The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. The IARU focuses a great deal of attention on the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU‑R). ITU‑R deals with important amateur radio topics such as spectrum allocation and spectrum management. However, the IARU also participates in the Development sector of the ITU.
The Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU‑D) works to close the digital divide and drive digital transformation to leverage the power of ICTs in a number of important areas including the following: economic prosperity, digital skills development, capacity building, a sustainable and circular economy,and emergency telecommunications for saving lives. Its work prioritizes those most in need — from people living in the world’s Least Developed Countries to marginalized communities everywhere.
One of the key objectives of the ITU‑D is to enhance mitigation and disaster-management efforts through telecommunication and ICTs. This is the focus of the IARU within the Development Sector.
ITU plays an important role in emphasizing the critical role of ICTs in disaster risk reduction and management, and supports its Member States, in the four phases of disaster management through the design of national emergency telecommunications plans, the setting up of early warning and monitoring systems and the provision of emergency telecommunications equipment when disasters strike.
The world is continuously facing different types of hazards, from extreme weather events, to tsunamis, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, vast pandemics, and other geological and human made related hazards, that pose continued challenges to countries and communities. About half the world’s population is highly exposed to worsening climate impacts. The impact is even worse for those living in remote and isolated areas with no access to basic information and communication facilities.
Emergency telecommunications play a critical role in disaster risk reduction and management. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are key to analyzing the information to deliver early warnings and alerts, and in the immediate aftermath of disasters by ensuring timely flow of vital information. Amateur radio plays an important role in these areas and can be a valuable resource to national and local governments during telecommunication emergencies. The participation by the IARU in the Development Sector assures the continued inclusion of amateur radio in national emergency telecommunication plans and continues to present opportunities to showcase the abilities and contributions of amateur radio in emergency telecommunication events.