ICT companies, all over the world will celebrate the World Telecommunications and Information Society day today.
The International Telecommunications Union declared the 17th May, the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), as a day to raise awareness on the benefits of ICT tools such as the television, radio, mobile phones and the Internet and other means of bridging the digital divide.
The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is “Better City, Better Life With ICTs,” which is aligned with the 2010 Shanghai World Expo’s “Better Cities, Better Life.” The Shanghai Expo showcases initiatives aimed at achieving greener, safer, healthier, more prosperous, more inclusive, and better-managed cities where over half the world’s population dwells.
This year’s WTISD endeavors to ensure that ICTs will contribute to improve quality of life for the rapidly increasing global urban population.
WTD has been observed annually on May 17 since 1969. The date marks the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the First International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
President Asif Ali Zardari
The ITU has made great contributions to promote telecommunication worldwide through technical cooperation and assistance activities.
It has served as a catalyst in international cooperation for the improvement and rational use of telecommunication and to help developing countries in obtaining appropriate technologies to bridge the yawning information gap between poor and rich countries, President Asif Ali Zardari said in his message on World Telecom and Information Society (WTIS) Day that is being observed on May 17th (today) to mark the 145th anniversary of the establishment of International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The ITU has made great contributions to promote telecommunication worldwide through technical cooperation and assistance activities. It has served as a catalyst in international cooperation for the improvement and rational use of telecommunication and to help developing countries in obtaining appropriate technologies to bridge the yawning information gap between poor and rich countries, President said.
Quick and timely access to relevant information holds the key to development. It is critical for bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. Denying or making it difficult to access latest telecom technologies amounts to depriving the people the right to end poverty. It is therefore of great importance that all countries are provided universal, affordable and equitable access to information communication technologies, President maintained.
The theme for the World Telecom Day this year is – “Better city, better life with ICTs”. Realizing the importance of modern telecom for better life the Government of Pakistan has taken measures to further develop the telecom sector and also press it into service of the people. Improved access to information and knowledge, education and delivery of public service through latest telecom facilities has greatly helped in promoting growth and eradicating poverty in the country. Continuing on the path the government plans to provide a mobile phone to every beneficiary under the Benazir Income Support Program to take the fruits of telecom technology to the door step of the poor women.
On this occasion while we recount and reflect on our achievements in this sector let us also remember that we cannot afford to be complacent. Let us therefore on this day reiterate our resolve to continue pursuing our developmental goals through the acquisition and use of latest international communication technologies, President added.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s Message
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in his message said importance of telecommunications was on display after the earthquake which devastated northern areas Pakistan and most recently in Haiti, especially during the reconstruction phase. ICTs are becoming a catalyst for development and have the ability to raze geographical, social, economic and cultural barriers.
The theme of this year’s observance, “Better Cit, Better Life with ICTs, “ is a reminder that there is a need to take initiatives aimed at achieving greener, safer, healthier, prosperous, inclusive and well-managed cities backed by progressive and innovative policies which treat cities backed by progressive and innovative policies which treat cities and electronic technologies in parallel.
Connectivity and informational capacity will determine wealth and power in our time. The poverty will not just be measured by income or assets but also by the ability to create processes, receive and disseminate information. Government of Pakistan (GoP) policies and public-private joint initiatives for promotion of innovation and ICTs advancement under the umbrella of National ICT R&D Fund and Universal Service Fund will serve to reduce the economic gap between technological “haves and have nots”. The fiber optic connectivity among districts of Pakistan wills serve as digital highways leading towards prosperous Pakistan. National ICT R&D Fund Company has to inculcate the innovative culture of R&D in ICT arena.
Internationally, we need to strengthen ties with multilateral agencies like International Telecommunication Union ITU) to further promote ICTs; particularly as a means of leveraging the social capital especially for education, health, transportation, commerce, good governance and emergency communications.
On this day, I would like to encourage members of the society and decision makers at the national and local government levels, to do a lot more advocacy to encourage institutions and organizations to incorporate and prioritize ICTs into their operational and development plans in line with the far-reaching ITU initiatives, PM concluded.
Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa’s, Minister for IT and Telecom
Minister In-Charge and Advisor to Prime Minister Latif Khosa has said that it is gratifying to note that the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is being celebrated today (Monday), under the theme “Better Cities, Better Life with ICTs” in Pakistan as well as across the globe to mark the 145th anniversary of the establishment of the International Telecommunication Unit (ITU).
