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Presidents of Burkina Faso, Rwanda address new trends in ICT

The ITU's recent high-level meeting on ICT trends aimed to strengthen cybersecurity and mitigate climate change. Present were the Presidents of Burkina Faso and Rwanda.

This month's ITU high-level meeting on emerging trends in the ICT sector, including climate change and cybersecurity, brought together the Presidents of Burkina Faso and Rwanda along with ministers, regulators and heads of UN agencies.

In his message to the gathering, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed ITU's commitment to connecting the world. Commending ITU's work in striving to make the ICT sector climate neutral, Mr Ban said: "Climate change is the defining challenge of our era. Your work to cut greenhouse gas emissions, develop standards and use e-environment systems can speed up the global shift to a low-carbon economy."

"Climate change is a grave concern for all humanity," stressed ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré. "Redressing the damage already done and mitigating future impact will require concerted efforts on the part of everyone, including the ICT sector." He said ITU can play an active and valuable role in helping reduce carbon emissions, for example, through the development of technical standards that lower the power requirements of ICT equipment and services, and through helping pioneer new technologies that help reduce the carbon footprint of other industries, eg, the automotive sector.

ICTs: Catalysts of change

"ITU is ready to change the world!" declared HE Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, adding that ICT opens enormous possibilities to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases by using energy efficient means such as advanced web conferencing and telecommuting. "The rational use of ICTs in the service of economic, social and environmental development requires the transfer of technologies and the adoption of policies and programmes aimed at helping developing countries, in particular those in Africa, at reducing the Digital Divide," continued President Compaoré.

Rwanda's President HE Paul Kagame, speaking of the catalytic role of ICTs in achieving the development goals, noted: "There can be no doubt in the vital role of ICTs in development. This is why we were very pleased to co-host with ITU the ground-breaking Connect Africa Summit in October 2007." He also said "ICT constitutes business in itself" and felt confident that his and other countries will achieve its goals in time".

Focusing on cybersecurity, President Kagame said, "Just as the borderless cyberspace makes the Internet a powerful vehicle for spreading and deepening knowledge and innovations, it also exposes global users to cybercrimes." Stressing the need to strengthen cybersecurity and online child protection, President Kagame said: "We must draw on the success and experience of existing models to build global awareness and develop practical tools for governments, educators, and parents to minimise risks to young people. The youth are natural and enthusiastic adopters of technology, and many routinely surf the Web and participate in online chat-rooms, network, and view all types of information and data - some of which are harmful. For this reason, protection of children and young people must be one of the central pillars of any efforts to ensure a safe online environment."

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