Honorable Lisle Snell, Deputy Speaker of the Norfolk Island Legislature Assembly
Honorable Andre Nobbs, Minister of Tourism and Industry Development responsible for Telecommunication
Mr. Ivan Fong President of PITA
Distinguished Members and Associate members of PITA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I address you today on this occasion of PITA's 16th Annual General Meeting. I would like to thank the Government of Norfolk Island for hosting this meeting and Norfolk Telecom for organizing it together with PITA.
Although this is the first time that I am attending the Annual General Meeting of the PITA, I would like to assure you that I have for a long time followed the extraordinary work of your august Association. What has caught my attention in particular has been the well-organized nature of PITA, its diverse membership and its well defined objectives seeking to 'improve, enhance, facilitate and provide telecommunication services within Member and Associate Member countries.'
During my campaign for the post of Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Bureau, one of my priorities was to help connect Small Island Developing Countries and this remains high on my agenda for the following three main reasons.
First, the general challenges that confront Small Island Developing States: small size, geographical limitations leading to limited natural resources, vulnerability to economic shocks and natural disasters, and the threats of rising sea levels due to the impact of climate change.
Second, the great opportunities that are associated with small island developing countries: their desire to develop, their small population size that makes it easier to know with whom one is doing business, and in the case of the Pacific, their neighborhood with other highly developed PITA Members such as Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand who are ready to assist.
Third, the Pacific Islands are at the core of the ITU’s Asia-Pacific Regional Initiative on “Unique ICT Needs in LDCs, SIDSs, and Landlocked Developing Countries”; it is therefore a clearly spelled out regional priority.
Distinguished PITA Members and Associate Members
To follow my commitment with action, I have one main initiative and one project I would like to share with you today.
As for the initiative, I must say that I am announcing it formally for the first time, it is what I have chosen to call a Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM). As you know, disasters are one of the biggest challenges of our time. The world lost more than $380 billion US$ in 2011 due to natural disasters. The trend is to more and more investments in parallel infrastructure for emergency telecommunication. The concept behind the initiative is to optimize, rationalize, and maximize the use of our telecommunication resources by linking disaster mitigation and rescue resources with sustainable development through business. It is quite timely, as the United Nations is organizing the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in June this year.
The project I would like to share with you is about connectivity for the Pacific Islands in the framework of the Smart Sustainable Development Model. Looking at the credit crunch the financial markets, we need to explore very innovative ways of financing well-crafted, designed and planned projects for improving connectivity in the Pacific together with emergency telecommunication. I have met with a number of potential partners who are interested in either co- financing or providing concrete assistance.
This initiative and the project are all inclusive platforms. They are not about starting something from scratch, but to build together with you and on your on-going efforts by complementing them with the link between emergency telecommunication and sustainable development.
The ITU has initially allocated half a million dollars as seed money. The Membership of PITA can and should naturally play a role. This is the reason why I have decided to announce them publically for the first time during a PITA meeting and my visit here is also a 'Call for Action Together'.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In collaboration with the European Commission, the ITU is running a project on ‘Capacity Building and ICT Policy, Regulatory and Legislative Frameworks Support for Pacific Island States’ – known for short as”ICB4PAC”. My colleague Ms. Fuatai Purcell, the project coordinator, will make a detailed presentation on the project later this week.
There are also some major conferences coming in 2012. After the successful completion of the World Radioconference in February this year, the ITU is preparing the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in November and the World Conference on International Telecommunication in early December. My colleague Dr. Eun-Ju Kim, the ITU Regional Director for Asia Pacific, will also make detailed presentation on these conferences, in addition to our activities in the region.
Once again, I am pleased to be among you. I look forward to listening to you and to engaging with you in on our common and honorable fight which is “business for development and/or development for business”.
I thank you.
Norfolk Island 4/17/2012