Broadband Commission Hosts Spring Meeting 2016

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development hosted its Spring Meeting from March 12-13 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.Among the 27 Commissioners and special guests that attended, H.E. Minister Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICTs of the Government of Rwanda, Ms. Irina Bokovo, Director-General of UNESCO, and Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, were present.

The committee welcomes a number of new commissioners:

Abdulaziz Salem Al Ruwais, Governor, Communication and Information Technology Commission, Saudi Arabia

Jean-Yves Charlier, CEO, VimpelCom

Scott Gegenheimer, CEO, Zain Group

Mats Granryd, Director-General, GSMA

Ramin Guluzade, Minister of Communication and High Technologies, Azerbaijan

Baroness Beeban Kidron, award-winning filmmaker and 5Rights Campaign champion

Philipp Metzger, Director-General, Swiss Federal Communications Office

Catherine Novelli, US Under-Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy & Environment

Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat

Rajeev Suri, CEO, Nokia

The day began with the first session, "Broadband & SDGs – how can we fulfill the sustainable development agenda?"  Professor Murenzi, Executive Director of TWAS, moderated this session, in which he asked several scoping questions as to how Broadband will support the achievement of Sustainable Development – from education to health, to life on land, life in water, to agriculture, to water.

Following this session was "The Growth of Broadband & Targets for Tomorrow," moderated by Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University.  He outlined the success the Commission has had with its targets originally developed in 2011) (with the target for gender equality in access to Broadband added in 2013), but highlighted the need to review and update them.

The afternoon session, "Innovating in Education through Technology," was introduced by Ms. Irina Bokova of UNESCO.  She observed that the question is not longer whether technology is changing education, but HOW technology is changing education, and that we need to ensure that this technological revolution increases the opportunities for all, increases access for all, including marginalized people left behind and women and girls.

The final session of the day was an Open Discussion moderated by GPF President Amir Dossal.  After hearing several perspectives, a discussion debated the role of public versus private sector, and the need for viable, ongoing models to development.  It was decided that the Commission will prepare policy statements and op-eds, including for UN events.

For more information, see the Broadband press release or the highlights of the meeting.

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