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 Keynote Speech: European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) 15th Anniversary
 Brussels, Belgium  26 June 2007 
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am honoured to come to Brussels to represent the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Dr Hamadoun Touré on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of ETNO.

Dr Touré has asked me to convey his regrets that he could not come himself to congratulate ETNO on this great achievement. He wishes to thank you, Mr. Michael Bartholomew, for the kind invitation to ITU to join the celebration.

Although there are many generation gaps between ETNO and ITU -- we celebrated our 142nd anniversary on 17 May-- we have a lot of things in common. The most important is membership. I am pleased to see that many of the companies represented here today are familiar with ITU’s work and actively participate in our meetings or conferences.

ITU is fairly unique among inter-governmental organizations as it is open to membership by the private sector. ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations, which works on the principle of cooperation between 191governments or Member States and more than 700 business entities or Sector Members and Associates.

This membership structure has the advantage of allowing private companies, including ETNO members, to help guide and strengthen ITU’s work in -- standardisation, spectrum management and the development of telecommunications -- our three sectors.

ITU also provides a forum where equipment manufacturers, network operators, service and application providers can discuss the development of new market opportunities, and learn from each other's experience.

Another important message that I bring from the Secretary-General, Dr. Touré, is his commitment to continually improve ITU’s relationship with you. As you might know, the new management team of the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, and the three Directors was elected by the Member States last November in Antalya, Turkey.

The new management team, along with ITU staff, is focused on a number of key priorities:
  • bridging the digital divide, through infrastructure projects, capacity building and assisting our Member States in developing an enabling and regulatory environment;
  • stewardship of the radio spectrum, on behalf of our membership, through global treaties;
  • adopting international standards to ensure seamless global communications and interoperability;
  • building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs); and
  • emergency communications to develop early warning systems and provide access to communications during and after disasters.
These priorities are a challenge in themselves but we have to meet them since ICTs/telecommunications are becoming more and more important to the global information society and economy, which is moving from static to dynamic markets, from low-speed to high-speed access, and from dedicated to converged networks.

The emergence of the so-called “Internet of Things”—in which everyday objects all around us will be linked to the global network and will be monitored and possibly controlled from a distance—is a great challenge to you and ITU. It’s clear that a global challenge needs global leadership and I am happy to say that ITU is spearheading many initiatives

The focus of much of ITU’s ongoing standards-making activities is Next Generation Networks, since NGN will become the foundation for a truly ubiquitous environment for communications and computing. As we say, it will be possible to connect “anytime, anywhere, by anything and anyone”.

Let me take this opportunity to thank European operators, many present here today, for the initial impetus for ITU to take the global lead in NGN standardisation. Since then, operators from around the world have met on a regular basis to agree on open, international standards and protocols to allow operators to move quickly and smoothly to an IP-based network.

In the context of NGN we see the attractive promise of IPTV to generate multiple revenue streams over the same core network. This will be an important incentive in attracting infrastructure investment in developing countries.

An ITU-T Focus Group has made quick progress in standards work to allow the delivery of services over an IP network, in a manner that is secure, managed and QoS-enabled

ITU is also meeting the challenges in a number of new areas. A new Focus Group has launched work on identity management. We also held workshops this year on the future of voice, market mechanisms for spectrum management, and on the fully-networked car. By the way, our workshops are open to anyone and are free of charge.

Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, as we create ubiquitous communications, we will have an increasingly challenging environment in which to maintain cybersecurity. As Dr. Touré has said, we need peace in cyberspace as we need peace in the world. ITU has been working on international coordination in this area since 2004 and on standardization in security for much longer. What is relatively new is that the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) gave ITU the responsibility to facilitate multi-stakeholder efforts to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs, - known as WSIS Action Line C5. This is why ITU launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda last month. The goal of the Agenda is to foster a common understanding of the importance of cybersecurity and bring together all relevant stakeholders (governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society) to work on concrete solutions to deal with cybercrime over the next two years.

We are also working on other Internet related issues, including the multilingual Internet and new technologies to support access to ICTs by those with disabilities.

ITU has a noble ambition: to Connect the World, and the WSIS recognized ITU’s catalytic role in building infrastructure. To achieve this goal, ITU will start by launching Connect Africa -- a regional “Marshall Plan” for ICTs-- at a summit in Kigali, Rwanda during 29-30 October 2007.

This high-level summit will be held under the patronage of His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. It is organized jointly by ITU, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Heads of State and Government, Ministers, CEOs of ICT companies and heads of financial institutions and international and regional organizations are expected to participate, together with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. We will follow this with similar initiatives in the other regions starting with Latin America.

The lesson learned from the WSIS is that we should work in partnership with other stakeholders, like ETNO, standards development organisations, governments, the private sector and civil society.

There have been many opportunities for our two organizations to cooperate. As recently as last week, ETNO shared its views during a meeting of high-level experts organised jointly by ITU and the EBU (the European Broadcasting Union). The purpose of the meeting was to identify key trends and to address the new technological and policy challenges in the digital content delivery environment. We look forward to doing more in the future.

To enhance our long and fruitful collaboration I would encourage every single ETNO member, which is not already participating in ITU activities, to join us in connecting the world.

I thank you again on behalf of ITU and on my behalf for this opportunity to address you. I wish you all an enjoyable celebration.


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