Global industry leaders and policymakers will meet in Geneva at the end of February to discuss technical standards to drive sustainable development in fields such as 5G, the internet and artificial intelligence (AI), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said Monday.
The Feb. 28 discussions will be hosted by the ITU, a specialized agency of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland that is responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies.
It will offer a platform for companies, countries, regulators and academia to align with UN development priorities for the decade.
"The global ITU membership is uniquely positioned to drive digital infrastructure development, connect the unconnected, and build confidence and trust in digital technologies," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a statement.
"International standards can bring the benefits of digital transformation to everyone, everywhere."
The ITU Global Standards Symposium also highlights the rising share of ITU’s standardization work dedicated to environmental sustainability, health care, road safety, financial inclusion, and the creation of smart cities and communities.
Government ministers from all parts of the globe and top UN officials such as Olga Algayerová, executive secretary for the UN Economic Commission for Europe, Jean Todt, UN Special Envoy for Road Safety, and Zhao will attend the meeting.
Technical standards developed through international collaboration aim to harness accelerating technologies' uptake in 5G, the internet and AI to help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The symposium paves the way for the ITU World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly between March 1 and 9.
That assembly was delayed for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ITU's standardization work
The ITU said it is ready to set the course for its standardization work to meet emerging industry and societal needs.
It comes amid mounting climate fears, the ongoing health crisis, and rising demand for technical standards as all sectors accelerate investment in digital technologies to improve efficiency and transform multiple businesses and services.
"All voices are heard in the inclusive ITU standardization process, where every step forward is determined by consensus decision," said Chaesub Lee, director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.
"Working together on international standardization, we can build consensus on how new technologies should factor into our future."
The ITU has a global membership of 193 countries and over 900 companies, universities and international and regional organizations.