THIS week, we look at Zambiaâ€™s candidacy at the upcoming International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference scheduled to take place this monthÂ in Busan, South Korea.
The ITU, the very first United Nations Agency to come into existence, was established 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 organization, thereby determining the organisationâ€™s ability to influence and affect the development of Information and Communication Technologies (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 is to:
* Set the Unionâ€™s general policies;
* Adopt four-year strategic and financial plans; and
* Elect the senior management team of the organisation, of members of the 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 Union.
This provides government leaders 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, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Directors of the Bureaux 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 Zambiaâ€™s candidature for ITU Council seat is being spearheaded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Ministry of Transport works Supply and Communications as well as ZICTA.
Zambia has over the years continued to work hand in hand with various international organizations 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 Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (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 Lab at Police Headquarters amongst many others.
The forensic laboratory was recently launched by Deputy Secretary General for ITU Mr. Houlin Zhao when he undertook a country visit. 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-drill 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 regards 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 contesting for a Council seat, it is expected that once elected, Zambia would be provided the opportunity to represent the Southern African regionâ€™s interests in the ICT sector.