2 November 2010
H.E. Dr. Kamel and H.E. Mr. Maged George Inaugurate the Fifth Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change Organized by ITU

H.E. Dr. Tarek Kamel and Minister of State for Environmental Affairs H. E. Mr. Maged George accompanied by Director of Communications Development in the ITU Dr. Sami Beshir inaugurated today the "5th Symposium on ICTs, The Environment and Climate Change" organized by the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) and hosted by Egypt. It is worth mentioning that this is the first time for the symposium to be held in the MEA for two days (2-3 November, 2010).

During this year, the symposium addresses a number of important issues in connection with environment-friendly ICT including the role of governments in terms of supporting environment-friendly ICT, the role of ICT regarding adapting and minimizing the negative effects resulting from pollution, e-waste management, the role of communications and information technology in safekeeping the environment, and different financial mechanisms which contribute to facing the challenges of ICT and environment.

On the first day of the symposium, a high profile session entitled "The Way from Bali to Cancun" headed by first deputy minister of ICT Dr. Hoda Baraka is held to address the role of governments in supporting green ICT.

 The session aims to set clear goals and targets to measure and improve government strategies towards green ICT including ICT which eventually leads to the deployment of a number of applications in different economic sectors in this field.

During another session entitled "Towards Green ICT Strategies", the achievements of governments all over the world are addressed as a prelude to implement a number of ICT and environment programs and initiatives to face environmental challenges, global warming, and power consumption, and urge the use of such specialized programs in the developing countries. Stress on these countries is an outcome to their understanding of the threats facing the world and how to counter them using ICT and raising the level of awareness of importance of avoiding these threats.

This session will shed light on a number of issues, most notably the role of national and regional policies in terms of formulating best practices on how to use ICT to face the issues of pollution resulting from harmful emissions with a special focus on the major issues and polices in Africa, the need to expand the scope of ICT in this field, and ICT and its regulatory frameworks in relation to environmental issues. This session is a great opportunity to exchange views on how ICT helps implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Environmental Pollution Issues and the Kyoto Protocol Recommendations. Among the attendants of this session are Dr. Sami Beshir Director of Communications Development in the ITU and Carlo Alloni, President Ericsson North East Africa.

The symposium is expected to be attended by a group of international experts, researchers, and people interested in environmental issues most notably Dr. Mostafa Tolba, President of International Center for Environment and Development, Mr. Jean-François Halleux, Information Systems Programme Officer, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Dr. Graham Vickery, Information Economy Consultant.

During the activities of the symposium, a group of international experts shall give speeches including Dr. Munir Thabet, the Regional Director of the UNDP in Cairo, Mr. Carlo Alloni, President Ericsson North East Africa, and Ms. Fatma el Mallah, Climate Change Advisor to the Secretary General of the League of Arab States on Climate Change.

During the symposium, more than 50 international experts and representatives from international, African, and Arab organizations shall address the audience including the Arab League, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), GSMA, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) initiative, the Environment Protection Agency (Ghana), and Basel Convention. Moreover, the agenda of the symposium encompass a number of ICT companies’ representatives including EMC, Vodafone, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Telephonic, and Ericson Mobinil.

Furthermore, more than 350 specialists in the field of ICT and environment shall take part in the symposium including those from Egypt, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Belarus, Canada, Sudan, USA, Mozambique, Germany, India, Japan, Central Africa, Somalia, Burundi, Nepal, Malawi, The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Cameron, Uganda, Pakistan, Madagascar, Bahrain, Russia, South Africa, France, UAE, and KSA.

Ministers toured the exhibition held on the sidelines of the forum. The exhibition includes pavilions of the MICT, Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, the ITU, and private sector companies participating in the field of implementing green technology programs including Vodafone, Mobinil, Sysco, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and the Smart Village Company.

It is expected that the symposium leads up to recommendations most notably issuing a document entitled “Cairo Road Map” which shall include the recommendations and guidelines extracted from the discussions held during different forums and workshops. This document is meant to be a reference and a model for Arab and African countries in the field of green ICT and environment. Agreeing on a proposition for a regional project in the field of green ICT is also expected.

Such project will take the form of conducting a study in cooperation with the ITU to examine the effect of using IT applications and smart communications on power consumption management and minimizing greenhouse emissions in urban environment.

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