Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Developed Countries Must Stop e-Waste Dumping

The Minister of Communications, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has called on the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to critically consider ways of preventing developed countries from dumping e-waste in developing countries such as Ghana.

According to him, with the advent of digital broadcasting, there was the likelihood of such rich countries shipping their analogue television sets to the developing countries to aggravate the already precarious situation as far as the dumping of used computers among others is concerned.

Mr Iddrisu, who is also the immediate past President of the ITU Council, made the call in a contribution to discussions at the last meeting of the 2010 council meeting to finally close the session.

The call comes at a time when reports from the market already indicate a growing number of used television sets hitting the market from Europe and America at rock bottom prices following their migration from analogue to digital broadcasting by the close of 2015.

In a bid to ensure Ghana’s conformance to the GE06 Agreement, Mr Iddrisu, on January 13, 2010, inaugurated a 26 member National Digital Broadcasting Migration Technical Committee, to among others make policy recommendations to the government to enable Ghana to achieve a cost effective and timely migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The committee has since presented its report and is awaiting government action from the recommendations made.

Prior to that, there was public outcry about the financial burden the move would impose on the poor in terms of having to either buy a dig box to get the right pictures or discard their old sets for digital compatible sets to access digital broadcasting.

In that regard, among others, Mr Iddrisu urged the ITU to take drastic steps to assist developing countries such as Ghana to enable them to successfully migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting.

His call which was simultaneously buttressed by some developing nations such as Bulgaria among others prompted the Director of the ITU Radio Communications Bureau, 2010 ITU Council, Mr Valery Timofeev, to react by assuring the developing countries of the ITU’s commitment to ensure that those countries that needed support would be taken care of.

Mr Iddrisu also urged the council to ensure greater transparency and fairness of allotting slots to countries that bid to host the conference.

“The excuses given sometimes at the last minute to deny some countries from hosting the conference is not the best and encouraging and it is the hope of many that the right things are done to ensure transparency while ensuring fairness to all member states”, he said.

Meanhwile, the ITU’s 18th Plenipotentiary Conference will be opened today, Monday, October 4, by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón.

He will be joined on the podium by the Minister of Communication and Transport, Mr Juan Francisco Molinar, and the Governor of the State of Jalisco, Mr Emilio González, alongside ITU’s five elected officials and the Mayor of Guadalajara city, Mr Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval.

About 2,000 participants, including an estimated 130 VIPs from over 160 countries representing government, the private sector, and regional and international organisations, are expected to attend.

In the course of the three-week conference, they will tackle a wide range of global issues including cybersecurity; strategies to reach the goal of ‘broadband inclusion for all’; IPv6 addressing; the scope of the forthcoming review of the International Telecommunication Regulations, the preparatory process for that review; and the enhanced use of ICTs in mitigating climate change and emergency communications.


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