Annual Report 2019-2020

Environment and Smart Sustainable Cities and Communities

ICTs provide a growing amount of opportunities for sustainable development and to address challenges related to climate change. ICTs are fundamental for monitoring, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. ICTs also deliver smart applications and transform the way services are delivered - including in the area of energy, waste, and water management - to reduce the carbon footprint of human activities.

At the same time, it is important to address the environmental challenges that the ICT industry presents. A growing information society increases the level of energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for the growing spread and use of ICT services, networks and devices. The volume of e-waste is on the rise and it contains hazardous substances that, if treated inadequately, can cause severe environmental and human health impacts.

Climate change

ITU continued its work in the development of recommendations for remote sensing systems and space applications, and also to solve urgent issues related to e-waste, circular economy and climate change. ITU developed a new standard and guidance setting concrete guidelines for the ICT industry to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% from 2020 to 2030.

Energy efficiency and smart sustainable cities and communities

ITU is working to improve the reliability, security and interoperability of ICT infrastructure needed for smart sustainable cities and communities, while at the same time advocating for the use of ICTs to reduce the consumption of energy and enhance services and quality of life for city dwellers. For example: ITU developed a series of recommendations to address the standardization requirements of IoT technologies, with a focus on IoT applications and challenges in smart cities and communities.

E-waste

In 2019, for example, ITU launched new Guidelines for the development and implementation of National Emergency Telecommunication Plans.

ITU has a broad portfolio of activities in the area of e-waste and strives to tackle the challenges faced by this waste stream. For example, further new entities signed up to join the UN e-waste coalition, paving the way for greater e-waste management collaboration. ITU and other partners worked together on a Global Environmental Facility (GEF) funded project in Latin America.

Emergency Telecommunications

In 2019, for example, ITU launched new Guidelines for the development and implementation of National Emergency Telecommunication Plans.

Smart sustainable cities

Eyes in the sky: drones for emergency response in Vanuatu

E-waste recycling in Switzerland