ITU 2024 priorities 07 March 2024
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Edited News | ITU

ITU 2024 priorities 07 March 2024

STORYLINE  

Only 30 per cent of women globally have access to the Internet, says ITU

Women still account for a disproportionate and growing share of the global offline population – with only 30 per cent having access to the internet in the least developed countries. This according to the first female Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who spoke to reporters in Geneva on the eve of International Women’s Day (8 March).

“I've seen women who can't afford a smartphone, women in countries where entry level handsets can exceed 70 per cent of average household monthly incomes,” said Ms. Bogdan- Martin during a briefing at the United Nations in Geneva on ITU’s global priorities for 2024 - which include narrowing this gender gap in internet access. 

“Women still account for a disproportionate and growing share of the global offline population, outnumbering men by some 20 per cent in least developed countries. Only 30 per cent of women have access to the Internet,” she said. 

For 2024, ITU Member States have set two clear strategic goals for the Union going forward: universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation.  

After 14 months at the helm of ITU, Ms. Bogdan-Martin said that she had "experienced in my time as ITU Secretary-General two worlds, … one in high income countries where almost 90 per cent of the population is covered by a 5G network and a much bigger and also poorer world where service is nearly absent and when available, it's not affordable.”

Turning to the fight against climate change, ITU’s Secretary-General stressed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can mitigate 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emission by 2030.  Digital solutions such as AI can help to boost progress on climate change, education and poverty, she said.  

“There are incredible opportunities that we can leverage from AI in general, from generative AI,” she said. “But there are risks and we need to be able to manage and mitigate the risks. It's a challenge to find how to balance between regulating and stifling innovation. And that's the current debate that we're seeing, not just here in Geneva, but I think globally.”

According to ITU, 2.6 billion people today are not connected, and they have never been connected to the Internet. For Ms. Bogdan-Martin “this is really one of the biggest challenges of our generation.”

“My biggest fear and what keeps me up at night is the 2.6 billion people that are not connected and I say that because if you're not part of the digital world, then you're not part of the AI world. And I do think we have to close that gap and in parallel find ways to make AI safer.”

-ends- 

STORY: ITU

TRT: 2:43”

SOURCE: UNTV CH 

RESTRICTIONS: NONE 

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS 

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 

DATELINE: 7 March 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley  
  2. Wide shot: speakers at the press conference 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): “I've seen women who can't afford a smartphone, women in countries where entry level handsets can exceed 70 per cent, 70 pe cent of average household monthly incomes.”
  4. Wide shot: press room with journalists
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): “Women still account for a disproportionate and growing share of the global offline population, outnumbering men by some 20 per cent. In the least developed countries only 30% of women have access to the Internet.”
  6. Wide shot: podium with speaker and photographer
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): “I've experienced in my time as ITU Secretary-General two worlds: I would say one in high income countries where almost 90 per cent of the population is covered by a 5G network and a much bigger and also poorer world where service is nearly absent and when available, it's not affordable.”
  8. Medium shot: speaker at the podium, filmed from behind
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): “There are incredible opportunities that we can leverage from AI in general, from generative AI. But there are risks and we need to be able to manage and mitigate the risks. It's a challenge to find how to balance between regulating and stifling innovation. And that's the current debate that we're seeing, not just here in Geneva, but I think globally.”
  10. Medium shot: speaker at the podium with photographer
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) – Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): “My biggest fear and what keeps me up at night is the 2.6 billion people that are not connected and I say that because if you're not part of the digital world, then you're not part of the AI world. And I do think we have to close that gap and in parallel find ways to make AI safer.”
  12. Close up: journalist listening
  13. Close up: journalist listening
  14. Medium shot: camera people and photographer in press room
  15. Medium shot: press room with journalists
  16. Wide shot: press briefing room with journalists
  17. Wide shot: press briefing room with journalists and speakers at the podium


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