ITU aims to tackle global ICT initiatives in Busan

By Korea Herald

Post-millennium IT development goals top agenda at upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference

  • Published : Apr 21, 2014 - 21:30
  • Updated : Apr 22, 2014 - 09:22
Officials, corporate executives and other high-profile figures in the world’s information, communication and technology industries will convene in Busan in October to discuss pressing global policy issues such as Internet governance, cyber security, the digital divide and climate change.

As a global ICT powerhouse, Korea sees the conference as an opportunity to lead the initiatives in standardization processes and renew the Millennium Development Goals.

“Korea, as the chair of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, will take the lead in setting rules and coordinating with other members for sustainable development and coprosperity,” said Lee Sang-hak, deputy secretary general of the ITU Plenipotentiary Secretariat, in an interview with The Korea Herald. 
Lee Sang-hak, deputy secretary general of the ITU Plenipotentiary Secretariat (ICT Ministry)

Up to 193 ITU state members are scheduled to meet in Busan to set mid- and long-term strategies for the world’s ICT industries.

In 2000, state members chose disease, education and environment as Millennium Development Goals, and the ITU plans to offer updates and renew the goals ahead of the 2015 deadline.

“We will work to reach a consensus on some of the most difficult issues in the industry,” Lee added.

In particular, the deputy secretary general expects a heated debate on Internet governance and said he hoped to see meaningful progress on how to redistribute the governing authority being relinquished by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

As ICT is increasingly being used in medical fields, the ITU will also look into the standardization of remote medical treatment technology, currently a controversial issue.

Research is being conducted at the ITU-T for telecommunication standardization and the ITU-D for telecommunication development to set up telemedicine standards and policies.

“ITU is cooperating with the World Health Organization in these matters,” Lee said.

The by-products of ICT, including hacking and invasion of privacy, are also on the discussion agenda, according to the deputy secretary general.

As for other sectors, Korea plans to suggest ways to protect the world’s ICT infrastructure and prevent stored data from being destroyed by natural disasters or hacking. Private companies will be urged to join the initiative, Lee said.

“Korea will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings with other ITU members and heads of international organizations to show that it is willing to make the transition from fast follower to first mover in the field of ICT.”

Busan will be the first Asian city to host the ITU conference since it was held in Kyoto in 1994.

Since one nation from each of five regions ― America, South Europe, East Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific ― takes turns hosting the meeting, it will be another century before Korea plays host again.

By Kim Young-won (