The concluding day of the fifth World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), held from 24 May until 4 June, adopted the Hyderabad Action Plan.
The Hyderabad Action Plan outlines a road map to foster the global development of information and communication technology (ICT) networks and services over the next four-year cycle. The roll out of next-generation networks (NGN) and increased access to broadband services, wireless technologies and the internet were recognised as catalysts to achieve the broader development goals.
The Hyderabad Declaration states: “*Broad access to telecommunications and ICTs is essential for the world’s collective economic, social and cultural development, and the building of a global Information Society. This access brings new opportunities for interaction amongst people, for sharing of the world’s knowledge resources and expertise, for transforming people’s lives, and for contributing to the global development agenda.”*
The fifth WTDC was attended by 924 delegates, including 758 government delegates from 138 countries and 6 representatives from Palestine, 88 public and private sector representatives from 28 companies, 16 representing telecommunication-related entities from 7 countries and 56 representatives from 25 regional and international organisations.
P J Thomas, Secretary, India’s Department of Telecommunications and Chairman of the Conference, says the increasing role of ICT in the life of the common man could not be over emphasised and keeping in view the latest technological developments in ICT, the Hyderabad declaration adopted by WTDC-10 *”will play a decisive role in the development of the ICT sector across the world, especially in developing countries.”*
Policy makers and regulators pledged to promote affordable access to telecommunications and ICTs aimed at fostering sustainable development worldwide, with attention given to least developed countries (LDCs) and countries with special needs. New opportunities arising from the widespread use of ICTs were also cited in improving e-government services such as healthcare and education and to step up the drive to alleviate poverty and create jobs, especially among poor and marginalized populations, including women, children, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.
##Setting the Pace for ICT development##
*“With a true spirit of collaboration among Member States, this landmark conference has achieved consensus in many important areas,”* said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. *“The decisions we have reached here in Hyderabad have provided a compelling vision and plan of action for the next four years, in addition to laying the groundwork for ICT development across the world for many years to come.”*
The WTDC-10 Hyderabad Action Plan is the culmination of a series of regional preparatory meetings that took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (for Asia-Pacific); Kampala, Uganda (Africa); Santa Marta, Colombia (Americas); Minsk, Belarus (CIS); Andorra La Vella (Europe); and Damascus, Syria (Arab States). The preparatory meetings outlined initiatives from each region based on agreed categories among all stakeholders and region-specific priorities, such as:
• Development of broadband infrastructure
• Transition from analogue to digital broadcasting and management of spectrum
• Harmonizing policy and regulatory frameworks to foster an enabling environment
• Reduction of Internet access costs
• Human and institutional capacity building
• Strengthening cybersecurity and building confidence in the use of ICTs
• Emergency telecommunications
• ICTs as a solution to combat climate change
• ICT applications for economic and social development, such as e-Health
• Improving regional interconnectivity
• Achieving universal access
The International Telecommunication Union, through the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), organizes the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) every four years as well as a number of Regional Preparatory Meetings (RPMs) within that same period.
The Telecommunication Development Conferences serve as forums for free discussion by all concerned with the Development Sector. In addition, they review the numerous programmes and projects of the Sector and BDT. Results are reported and new projects are launched. The World Conferences set the agenda and the guidelines for the following four-year cycle, while the Regional Conferences review “work-in-progress” towards the overall objectives and ensure that goals are met.