Press Release: ITU hosts conference on space and the information society


Jun 15, 2016

GLIS 2016 aims at ushering new era of connectivity through space

Geneva, 8 June 2016 – The Global Conference on Space and the Information Society – GLIS 2016 – was held at the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva, 6 - 7 June 2016 drawing attention to the fact that space and space applications have a major role to play in the shaping of a future “connected” world. GLIS 2016 was organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF).

“I believe the outcomes of this conference will definitely contribute to the advancement of space technologies for our societies,” said Kiyoshi Higuchi, President of IAF.

The international community faces substantial challenges: digital divide, disaster management, cybersecurity, big data analysis and climate change, to name a few. The next years will see governments, industry, academia and NGOs work together in a new era of connectivity. A combination of factors, such as the implementation of the UN Space Development Goals, the deployment of new mega constellations and the launch of new digitalized systems will strongly contribute to reaching this goal. International organizations, such as the United Nations and its agencies, ITU and UNOOSA, along with the IAF, aim to extend cooperation in space to achieve a better connected world.

“This is an exciting time in space,” declared Jennifer Warren, Lockheed Martin Corporation Vice President for Technology Policy & Regulation Trade & Regulatory Affairs in her keynote address. Karsten Geier, Head, Cyber Policy Coordination Office, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, emphasized the importance of cybersecurity, noting that “outer-space based as well as cyberspace programmes can present challenges to international security”.

“ITU is committed to maintaining right of access to the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite-orbit resources, and to ensuring their rational, equitable, efficient and economical use, free from harmful interference,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Through our concerted efforts, we can help remove the obstacles that impede the development of new satellite networks and applications and bring them into operation to connect the unconnected around the world.”

“Activities in space contribute enormously towards shaping the information society,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “These involve the production of big data, the provision of global positioning information, the distribution of television programmes, the provision of emergency services, the prevention and mitigation of natural and man-made disasters, the forecasting of weather, the understanding, monitoring and protection of Earth natural resources and the connection of the world population to broadband services. Indeed, satellite systems play a critical role in supporting each and every one of the 17 sustainable development goals adopted last year by the United Nations.” Rancy added that the decisions of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences are aimed at maintaining a stable, predictable and universally applied regulatory environment that secures long-term investments for the multi-trillion dollar ICT industry including outer space activities.

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