Geneva, 2 July 2010 - An international effort led by ITU is underway to speed up reconstruction of Haiti’s crucial telecommunications and ICT infrastructure destroyed in the earthquake of 12 January this year.
A high-level Round Table on the topic concluded yesterday in Needham’s Point, Barbados, with strong commitment to work with ITU. Participants pledged support, both financial and in kind, to a Trust Fund for Haiti to be set up within ITU.
ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré noted that ITU’s response in joining international efforts to assist Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake and re-establish basic communication links and coordinate search and rescue operations was immediate. He said that communications solutions ranging from satellite terminals and WiMAX broadband to a mobile base station for wireless communications were deployed.
“Let’s do everything we can to ensure that Haiti gets state-of-the-art 21st century infrastructure, instead of simply replacing outdated 20th century equipment,” Touré said. “And let’s build in resilient features which will help to reduce network vulnerability in the future. Let’s make sure that Haiti gets broadband infrastructure, giving the country communications networks which are worthy of such an indomitable nation.”
Haiti identified 40 projects as a priority in the reconstruction of its telecommunications and ICT Sector, ranging from infrastructure development and emergency telecommunications to ICT applications and services and the establishment of appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks.
The Round Table was opened by ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré; Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications of Haiti, Jacques Gabriel; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean.
Participants included representatives from ITU Member States, United Nations agencies, the private sector and civil society. The United Nations Secretary-General was represented by Ms Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, Resident Coordinator of UNDP in Barbados. Key stakeholders included regional organizations, such as the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM), the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), and the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO). Telecommunications regulatory authorities and development banks such as the World Bank and Caribbean Development Bank were also represented.
Senator McClean re-affirmed the support of Barbados for the reconstruction process of Haiti and ITU’s work. The Minister of Haiti thanked ITU for the overwhelming support provided to his country in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. He looked forward to continued support from ITU during the reconstruction phase and referred to the Barbados Round Table as testimony of such cooperation and commitment.
Photos available at: www.itu.int/en/osg/activities/Pages/2010-06-barbados.aspx
For more information, please contact:
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
+41 22 730 5046
+41 79 249 4861
Chief of Division, Emergency Telecommunications, ITU
+ 41 22 730 5447
+41 79 249 4870
ITU Caribbean Representative, Bridgetown, Barbados