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The United Arab Emirates, represented by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), has participated in a closed ministerial meeting, as a part of the events of the World Summit on Information Society Forum 2020, attended by telecom ministers and officials from all over the world.

The meeting discussed, among other things, the vital role of telecom sector to face the current exceptional situation amid the spread of covid-19.

The ICT sector has enabled services and applications related to broadband networks in distance learning, remote working, remote video conference, digital health, e-commerce, access to information and entertainment

In the session, H.E. Eng. Majed Al Mesmar, the Deputy Director General of the Telecommunications sector, TRA, stated the innovative procedures taken by the UAE government since the first start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Such procedures included transfer of about one million students from tradition education system to distance learning system, enabling them to complete their academic year and take examinations. That would not be possible without the e-learning program launched in 2012.

Al Mesmar emphasized the necessity for cooperation and co-working among all countries to expedite the availability of telecom technologies for all societies to maintain a good standard of living for humanity and achieve sustainable development requirements.

He said, "Despite the advanced telecom networks and rapid movement towards digital transformation, more than half of the world population are not connected to the internet today. This fact represents a source of concern for officials in the ICT sector. We have lessons to be taken into consideration when we plan for the future. Such lessons revolve around leadership, future foresight, teamwork, regional cooperation and effective crises and emergency plans."

Participants discussed the topics on the WSIS event agenda as well as the SDGs agenda 2030, which highly depends on the ICT sector as a key pillar for its achievement. The session shed light on the digital gap, global cooperation mechanisms to expedite digital transformation, investment in ICT sector and revision of strategies and procedures related to ICT sector.

The session reviewed the global success stories in filling the digital gap and lessons learned from the current exceptional situation. The participants undertook to continue efforts to fill the digital gap, and develop a framework for global cooperation, and mechanisms to expedite digital transformation based on a whole government principle.

The World Summit on Information Society Forum is a high level platform to coordinate efforts of all countries in relation to information and communication technology, and digital content. It represent a common base for creating a clear global vision with specific goals for the ICT sector.
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