UAE, 15 November 2023
The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), hosted the annual ICT Development Forum, which aimed to address key opportunities, challenges, and future trends within the ICT sector. Additionally, it served as a platform for ICT experts and stakeholders to engage in meaningful exchanges of opinions and perspectives on the sector's most significant developments.
The sessions of this year's forum concentrated on two key topics: first, the contribution of the ICT sector to attaining the indicators and goals of "We the UAE 2031" vision; and second, the role of the ICT sector in promoting sustainability and environmental protection. This encompassed aspects such as the circular economy, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and preparations for COP28, in collaboration with ITU-T Study Group 5 (SG5).
During his participation in the forum, H.E. Eng. Mohammed Al Ramsi, TDRA Deputy Director General for the Telecommunications Sector, spoke about the ongoing advancements within the ICT sector and emphasized its crucial role in influencing other sectors. He said: “While the "Forward Ecosystem," as the fourth pillar of "We the UAE 2031" Vision, is the pillar most closely aligned with the essence of the ICT sector, it's essential to recognize that this crucial sector is, in fact, interconnected with all four pillars of the vision. This connection stems from its role as the enabling sector for various other sectors.”
Al Ramsi added: “Given the swift technological advancements shaping our world, the ICT sector remains a primary catalyst for change. Its pivotal role in fostering development across all sectors, particularly those addressing environmental and climate concerns, is paramount. In the UAE, we are accustomed to shaping our strategies with a comprehensive vision that ensures environmental sustainability both now and in the future. Hosting COP28 reaffirms our steadfast commitment to this principle.”
The first session of the forum featured TDRA, Etisalat by e&, and du. The session provided an overview of the “We the UAE 2031” vision, its goals and associated national indicators related to ICT sector. The discussion included current and future trends in sectors supporting the vision, setting indicators and targets, and the mechanisms for their realization. Additionally, an open discussion was held to address current challenges and future aspirations.
The forum's second session, held in collaboration with the ITU and featuring the participation of the UAE telecom operators and several companies including Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei, delved into the discussion of the ICT sector's role in environmental protection and climate change. Acknowledging the ICT sector as a key enabler for various industries, the session highlighted its significant contribution to addressing environmental challenges.
The session also addressed key initiatives and projects undertaken by companies and UAE telecom operators in the field of environmental protection, circular economy and electronic waste recycling. Additionally, discussions centered around the 1.5-degree challenge, focusing on supporting efforts to mitigate the impact of the carbon footprint on the environment. The session also delved into preparations associated with COP28, hosted by the UAE this year.
It is noteworthy that the forum's topics this year align with TDRA's efforts to support the initiatives and activities organized by the UAE Government for the "Year of Sustainability" 2023. This involves leveraging the capabilities of the ICT sector to address environmental challenges, fostering initiatives dedicated to preserving the natural environment, and underscoring the global significance of discussions and outcomes anticipated at COP28.
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