The 2nd Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications (GET-2016) was held in Kuwait from 26- 28 January. The forum was organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications and Information Communications Technology (ICT) in collaboration with the Government of Kuwait.
The event was attended by telecom ministers, ICT regulators and policymakers, national disaster management stakeholders, private sector companies including major satellite operators, and NGOs, from all over the world. The Thuraya exhibition stand at the event was jointly managed by Thuraya and the National Satellite Telecommunications Services, (Thuraya’s Service Partner in Kuwait) and was frequently visited by high level dignitaries and potential customers.
The forum provided an opportunity for telecom regulators, policymakers and thought leaders to find a way of mobilizing new technologies to not only save lives, but to improve people’s lives.
The ITU launched two new initiatives at the forum – the ‘Network of Volunteers for Emergency Telecommunications’ and the ‘Global Emergency Fund for Rapid Response.’ The global ICT community were encouraged to step forward and take an active part in these two new initiatives.
The ITU Secretary General, the Director of the Telecom Development Bureau, and other senior officials of the ITU, highlighted the importance of its agreement with Thuraya to continue its support of emergency telecommunications while praising the effective role Thuraya terminals play when deployed as a response to emergency situations and disasters.
The forum also focused on a number of issues, trends and emerging technological innovations, financing mechanisms, case studies, as well as the challenges in deploying telecommunications/ICT for disaster response.
Christian Cull, Thuraya’s Vice-President of Marketing & Communications participated in two panel discussions which focused on the challenges and opportunities as a result of the effective use of ICTs. In both, the Leaders’ Dialogue discussion and the Role of the Private Sector and other non-state stakeholders’ panel, he focused on the importance of contributing to public safety and ensuring resilience, better preparedness, and timely intervention when disaster strikes.
Thuraya’s active participation in the work of the ITU’s Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM) initiative was also highlighted and well received. Our CEO, Samer Halawi, is a Board Member of the SSDM Initiative. The SSDM model focuses on optimizing the use of ICTs for socio-economic development and for disaster management leading to sustainable development.
Thuraya has worked with the ITU for ten years now, and is pleased to have made a difference in places around the world where help was needed most. It is a privilege to be able to save and improve lives, and we intend to work together for many years to come.
Senior Director, GMPCS Affairs