Good morning everybody,
I would like to welcome you here on behalf of the ITU and I would like to
express our thanks to the EBU for collaborating with ITU once again on an event
on accessibility. Of course ITU has been working very closely with EBU for 60
years and we have been quite active recently in the area of accessibility.
EBU is one of our main supporters to the dynamic coalition in the IGF which ITU
leads on accessibility- one of the few dynamic coalitions that are really
dynamic - and also of course we are very active in the area of developing
standards for persons with disabilities. ITU was probably the first standards
body to address this need 20 years ago when it developed the standard V.18 for
I am also very grateful to have the support of the European Union and the
presence of Katarina here this morning. We hope that we will have a lot more
collaboration with the European Union in this area.
This is the third accessibility event I have participated in the last two weeks.
I think the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is really
giving a new exigency to this work and of course ITU being the lead UN agency
for ICTs is very active in this area. We are fortunate to have a very large
membership in ITU, 192 governments and also over 700 private sector entities and
it is this public/private partnership which allows us to meet our objective of
developing international standards.
International standards are increasingly important - because we have a global
market we need interoperability. People want to be able to buy an equipment or
take on a service in one country and expect to be able to use it in another
country anywhere in the world. Also products built to international standards
benefit from economies of scale and so the importance of the work we are doing
on international standards is continuously increasing. We also need to ensure
that our standards meet the requirements of the developing countries. That is
very important for ITU as a UN agency. The majority of countries are developing
countries and I am very pleased to say that we have greatly increased
participation of developing countries in our work. There is a meeting of our
Study Group on environment and climate change in the room opposite here starting
this morning and that meeting alone sees 11 new countries participating for the
first time. We see it almost in every meeting now, we have more and more
countries participating and in the area of accessibility that is very important.
We do workshops all over the world, we do workshops in developed countries,
developing countries, and least developing countries. It is evident that there
is a very different approach to this issue in developing countries compared to
developed countries like the event I was at the US last week. So we are very
pleased to see increasing participation of developing countries. We need to make
sure that accessibility features are available to all the people of the world
and that is why we are making a lot more effort to ensure that accessibility
features do interoperate.
For example our new IPTV standards include accessibility features. We have
conducted two interoperability events recently where several different
manufacturers came together connected up their equipment to make sure it does
interoperate. We will also be launching a public database very shortly where
vendors can enter details of their products which meet our standards. It will
mean people can go to one database and see what products are on the market that
meet ITU standards.
So we are very keen to collaborate with as many bodies as possible to achieve
the objective of international interoperable standards. It is very important
that we work with bodies like the European Union, other regional and national
standards bodies, all these bodies should be working towards the goal of
adopting an international standard with true interoperability.
And as we converge with the Internet community we need to make sure that we
include in this collaboration all the internet community organizations
especially W3C which I am pleased to see is participating in this workshop.
Finally we are very keen that our workshops come up with an output. We just do
not want to be listening to presentations and then everybody goes away and
nothing results from it. We would very much like to see this workshop coming up
with some recommendations on what we need to do to better achieve our objective.
I hope that you will be able to do that over the course of this workshop.
I wish you a very productive workshop.