The crucial role of terrestrial broadcasting in times of crisis was the focus of an EBU statement at a COP28 session in Dubai this week. The International Telecommunication Union organized the session as part of the Green Digital Action track it has convened at the global climate conference. The EBU's contribution came during Monday's session on the ITU's Early Warnings for all – EW4all – initiative.

Three pillars

Walid Sami, representing the EBU, presented a statement underscoring the indispensable role of terrestrial broadcasting in times of economic, security or environmental crisis. The EBU's commitment to EW4all rests on three pillars:

  1. Universal broadcasting coverage: terrestrial television and radio broadcasting, with over a century of history, provide unparalleled coverage, reaching the majority of the world's population. In times of adversity, when other communication channels may fail, broadcasting remains a steadfast and reliable source of information.
  2. Resilient and sustainable infrastructure: as showcased at the joint ITU–EBU workshop on broadcasting in times of crisis, held in Geneva in March 2023, broadcast infrastructure offers the resilience and universality required for emergency warning systems. Broadcasting continues to address its remit in an environmentally sustainable manner and is re-doubling its efforts to meet ambitious targets.
  3. Technical innovation opportunities: the EBU has actively collaborated with industry partners on promoting network resilience, for example in EBU Recommendation 156 on co-operative distribution infrastructures. There is also great potential for coordination between regional technology development organizations to promote common protocols such as the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). Moreover, the EBU and its Members are actively contributing to the standardization and trialling of the LTE-based 5G Broadcast system (ETSI TS 103 720), including an emergency warning system feature.

As the world faces increasing climate-related challenges, the EBU will continue to advocate for a sustainable and technologically advanced future in crisis communication. The ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 is also ongoing in Dubai, where the EBU is working with its partners to ensure the protection of spectrum required for terrestrial broadcasting.

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