His Excellency the President of the Republic of Lebanon, Michel Suleiman; represented by Minister of Telecommunications Gebran Bassil,
His Excellency the President of the Council of Ministers designate, Mr. Saad Hariri, represented by His Excellency Nabil de Freige
His Excellency, Speaker of the House Mr. Nabih Berri, represented by His Excellency Mr. Hassan Fadlallah ,
His Excellency the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Fouad Siniora; represented by Minister of Information Tarek Metri,
Ministers, Members of Parliament,
Dear Ambassadors, Governors, Chairmen, Presidents, and Directors of national telecommunications regulatory authorities, and regulators,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my greatest pleasure to welcome you to the 9th annual Global Symposium for Regulators and to the 2nd Global Industry Leaders’ Forum.
We are very grateful to our hosts and express our sincerest gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Lebanon, General Michel Sleiman, for placing both the GILF and the GSR under his high patronage. We offer our thanks also to H. E. Minister Gebran Bassil, Minister of Telecommunications Republic of Lebanon and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority for inviting us to hold this event in Lebanon.
I would especially like to thank Dr Kamal Shehadi, Chairman and CEO, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, for his kind acceptance to chair this year’s GSR. He and his entire staff have worked closely with my staff in the preparation of this important meeting and have welcomed us with the renowned Lebanese hospitality.
I am delighted to see that this unique event has attracted so many regulators from all regions at such a high level bringing regulators and private sector together to discuss issues that are highly relevant to both parties. The GILF is a flagship opportunity for ITU-D Sector Members to join in the debate and the participation of so many regulators in the GILF is a very positive indication of their willingness to listen to what industry has to say. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of this year’s Global Industry Leaders Forum, Dr. Saad Al Barrak, CEO of Zain Group. I am confident that our meeting today will benefit from your leadership and experience.
Frankly speaking, I am very proud that the BDT and the ITU can offer this platform for the main actors of our industry to imagine, design, build and administrate the markets, networks and services that our citizens, businesses and governments require for their further development.
Today every country, no matter what its level of development, relies on Information and Communication Technologies for its economic and social development. The environment that enables new technologies to be used and shared by all can only be created through regulatory reform.
This year we have been holding Regional Preparatory Meetings for the 2010 World Telecommunication Development Conference which will be held in May 2010 in Hyderabad in India. The WTDC is a key conference for the ITU and all its Members and the outcome will shape the future of our development activities. I was not surprised to see that all regions recognize how essential it is to create an enabling environment for ICT development and emphasized regulatory issues as a priority for our future work.
The theme for this year’s GSR is Hands on or hands off? Stimulating growth through effective ICT regulation.
What a better place than Beirut to symbolize the delicate mission that regulators are facing? Today, ICT Regulators and policy makers, like high-wire acrobats, need to carry out a delicate balancing act between a hands-on or hands-off approach to regulation. They need to take into account the ultimate interests of the citizens, and carefully introduce new regulations, so to take into account the interests of all parties involved, but also to ensure proper and sustainable investment. Like a referee in a sport arena, like a Head of State in a multi-faceted and multicultural country, Excellencies/Ladies and Gentlemen, regulators’ action can help actors develop the game, the country, or the markets on which they intervene.
This is particularly true in the current global environment of economic downturn. targeted and effective regulation can ensure that investment flows continue to drive ICT growth. Effective regulation can play the role of a ‘stimulus plan’ that will see the sector overcome the current global economic crisis. The reason is straightforward: Smart regulation equals investment and investment drives growth and development.
Accommodating the diverging needs of all ICT stakeholders is critical in today’s complex , converged environment. Regulatory authorities more than ever have a key role to play in fostering a fair and prosperous ICT environment. But to carry out that role effectively they must be in touch with the needs of industry.
The need for this ongoing exchange between the private sector and regulators is clearly demonstrated by the level of interest in today’s event. There is no single best approach to tackle the challenges of creating an enabling regulatory environment. We are here to find the best way forward together and every country, big or small, developed or developing has an interesting experience to share.
Before I conclude, I would like once again to thank on your behalf, our host. I wish you all the success in your deliberations, and a fruitful symposium.
Beirut, Lebanon 11/9/2009