ITU supports its Member States in the development of National Emergency Telecommunications Plans (NETPs), assisting national authorities and policy-makers in ensuring the continued use of ICT networks and services in all phases of disaster management. According to Target 3.5 of the ITU Strategic Plan 2020-2023: "By 2023, all countries should have a National Emergency Telecommunication Plan as part of their national and local disaster risk reduction strategies".
NETPs are an essential element to articulate a national strategy and procedures to allow information sharing across all levels of government, within communities, and between public and private organizations to become more resilient to disasters. The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18), held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 29 October to 16 November 2018, approved, among others, a revised resolution supporting Small Island Developing States and Landlocked Developing Countries
. Support to develop NETPs has been provided to four Pacific Islands (Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea) and to two countries in the Americas Region (Guatemala and Bolivia).
ITU has also hosted national and regional workshops and forums on the use of ICTs for disaster management, including the Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications (GET). These events provide an opportunity for stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including UN and non-governmental entities, to debate and address relevant issues, needs and new opportunities on using ICTs in the framework of disaster management and risk reduction.
In September 2019, at ITU Telecom World 2019, ITU joined the Crisis Connectivity Charter (CCC) to make satellite-based communications more readily available to humanitarians and affected communities when disasters strike. The Charter helps support increased coordination by prioritizing access to bandwidth for humanitarian purposes during disaster responses and by allocating pre-positioned satellite equipment and transmission capacity in high-risk countries.
ITU is also an active member of the
Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), a global network of humanitarian, private sector and governmental organizations that work together in disasters to provide vital communications services. The ETC, in partnership with leading edge technology companies and local telecom providers, creates an environment for emergency response allowing humanitarian responders, communities and governments to have a seamless, resilient and principled communications.
ITU assists in fulfilling the objectives of the
Tampere Convention, which was adopted on 18 June 1998 by the delegates of the 75 countries that attended the Intergovernmental Conference on Emergency Telecommunications (ICET-98) in Tampere, Finland. The Convention was established to assist its Member States with responding to disasters by facilitating the swift approval and deployment of emergency telecommunication equipment.
ITU has a long and distinguished body of work on the spectrum harmonization and use of radiocommunication and satellite emergency telecommunication for disaster response and relief. The identification of common frequency ranges within which equipment could operate may ease interoperability and/or interworking, with mutual cooperation and consultation, especially in national, regional and cross-border emergency situations and disaster relief operations. ITU Study Groups work through their technical and operational studies, also providing use cases, on many different issues relating to emergency telecommunications. Relevant information on these studies can be found at
ITU standards offer guidance on network architectures able to contend with sudden losses of substantial volumes of network resources. They describe the network functionality required to make optimal use of the network resources still operational after a disaster. They offer techniques for the rapid repair of damaged ICT infrastructure, such as means to connect the surviving fibres of severed fibre-optic cables. ITU standards also provide for “movable and deployable ICT resource units" – emergency containers, vehicles or hand-held kits housing network resources and a power source – to provide temporary replacements for destroyed ICT infrastructure.
ITU is also supporting an ambitious project to equip submarine communications cables with climate and hazard-monitoring sensors to create a global real-time ocean observation network. This network would be capable of providing earthquake and tsunami warnings as well as data on ocean climate change and circulation. This project to equip cable repeaters with climate and hazard-monitoring sensors – creating 'Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecommunications (SMART) cables' – is led by the
ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC Joint Task Force on SMART Cable Systems.
 RESOLUTION 30 (REV. DUBAI, 2018), Special measures for the least developed countries, small island developing states, landlocked developing countries and countries with economies in transition
Last update: March 2020