The author of this week’s reading assignment, WSIS National E-Strategies for Development, is The International Telecommunication Union, commonly referred to as the (ITU). It is in fact the specialized agency of the United Nations for Information Communication Technologies- or ICTs. Based in Geneva, Switzerland as a member of the United Nations Development Group, it shares the same bureaucratic status as UNICEF, UN-Habitat, and the UN World Food Programme. The current head of the ITU is Hamadoun Touré, and it operates within a framework of 193 member states with around 700 Sector Members and Associates.
Within this framework, the ITU attempts to connect the world through its three core divisions. The first, ITU-R, which stands for “Radiocommunication,” manages the international radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The second, ITU-T is the sector devoted to Standardization or ‘standards making’ in addition to being the organizations oldest activity. Before 1992 this division was known as CCITT before it was shortened to its present day acronym. The third, ITU-D, stands for Development, and was created in order to help spread more sustainable access to information and communication technologies- aka ICTs. In addition to these sectors, ITU TELECOM exists to help coordinate major evens for the world’s ICT community.
The organization took its current acronym from its older full name, the International Telegraph Union, back when it was originally chartered in Paris, France in 1865. As technology has expanded and improved over time, their work has evolved from the telegraph, then to analog, and currently to digital technologies, including digital broadcasting, the Internet, mobile devices, and 3D broadcasting.
The sector that we will be dealing with here on this blog will be primarily the work of ITU-D as we discuss and dissect the current and historical work of development professionals around the globe. For more information on the ITU please visit their website and take a closer look at their history.