The United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated with a number of UAE entities and members of the WSIS National Committee in the WSIS +10 High Level Event held in Geneva from June 10 to 13, 2014.
The ITU honored the UAE represented by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), with the ‘Exceptional Award’ in recognition and appreciation for the UAE’s contributions in every aspect of the WSIS Action Lines set previously during the UN World Summit on the Information Society 2003 in Geneva which was attended by world leaders and resulted in 11 strategic objectives under the term “Action Lines” as follows:
1. The role of Government and stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
2. Information and communication infrastructure: an essential foundation for the Information Society
3. Access to information and knowledge
4. Capacity Building
5. Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs
6. Enabling Environment
7. ICT Applications:Benefits in all aspects of life
8. Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content
10. Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society
11. International and Regional Cooperation
Following the WSIS 2003, the TRA took several practical steps during the last ten years and within the time frame specified by the WSIS 2003 in Geneva. It also formed a national committee headed by the TRA with membership of a number of stakeholders in the state from both public and private sectors. This committee spared no effort to meet all the WSIS objectives and action lines. The UAE, represented by the TRA, was committed to raising periodic and annual reports starting from 2009, to include the state’s achievements according to the set action lines, and handed over these reports to the WSIS global forums during the period from 2009 to 2014. In these reports, the TRA has also provided on an annual basis data on all ICT sector indicators such as mobile phone and fixed broadband penetration rates, etc. which briefed the progress achieved by the UAE ICT sector year after year and its performance in the UAE. Furthermore, the authority has carried out many surveys since 2005 until the date among the public sector, business sector and household sector to review their use of ICT services.
The ITU issued its comprehensive report this year on “Progress index for all Member States in applying the WSIS action lines”. The UAE was one of the countries that contributed in preparing this report through questionnaires and impressive efforts and partnerships with stakeholders and the UAE concerned parties such as Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, The National Center for Documentation & Research and National Bureau of Statistics,and achieved advanced rankings on a global level in the following services:
1. The UAE ranked first in a 3G mobile coverage in rural areas (from 2009 – 2012).
2. Achieved 100% of connectingpublic scientific and research centers with broadband Internet access.
3. Achieved 100% of connecting UAE hospitals to the Internet.
4. Achieved 100% of internet connectivity at households (from 2011 – 2012).
5. Achieved 100% of connecting Public libraries and museums with broadband Internet access.
6. Achieved 100% of the actual rate of business using mobile phones.
These achievements came as a result of the strenuous efforts made by the TRA in collaboration with the telecommunication service providers in the UAE (Etisalat and du) for their effective role in providing advanced and varied communications services and deploying them in the country especially in rural areas, in addition to the role played by Ministry of Health, health entities and departments in each emirate besides Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research and local Municipalities in modernization and improving their services to keep up with the technological development.
The UAE’s “Governmental Excellence Award” was received by the head of the delegation, H.E. Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayyat, TRA Board Member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the ICT Fund during the opening ceremony of the WSIS+10 high-level event from the ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Toure and in the presence of a big number of heads of regional and international organizations and ICT ministers and heads of major international ICT companies. The ceremony witnessed the participation of H.E the Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva and other international organizations andHE TRA Director General Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim and H.E. Hamad Al Mansouri, “UAE mGovernment” Director General.
The UAE participated during this summit with ten projects among other countries projects and after the international voting process on all the projects involved, the UAE won two awards from the top prizes, first from the capacity building category (Action Line 4) represented by the Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme (MBRSLP) and second from the “ICT Applications: benefits in all aspects” category (Action Line 7)represented by the Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre’s (ADSIC) through its e-citizen program.
H.E. Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayat confirmed in a statement about this occasion the strength of the bilateral relations between the UAE and the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations leading ICT organization based in Geneva, pointing out that the UAE’s plan contributes to the joint continuous cooperation with the annual WSIS forum aimed at spreading knowledge and raising awareness in the community on both local and international levels. This reflects the UAE’s commitment with the guidance and recommendations of the World Summit on the Information Society. Moreover, the UAE dedicates all the country’s concerned parties’ efforts to achieve the desired objectives and reinforce the UAE’s leading role played at international organizations.
“It is a great honor that the International Telecommunications Union has chosen the United Arab Emirates to receive this high level honorary award in such a significant event. Being recognized for the great achievements at the international level in the field of ICT and its contribution and commitment to Millennium Development Goals roadmap, is fantastic. Understanding ways how to better use ICT to enhance social objectives in a key function of our ITU membership and we have made great strides forward in that regard. Education is a case in point, the UAE has become a world leader in smart learning through the ‘Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Program’ which recently became one of the initiatives adopted by Arab countries at the World Telecommunication Development Conference hosted recently in Dubai in March this year (30 March-10 April). The UAE and through this program became qualified to be a global and regional knowledge and expertise hub in this regard through a clear and well defined strategy adopted by the TRA,” commented H.E Mohamad Al Qamzi, Chairman of the TRA.
“The UAE has increased its already promising international reputation among ITU members through its impressive contribution to the three main sectors: of the ITU Radio communication (ITU-R), Telecommunication Standards (ITU-T), and Telecommunication Development (ITU-D). The UAE has also further contributed to the cause of the ITU through its membership in the ITU Council and its involvement in the review of decisions and recommendations submitted to the working committees. Moreover, this award came in recognition of the UAE’s ongoing effort to host significant and high level ITU international events during the last three years where the nation, represented by TRA, hosted and chaired the World Conference on International Telecommunications (on December 2012), the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (November 2012) and the World Telecommunication Development Conference (2014), in addition to hosting the World Telecommunication Exhibition (ITU Telecom 2012) and chairmanship of the World Radio communication Conference in Geneva in 2012,” he added.
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