150 years ago, the International Telegraph Conference led to the creation of ITU as the custodian of a historic Convention and a unique platform to build a connected society for social good. In this issue of ITU News, we celebrate both the vision of ITU’s founding members, as well as the ongoing commitment of ITU membership towards the principles of global collaboration and harmony that helped to found ITU back in 1865. Indeed, these are values that as Secretary-General I am determined to uphold firmly — to ensure that the collaboration and unity of purpose which marked our beginnings underpin our ongoing work in radio-spectrum management, telecommunication standards and connecting the world.
Throughout a century and a half of global challenges — including two World Wars and a Cold War — ITU membership has striven to provide telecommunications and universal access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote peace, harmony and economic prosperity. Today, based on a mounting body of evidence for the economic growth gains realizable from ICTs, this challenge is even more significant. Important policy debates continue — on the funding of universal access, the neutrality of networks, and how to galvanize growth in the Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) sector which is vital to driving innovation and entrepreneurship. ITU’s work is helping to research and provide options to all these tough policy questions.