COP 17: Ghana joins ITU’s coalition lobbying for ICT usage to move climate change agenda forward

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), together with a coalition of industry partners, will be working to convince delegates at the COP 17 climate change conference in Durban next week to harness the power of information and communication technology (ICT) to promote mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the ICT arm of United Nations says.

According to the ITU today’s advanced technologies can transform social, industrial and business processes to effect the changes needed to achieve sustainability.

It said in a statement November 25, 2011, that, but while the potential of ICTs to make a real difference is widely recognized by the technology community and government ICT ministries, ITU said it is still far from being understood and embraced by environmental lobby groups and policymakers.

The ITU says together with its partners – the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Global Compact, TechAmerica, as well as high-level representatives from the governments of Ghana, South Africa and Egypt, “will be using COP 17 to promote ICTs as the 21st century’s most valuable problem-solving tools. ITU believes it imperative that they be included as an integral part of global climate change policy.”

It adds “The coalition’s message is simple: ICTs such as smart grids, intelligent transport systems and the ‘internet of things’ have extraordinary potential to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of other high energy-consuming industry sectors, and must be included in any meaningful climate change policies at the global, regional and national level.”

The ITU also noted that during the 10-day conference, the coalition will undertake a number of initiatives to get the message across. “An ‘ICT booth’ hosted by ITU will showcase presentations on ICT and the environment, and two new ITU reports will be presented showing how ICTs have helped Ghana mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.”

As a proof point, the coalition is also showcasing how the ICT industry is using technology to reduce its own carbon footprint, the  ITU stated.

By Ekow Quandzie

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