Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ITU of the United Nations Leads the Communications Rebuilding of Haiti

The Intemational Telecommunications Union (ITU), the oldest organization in the United Nations, is leading the efforts to rebuild the communications infrastructure in Haiti post the devastating earthquake. This effort is being led by Dr. Cosmas Zavazava of the ITU, who was a speaker at the Humanitarian Logistics conference that I organized under the auspices of the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center program. Above is a photo, taken at the conference at the Bellagio Center in Italy, of me with Dr. Cosmas Zavazava and Professor Panos Pardalos with several conferees who have become dear friends and colleagues and who are from the African continent.

This article discusses how the UN is making plans for Haiti's future with the building of a strong communications infrastructure as it continues to play a pivotal role in supporting humanitarian and relief efforts in Haiti. Dr. Zavazava is quoted as saying: Our aim is to help Haiti mobilize and deploy different kinds of technologies to mitigate the impacts of disasters. Reliable telecommunication systems can be complemented with remote sensing and GIS [geographic information systems] technology. In disaster management, a hybrid of these technologies is important.

In addition, Dr. Zavazava believes that: Haiti needs a lot of assistance. Even before the earthquake, it was one of the least developed countries in the world. It will need a strong infrastructure to run e-business, e-agriculture, e-environment, e-education, and e-health efficiently. E-applications and e-services are a critical ingredient to today’s results-based business model.

I salute the extraordinary efforts of Dr. Zavazava and his colleagues from the ITU!