretary-General Mr Zhao, told delegates to work in developing the next generation of communications networks, ensuring cybersecurity, and putting the power of ICT networks to good use in disaster relief and mitigation is vitally important to us all.

Delegates are expected to discuss a number of issues, ranging from cybersecurity, Internet addressing, international telecommunication regulations, broadband access, ICT and climate change, and the enhanced use of ICT in mitigating climate change and delivering emergency communication in the wake of natural disasters.


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