In his message on the occasion, he said the efforts and initiatives undertaken by the ITU for the promotion, development and standardization of telecommunication across the globe are appreciable.
He said ITU has always played pivotal role in successfully laying the foundations of a just, equitable and people-centeric Information Society. The celebration of this day, is indeed a landmark in global community’s efforts to involve all stakeholders in creating awareness among the people, highlighting problems and look for solution through use of ICTs.
The Minister said convergence of telecommunication and IT services has created a global telecommunication and information society infrastructure, connected to information networks across the world. Our telecommunication systems are interlinked. Online transactions, e-commerce, banking, telemedicine, e-government and other e-initiatives are extensively being deployed through out the developed and developing world. Trend in Pakistan is no different than presently witnessed in other economies.
The overwhelming availability of converged telecommunication and IT services now gives a true picture of future cities and harmonious life style. Smart buildings, smart grids that will create greater energy efficiency, Intelligent transport system that will significantly improve the travel quality.
He said Multimedia conferencing systems and tele-working technologies will definitely reduce the travel. E-health services provide opportunities for “Safety & Quality” in health care. e-Banking, e/m-Commerce and e-Agriculture improve trade and Production. In a nutshell ICTs have an important role in urban and rural sustainability and better life of citizens.
Mitigate human suffering, promote peace, stem environment imbalance and lead towards restriction of natures bounties for all in equality and foster mother earth’s equilibrium.
Latif Khosa said ITU has been precise in selecting the theme for this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, as “Better Cities, Better Life with ICTs” This will generate awareness among our masses to change and improve their quality of life with the ICT revolution . This effort will also lead to our resolve to encourage the efforts for “Green Telecom“in Pakistan.
Today, we stand as a proud nation for having made significant progress in developing a broad-based and state-of-the-art telecommunication infrastructure. We possess one of the advanced telecommunication infrastructure not only in the region but also amongst the developing countries.
It is a gratifying fact that this year again Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has joined hands with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) by celebrating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) in Pakistan. “Better city, better life with ICTs” is the theme of WTISD for 2010. This theme clearly reflects the importance of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in improving the quality of life in developing societies like Pakistan.
Today, this fact is being acknowledged worldwide that ICTs work like a catalyst in the development of emerging economies of the world. Billions of people living in cities have become dependant on ICT based facilities for their daily life activities. It is becoming difficult with the growing urban population to manage and administer the cities. This is when ICTs can be relied upon in finding solutions to all the problems faced in cities.
It gives me immense pleasure in saying that PTA has proactively realized this proportionality between growth of ICTs and social development. When we take a look on Pakistan’s situation, we find that about 33% of total population lives in urban centers. After achieving considerable success in providing better telecommunication facilities in the cities, we are also targeting the remote and underserved areas of the country to bring them at par with technologically developed cities and towns.
Our mission is to make a common man aware of the revolution that ICTs can bring into his life. For this purpose, PTA is emphasizing on the growth, usage and penetration of broadband to every nook and corner of the country. PTA has also engaged all the stakeholders of the local industry and the regional countries in an effective dialogue.
It has sought their contributions and collaboration to plan roadmap for the future of the telecom industry. PTA also collects money for Universal Service Fund (USF) and R & D Fund from its licensees which is spent effectively on provision of telecom services in under served and un-served areas, research and development projects for IT & telecom sectors respectively resulting in the growth of ICT sector.
We are aware of the fact that majority of Pakistani population is illiterate and less familiar with the use of English language contents that is why we are now focusing on the development of local contents and applications. Besides, PTA has launched the Urdu version of its website and has also taken number of other steps in this regard.
We assure our support and encouragement to the operators in introducing local contents and applications in the fields of education, agriculture, commerce, banking and other areas of common interest. Each of our claims is supported with tangible initiatives and measurable results. One can go through the success story of Pakistan’s telecom sector to understand PTA’s role and contribution.
To celebrate WTISD this year, apart from other measures, PTA has also organized an essay writing competition. Papers have been invited from the general public on the current theme of WTISD. Emphasis has been given to seek concrete recommendations from the participants and cash prizes are being awarded to the best essays. The recommendations would be part of PTA’s future policies with a focus on more affordable and equitable access to information and knowledge through ICTs.
PTA’s vision in this regard is inline with ITU’s mission which aims at achieving greener, safer, healthier, prosperous, inclusive and well-managed cities — where over half the world’s population resides.
On this occasion, I once again assure that PTA is working sincerely and will continue its efforts with full zeal and zest for the rapid development of ICTs in Pakistan.