089_Global13_CWN

Global 13

Telecommunications Organisation commonwealth networkClose-up Commonwealth The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is the oldest and largest Commonwealth organisation engaged in multilateral collaboration in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs). It uses its expertise to support members in integrating ICTs to deliver effective development interventions that enrich, empower and emancipate people within the Commonwealth and beyond The CTO traces its origins to the creation In recent years, the CTO has built a strong of the Pacific Cable Board in 1901. In its reputation in delivering three main types of modern form, it has existed since 1967 as activity: research and consultancy; capa- an international treaty organisation, inde- city development and training; and events pendent of the Commonwealth Secretariat, and conferences. The CTO’s Strategic Plan and with diplomatic status in its host coun- The CTO has two broad categories of for 2012/13–2015/16 highlights six main try, the UK. Its constitution was first agreed membership: Full Member Countries and themes on which the organisation is cur- by Commonwealth governments in Ottawa, ICT Sector Members, the latter being rently focusing: broadband, especially mo- Canada, in 1972, and has been revised sub- drawn from governments, the private sector bile broadband for rural development; cyber sequently on various occasions. The CTO and civil society. It also works with a diver- security and cyber crime; ICTs for people is currently governed by its Council con- sity of partners to help deliver its remit. All with disabilities; regulatory environments; sisting of Full Member Countries, with an members and partners comply with a rigor- the use of ICTs for skills development and eight-person Executive Committee over- ous ethical framework that helps to ensure entrepreneurship; and youth and ICT. seeing the activities of the Secretariat be- that the CTO operates in a fully transparent tween Council meetings. manner in all of its activities. For more information visit: www.cto.int ICTs – using technology to creatively transform lives With the potential to open up new areas of With high-level delegations from countries employment, ease communications and foster including Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia, networks, information and communication South Africa and the UK, the summit concluded technologies (ICTs) can transform the lives of with agreement around eight action points that those with disabilities far more than they can are necessary to take this agenda forward. the lives of those considered more able. These action points included: the addition Global commitments to ensuring universal of e-inclusion on the Commonwealth Heads access have all too often failed to address of Government Meeting (CHOGM) agenda; sufficiently the specific needs of people with policies ensuring that people with disabilities particular disabilities. The CTO is therefore have equal access to ICTs and accessible committed to championing the interests of information; an e-inclusion policy and champion people with disabilities, seeking to ensure in every Commonwealth country; sharing that they are not further disadvantaged by the examples of existing good practice in the increasing expansion of ICTs across the world. Commonwealth and beyond; government and As Secretary-General of the CTO, Professor business use of ICT procurement to encourage Tim Unwin uses every opportunity to advocate inclusive design; the Accessible Technology the principles of universal access and the need ICTs can enhance the lives of the disabled Charter; and effective training programmes on for governments, the private sector and civil In order to develop a shared understanding e-inclusion for governments, the private sector society organisations involved in ICTs to ensure of the most important issues for the CTO and civil society. that people with disabilities are able to use the to take forward on the theme of ICTs and The CTO is excited to be working closely with technology creatively to enhance their lives. people with disabilities, it hosted a Ministerial member countries to build on this important The CTO is establishing advisory groups drawn Summit on e-Accessibility together with the agenda in practice, and welcomes the from members and leading international experts UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, involvement of interested parties in crafting multi- to take forward its activities and initiatives in all coinciding with the opening ceremony of the stakeholder partnerships to develop effective of its focus areas. As part of its commitment to Paralympics held in London in August 2012. interventions with and for people with disabilities. sharing information widely among its members, The summit provided a platform for delegates the CTO’s website provides ready access to the to discuss how countries can turn the rhetoric Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary General, most important literature in the field, links to of their policies into practical actions that Commonwealth Telecommunications key websites and details of mobile applications will help people with disabilities make a real Organisation relevant to the focus. difference in their lives. globalfirst quarter 2013 www.global-briefing.org l89


Global 13
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