Honourable Fellow Speakers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to have been invited to speak to you today at this celebration
of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day which marks the
establishment of ITU on 17 May, 1865. So in effect today is also ITU’s 145th
Some of you may also know that it also marks 144 years of Turkey’s membership of
ITU. Turkey was one of the first members of the organization and has continued
to play a strong and active role to this day. Indeed since 2002 Turkey has been
an active member of ITU’s Council, the organ that oversees ITU’s management
between Plenipotentiary Conferences.
And of course we are very grateful to Turkey for having hosted three ITU world
conferences in recent years: The World Radiocommunication Conference in 2000,
The World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2002, both here in
Istanbul, and the last ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya in 2006. I had
the pleasure of participating in all three conferences, although it is the
latter which holds the fondest memories for me… as it was there that I was
In 1865 all international communication was by telegraph. ITU was established to
ensure the international interoperability of the revolutionary technology. These
days we take for granted instantaneous voice or video connection from one side
of the globe to the other.
And, while we are still in awe of the power of the Internet, it has become part
of our lives, thanks largely to the ITU’s standards which remain today the
foundation of international communications.
The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day recognises what we now
take for granted.
It brings attention to the potential of information and communication
technologies (ICT) in meeting the development and economic aspirations of
societies and on the importance of the Internet as a global resource.
This year’s theme “Better City, Better Life with ICT”, is in keeping with the
overarching theme — Better City, Better Life — of the World Expo 2010 in
Shanghai, China where the global ceremony commemorating the occasion of World
Telecommunication and Information Society Day is being held today, and where our
Secretary-General is speaking. I bring you his and my other fellow elected
officials, very best wishes for this celebration here in Istanbul.
On this occasion I am proud to announce the presentation of the 2010 World
Telecommunication and Information Society Award to three eminent personalities
who have contributed to the ongoing digital revolution and have shown remarkable
dedication to promoting ICTs as a means of providing a better life for all.
• Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak;
• Chairman and CEO of China Mobile Mr Wang Jianzhou;
• and Mr Robert Kahn, one of the early pioneers of the Internet,
These three eminent laureates will receive their awards today in Shanghai.
ICTs enrich our lives in so many ways.
ITU is at the forefront of the development for many of these technologies and
without ITU global standards the citizens of the world would not have the
opportunity to benefit from the economic and social advantages of the
And with UN Habitat estimating that in the first part of the 21st century up to
70 per cent of the world’s population will reside in urban areas, we need to
focus on ways that these technologies can help improve urban environments.
A collaborative, sustainable approach to all aspects of urbanization is needed,
which is why ITU is proud to say that it is a partner in the World Urban
Campaign… which aims to enable and empower urban citizens with the necessary
tools for better city life.
ICTs can help manage smart buildings that power themselves and then feed energy
back into the electricity grid, a smart grid providing a much more efficient
method of distributing electricity.
Earlier this month ITU launched a Focus Group on Smart Grids that will fast
track global standards for the network to link electricity companies, homes and
Our home networking technology standard g.hn will provide links to smart
electricity meters, feeding information that reduces waste and saves green house
Intelligent transport systems can clear our cities of debilitating pollutants
and traffic jams. For example, vehicles can be directed to reserved parking
slots without adding to gridlock by driving around and around trying to find a
space. Intelligent transport systems can also be applied to public transport, to
respond more efficiently to customer needs.
ITU is also active here with an annual workshop… the Fully Networked Car@Geneva
Access to broadband for ALL will help to create a level playing field of
opportunities for the urban under privileged.
Sensor networks and artificial intelligence will become embedded into the
physical environment of our cities. Cloud computing offers to power many of
these applications and I am also pleased to announce that ITU has recently
launched another Focus Group here to examine how to bring greater
interoperability to the various emerging cloud solutions.
Ladies and gentlemen
Recently ITU has created an international Broadband Commission co-chaired by
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim Helú, Honorary Lifetime Chairman
of Grupo Carso.
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
are vice-chairs with a number of influential and important people from the ICT
world and beyond joining as commissioners.
The Commission has the full support of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. It
will report to the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit in September.
The Commission is backing a campaign to encourage all nations to create A
National Broadband Vision.
In the 21st century, a broadband network is a basic national infrastructure –
just like transport, energy and water networks.
Build broadband networks and everything else will follow:
With so much at stake, principles for sustainability need to be combined with a
growing need for ICT connectivity in urban environments.
- The ability to control and use energy more efficiently.
- The ability to manage healthcare in poor, ageing or isolated populations.
- The ability to deliver the best possible education to future generations.
- The ability to take better care of our environment.
- The ability to streamline transport networks.
- And, crucially, the ability to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.
International consensus on standards for climate change mitigation and adaption,
energy saving, environmentally friendly technology, energy efficiency and
greenhouse gas emission accounting and verification, will provide a firm
foundation for designers, architects, engineers, developers and government
authorities to create sustainable cities.
This is why our work on energy efficient standards and a common methodology for
estimating the impact of ICTs on green house gas emissions is critical.
ITU will remain at the forefront of developing these standards and working with
our members – the world’s governments and ICT companies – and other partners to
ensure that as our population becomes more urban, the role of ICTs in the
sustainable development of our cities is both recognised and utilised.
We look forward to Turkey’s continued support to this endeavour.
Thank you once again for your invitation to take part in this event, which I am
sure will help galvanise stakeholders in Turkey to bring a better life to
Turkey’s cities through the application of ICTs.
Thank you for your attention.