02 February 2005

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ICT crucial for achieving economic progress - Galea
Information and Communications technologies should serve as tools in achieving technological progress and world leaders should examine the strategic role that this sector can play in reducing poverty in various countries around the globe. This can be done by creating new long-term opportunities in the industry, Competitiveness and Communications Minister Censu Galea said yesterday when addressing delegates at the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) meeting which was held in Malta.
Yesterday’s CEPT meeting formed part of a series of discussions aimed at formulating common European proposals which will then be submitted to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference next year.
“I believe that ICTs should serve as crucial tools for achieving economic progress. This should be attained at all social levels thus ensuring that through communicating, peoples of different nations get closer. Governments, social partners, and the private sector are all key players working jointly to achieve such an environment. This is happening in Malta too. As members of a European single market encompassing over four hundred and fifty million citizens, we have to play leading roles in the provision of such services. This entices our competitiveness as a nation whilst ensuring that domestic consumers are provided with the best quality of service and competitive tariffs throughout the sector” Minister Galea said.
The Competitiveness and Communications Minister suggested that world leaders should focus on the strategic role which Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play in reducing poverty and creating opportunities for a long-term development. “I believe that this CEPT meeting, - which is laying the ground for European proposals in the ITU Plenipotentiary meeting next year- should examine and determine ways of how technology can be exploited in creating new opportunities for third world countries.”
Mr Galea said that so far the ITU has proven that it is capable of meeting its challenges. However, there is no doubt that the unprecedented transformation the world is undergoing will pose far-reaching challenges to the ITU in the future.
“These challenges are set to have major implications on the future role of the ITU. Given that ITU’s involvement in extending the benefits of the information society to all is one of the main purposes of the Union, it is felt that notwithstanding the significant progress that has been made on ITU reform, the union must keep endeavoring to reconfirm and consolidate its place in bridging the digital divide” Minister Galea stressed.
“This conference is an opportunity to discuss what we must do, and seek collaborative efforts to come up with tangible recommendations to strengthen the ITU to enable it to perform its mission more efficiently and effectively” Minister Galea told the European delegates.
In a comment to the press, Malcolm Johnson, the representative of the UK administration, highlighted the importance and relevance of Malta’s involvement in the preparations for the ITU 2006 Plenipotentiary Conference. In particular in the drawing up of the European Common Proposals to be submitted to the conference and for their eventual integration into the ITU’s Constitution and Convention.
Malcolm Johnson underlined the fact that despite the size of the country, Malta is one of the most active members in the ITU and can make a meaningful contribution for the evolution of the information society worldwide through its involvement in ITU and the European and Commonwealth preparation for ITU Conference. “This morning’s presence of Minister Censu Galea at this event is evidence of the importance Malta accords to the international dimension of telecommunications,” Johnson adds.

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