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Forum on Implementation of decisions of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08)
Accra, Ghana 16 June 2009
Mr. Chairman, Honourable Gideon Quarcoo Vice-Minister of Communications, Ghana
Your Excellency, John Mahama Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana,
Honourable Minister of State for Communications, Haruna Idrissu
Daniel Waturu, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 12 Regional Group for Africa
Bernard Forson, Director General of the National Communications Authority of Ghana
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Distinguished delegates and invited guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Colleagues and friends

It is a great pleasure and honour to have the Vice-President and such prominent persons with us for the opening of this Forum, I wish to welcome you all – AKWABA, bienvenu

I am very pleased that we have my good friend Godwin Avenorgbo as our Master of ceremonies: we are sure to be kept both on track and amused!

As always it is a great pleasure to be back in Ghana, to enjoy the famous Ghanaian welcome and hospitality, and the excellent organization and arrangements.

My sincere thanks go to the Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Communications, Ghana, for hosting this event, and to his staff especially his deputy the Honourable Gideon Quarcoo, our Chairman, who have worked very hard to make it happen.

I would also like to thank the National Communications Authority of Ghana for their excellent collaboration and support in organizing this event.

It was a little over a year ago that we were here to discuss preparations for WTSA-08. Time has gone quickly. In fact I had a shock earlier this year when someone reminded me I would be standing for reelection next year. It seems like I have only just arrived.

WTSA-08 in Johannesburg was a first in many ways:

It was my first WTSA as Director, a first for Africa, the first preceded by a Global Standards Symposium, the first chaired by a woman, and the first in which special accommodation was made for academia.

The facilities and hosting by the South African government were exemplary; as I am sure those of you who were there will agree.

We invited academia for the first time, held three very well attended side events on cybersecurity, accessibility, and ICTs and climate change, and had an excellent demonstration of technology including 3D TV.

WTSA-08 saw the highest level of participation ever with nearly 1000 participants from 99 countries in attendance.

We were honoured by the presence of 13 ministers or deputy ministers and VIPs spanning the world and the entire telecommunication and ICT industry. This is a sure sign of the growing interest in the work of the ITU-T Sector.

We adopted the first ever ITU Resolutions on ICTs and climate change, accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, conformance and interoperability testing, and encouraging academic participation and sector members from developing countries – amongst many other significant Resolutions which we will review today and tomorrow.

In short we received a very strong message from our members that ITU is, and will remain the world’s pre-eminent global telecommunication and ICT standards body.

And we heard also, and very clearly, that ITU should continue on its mission to connect the world, and that bridging the standardization gap, by increasing developing country participation in our work, is an essential prerequisite to achieve this goal.

ITU-T was truly given the green light to push forward many new initiatives to connect the world. We have a lot of work to do.

And as I said, time flies. That is why we have developed a WTSA-08 Action Plan which is on our website and which we will maintain from now until WTSA-12. It will be presented to WTSA-12 to show what actions have been taken to fulfill the decisions of WTSA-08.

We have done a lot already and you will hear from some of the excellent speakers that have been assembled for this event on what has been achieved since WTSA-08 and how we are working to meet the demands of the Resolutions, and how you our members can assist us in this.

WTSA-08 is recognized as a great success, but it will only be looked on as a success in time to come, if we manage to fulfill all the expectations placed upon us.

The success of WTSA-08 was largely due to the extensive regional preparations, and especially the very successful ITU Africa Region WTSA-08 Preparatory Meeting, held here in Accra in May last year. Africa made the most significant contribution to the success of WTSA-08.

My thanks again to the government of South Africa, to the Ministry of Communications of Ghana, to the African Telecommunication Union and to all the African countries for their contribution to WTSA-08.

I would also like to thank all the members from this region that put forward candidates for the leadership positions in our study groups, as well as the individuals themselves.

Africa is now represented by 8 leadership positions compared to just 4 in the previous study period.

This sends a very positive message to the rest of the world.

I look forward to working closely with them to maintain and further improve ITU-T’s position as a leader in efficient international standards making.

Time passes, le temps fuie, and we will soon need to start thinking about the next WTSA in 2012 which is likely to have associated with it a World Conference on International Telecommunications to review the International Telecommunications Regulations.

With your support, I hope I shall still be TSB Director and able to collaborate closely with you in your preparations for these important conferences.

The last time I was here I mentioned that I was encouraging the establishment of regional groups. I was very pleased that almost at the same time Ghana very kindly offered to host the first meeting of the ITU-T Study Group 12 Regional Group for Africa (dealing with the very important issue of quality of service) which will start on Thursday. I could not resist the opportunity to ask our hosts if we could add on this two day Forum to that meeting, and I would like to thank them most sincerely for agreeing to take on this extra burden at rather short notice.

I will not take more of your time. We have a very interesting programme to look forward to and excellent speakers. I would like to thank the speakers for their efforts to prepare their presentations and for coming here to support our event.

I wish you all a productive, informative and enjoyable Forum.

Thank you for your attention.

MIDAMUASE, Merci beaucoup

 

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