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ITU plenipotentiary indaba: Zambia’s role

THIS week, we look at Zambia’s candidacy at the upcoming International Telecommunication Union (ITU) plenipotentiary conference scheduled to take place in October 2014 in Busan, South Korea.
The ITU, the very first United Nations agency to come into existence, was established are in 1865 and is specialised to oversee information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The plenipotentiary conference is the key event at which ITU member states decide on the future role of the organisation, thereby determining the organisation’s ability to influence and affect the development of ICTs worldwide. The plenipotentiary conference is the top policy-making body of the ITU and is held every four years. The main objectives of the conference are to:
* To set the ITU’s general policies;
* To adopt four-year strategic and financial plans; and
* To elect the senior management team of the organisation, the members of council, as well as the members of the Radio Regulations Board
During the first week of the plenipotentiary conference, time will be allocated to high-ranking delegates from ITU member states, for the most part ministers responsible for ICTs in their respective countries, who have expressed their wish to deliver statements in plenary on general policy issues related to the basic functions/missions/objectives of the ITU.
This provides government leaders a to share milestones and policy direction their respective countries are taking in the area of ICT development in line with ITU resolutions.
The plenipotentiary conference elects the secretary-general and the deputy secretary-general, the directors of the bureaus and the members of the Radio Regulations Board. The plenipotentiary conference also elects the member states that will constitute the next ITU Council.
The campaign for Zambia’s candidature for the ITU Council seat is being spearheaded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications as well as the  (ZICTA).
Zambia has over the years continued to work hand in hand with various international organisations such as the ITU and the African Telecommunications Union in its continued effort to promote the access of ICTs for all. The Zambian government, working through ZICTA, continues to set trends in the region and beyond by focusing on the implementation of strategic and key projects such as the national and post code project, the establishment of 204 GSM sites in rural chiefdoms, connecting of learning institutions as well as the establishment of a cyber-security forensic laboratory at Zambia Police Service headquarters, amongst many others.
The forensic laboratory was recently launched by Deputy Secretary General for ITU Mr Houlin Zhao when he visited Zambia. Zambia was one of the countries in the region to establish a computer emergency response team (CERT) to oversee incidents of cyber- security in collaboration with similar such teams in other parts of the world. The country is taking another first by conducting cyber-drills from September 29 to October 1, 2014 to assess its preparedness in the area of cyber-security.
Among the key benefits of having Zambia on the ITU Council is that it is going to help voice the needs of the country and the region at large with regard to the development of the ICT sector as a whole. The exposure will also assist in domestication of the ITU standards and protocols. Being the only southern African state contesting for a council seat, it is expected that once elected, Zambia would be provided the opportunity to represent the southern African region’s interests in the ICT sector.

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