U.A.E. wins three ITU’s awards at WSIS+10 High-Level Event 2014

GENEVA: The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has honoured U.A.E. with the Exceptional Award in recognition and appreciation for its contributions in every aspect of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action Lines set previously during the UN World Summit on the Information Society 2003 in Geneva which brought together world leaders and came up with 11 strategic objectives under the term “Action Lines”. This came during U.A.E.’s participation with a number of entities and members of the WSIS National Committee in the WSIS +10 High Level Event 2014, organised in Geneva between 10-13 June 2014.

“It is a great honour that the International Telecommunications Union has chosen the United Arab Emirates as the recipient of this high-level honorary award at such a significant event. Being recognised for the great achievements at the international level in the field of ICT and for its contribution and commitment to Millennium Development Goals roadmap, is fantastic.

Understanding ways how to better use ICT to enhance social objectives is a key function of our ITU membership and we have made great strides forward in that regard,” Mohamad Al Qamzi, Chairman of the TRA, commented on U.A.E.’s win of the awards at WSIS +10 High Level Event 2014, which is designed to review the progress made in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes under the mandates of participating agencies, and to take stock of achievements in the last 10 years based on reports of WSIS Stakeholders, including those submitted by countries, Action Line Facilitators and other stakeholders.

The U.A.E.’s “Governmental Excellence Award” was received by the head of the delegation, Abdulqader Al Khayyat, TRA Board Member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the ICT Fund, from Secretary-General of ITU, Hamadoun Toure, during the opening ceremony of the WSIS+10 high-level event, in the presence of a host of heads of regional and international organisations, ICT ministers and heads of major international ICT companies.

U.A.E., participating in the summit with ten projects and following the international voting process, has won two other awards: in the ‘Capacity Building’ category (Action Line 4), represented by the Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Programme (MBRSLP), and in 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 programme.

WSIS 2003 “Action Lines” are: the role of government and stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development; information and communication infrastructure: an essential foundation for the information society access to information and knowledge; capacity building; building confidence and security in the use of ICTs; enabling environment; ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content; media; ethical dimensions of the information society; 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. U.A.E., represented by 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 U.A.E. ICT sector year after year and its performance in U.A.E. 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.

U.A.E. contributed to preparing ITU’s comprehensive report this year on “Progress index for all Member States in applying the WSIS action lines” through questionnaires and impressive efforts and partnerships with stakeholders and U.A.E. concerned parties such as Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, The National Center for Documentation & Research and National Bureau of Statistics.

U.A.E. has achieved advanced rankings on the global level in the following services: 1. Ranked first in a 3G mobile coverage in rural areas (from 2009 – 2012).

2. Achieved 100% of connecting public scientific and research centres with broadband Internet access.

3. Achieved 100% of connecting U.A.E. 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 TRA in collaboration with U.A.E.’s telecommunication service providers Etisalat and du, who played an effective role in providing advanced and varied communications services and deploying them in the country especially in rural areas.

The Ministry of Health, health entities and departments in each emirate besides the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and local Municipalities in modernisation and improving their services to keep up with the technological development, also played an effective role.

The ITU’s awarding ceremony saw the participation of Ambassador Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of U.A.E. to United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva, Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director-General of TRA, and Hamad Al Mansouri, Director-General of ‘UAE mGovernment’.

Mr. Al Qamzi said, “Education is a case in point. U.A.E. 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). Through this program, U.A.E. qualified to be a global and regional knowledge and expertise hub in this regard with a clear and well defined strategy adopted by the TRA.”