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Home » News

UN, Luxembourg partner to strengthen emergency telecoms

Article / Review by on December 8, 2011 – 7:22 pmNo Comments

UN, Luxembourg partner to strengthen emergency telecoms

A satellite dish, facing the East River, sits on the snow-covered grounds of UN Headquarters.A satellite dish, facing the East River, sits on the snow-covered grounds of UN Headquarters.

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Luxembourg today announced that they have agreed to cooperate on strengthening emergency telecommunications and rapid responses whenever natural disasters strike.

ITU and Luxembourg are both members of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), which is made up of UN agencies and other humanitarian partners.

The Government of Luxembourg has developed a “nomadic” satellite-based telecommunication system known as ‘emergency.lu’ aimed at assisting humanitarian agencies respond to communities affected by natural disasters, conflict or protracted crises.The facility can also be used for longer-term deployment in chronic or recurrent humanitarian situations or as part of a preparedness strategy in developing countries.

The platform will be available for use by the international humanitarian community as a global public good facility as of 1 January neat year, with Luxembourg funding its development, implementation, operation and maintenance to the tune of €17.2 million.

Under the umbrella of the ‘ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies’ (IFCE), ITU will encourage its 193 Member States to use the ‘emergency.lu’ platform and facilitate the rapid deployment of emergency telecommunication systems in the event of a sudden-onset disaster.

The facility can also be used for longer-term deployment in chronic or recurrent humanitarian situations or as part of a preparedness strategy in developing countries. ITU will negotiate appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks with telecommunications regulatory authorities to assist in the deployment.

The IFCE, an ITU communications initiative to assist the humanitarian community in disaster response, and ‘emergency.lu’ will be jointly and individually deployed within two hours of notification using every possible means, including custom-fitted aircraft, depending on the nature and magnitude of the disaster.

“In recent times, disasters have wreaked havoc around the world – floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, wild fires – resulting in catastrophic loss of lives and damage to property,” said Hamadoun Touré, the ITU Secretary-General.

“By placing ‘emergency.lu’ at the disposal of the international humanitarian community as a global public good, the Government of Luxembourg has provided an invaluable asset to humankind in an effort to save lives – and ITU will take all measures to facilitate its deployment.”

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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