I am very pleased to welcome you all this morning to this first meeting of the Working Group on Human Capacity Building Initiatives.
I would like to thank you all for making yourselves available and congratulate you on being appointed as the representative high-level experts of your respective regions.
Your mandate, which was established by the last World Telecommunication Development Conference held in Hyderabad, is substantial, covering a large spectrum of activities related to capacity building.
I see that we have government departments, regulatory bodies, the private sector and academia all represented at the highest levels. This bodes well for some very productive work, not only over the next two days but over the coming weeks, months and indeed years until at least the next World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2014. You do indeed have a big programme of work.
Capacity building has been given high priority by the ITU memberships through the Regional Initiatives.
Indeed I do believe in capacity building. I always say that technology exists and is evolving; money is not a big issue when there is a good project. But, developing countries cannot own the technology and use it to lever their development without first having the right individual and institutional capacities. Capacity building is there at the centre of my priorities and your work is of utmost importance for me and the BDT.
A principal objective of this first meeting will be to get to know one another and to determine the most appropriate working methods.
You are also, so to speak, ‘hitting the ground running’. We have on the agenda as early as this afternoon the question of what we can do to improve the functioning and the relevance of the ITU’s most important capacity building mechanism, the Centres of Excellence.
The Centres of Excellence project is a very successful one. It has achieved an impressive impact in the 10 years since it was initiated. There must, nevertheless, be some room for improvement. The value of undertaking a comprehensive analysis of how the Centres of Excellence are operating, in terms especially of the programme, of how they are organized and of how they are financed was identified at the Hyderabad Conference.
As background support to your work I commissioned a study, which has been circulated in advance of our meeting. I believe that it is very thorough and will therefore provide a solid basis for the discussions.
However I expect you, as high level specialists, to "think outside the box" and come up with new ideas that will better align the Centres of Excellence with the new challenges we are facing, particularly on ways and means by which BDT could add a unique value to existing capacity building initiatives across the world, without overlapping with them.
Your report on this first meeting and on the Centres of Excellence will be presented for discussion at the Telecommunication Development Advisory Group, which is meeting here on 27-29 June 2012. I can assure you that it will receive the most serious consideration. I will make sure that BDT implements your recommendations fully and promptly.
In view of your busy agenda I shall conclude by wishing you a very successful meeting.
Geneva, Switzerland 4/30/2012