Compliance Support Infrastructure and Services > International Telecommunication Union (ITU)


ITU focuses on a series of issues ranging from the rights of the disabled to making technical design standards accessible, to providing education and training on accessible ICT.

Key areas include:

  • Promoting telecommunication standards;
  • Implementing a conformity assessment programme to increase the probability of the interoperability of equipment and services from different vendors;
  • Promoting the development of assistive products and services;
  • Helping Member States meet their obligations;
  • Establishing outreach programmes;
  • Encouraging the exchange of best practice;
  • Helping develop and promoting policy guidelines;
  • Creating greater awareness through conferences and publications;
  • Creating capacity building opportunities in developing countries, including in cooperation with other institutions, both internal and external to the UN System.


The objective is to enhance security and build confidence in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) applications. Security concerns have been identified as a barrier to the use of current and next generation networks (NGNs) for certain mission-critical services (e.g. e-commerce, e-governance, e-payment and e-health) where it is important to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems. ITU organizes workshops, meetings and seminars to address technical, policy, legal and strategy issues for cybersecurity, ICT applications and Internet protocol, and to promote public awareness on ICTs and foster use of the Internet.

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ITU has been at the cutting edge of information and communication technologies, defining and adopting the globally agreed technical standards that have allowed industry to interconnect people and equipment seamlessly around the world. It has also successfully regulated worldwide use of the radio-frequency spectrum, ensuring all international wireless communications remain interference-free to ensure the relay of vital information and economic data around the world.

The work of ITU in the development of global standards for ICTs and telecommunications has helped the smoother, more economical introduction of new technologies. Global standards from ITU (ITU-T Recommendations) underpin today’s ICT world, giving us the ability to speak to each other from one side of the world to another, and giving us the Internet that has become so much a part of our daily lives. Literally thousands of standards pin together this framework of technologies that keeps the world’s businesses and consumers connected.

Given the importance of global connectivity and interoperability between devices, networks, services and applications, the global harmonization of ICT standards development is essential; an ITU conformity assessment programme must be initiated with the aim of increasing the probability of achieving globally interoperable future ICT infrastructures. Conformance to standards gives both consumers and businesses confidence and is a huge stepping stone towards total digital inclusion.

In this context, ITU is also undertaking several capacity building activities to bridge the standardization gap between developing and developed countries with the objectives of: (i) facilitating the participation of developing countries in the standards development process; (ii) allowing them to profit from access to new technology development; and (iii) ensuring that their requirements are taken into account in the development of standards.

For instance, ITU-T, in cooperation with UNIDO, is setting up a conformity assessment programme for conformance and interoperability that includes training activities for developing countries, as a contribution to the primary objective of bridging the standardization gap.

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