2nd Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications
(GET-2016): Saving Lives
26-28 January 2016
Telecommunication Development Bureau
• His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Abdulla Al-Mubarak Al-Subah, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Acting Minister of Electricity and Water, State of Kuwait
• His Excellency Mr. Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga
• His Excellency Eng. Salem Al Othainah, Chairman CITRA, State of Kuwait
• Eng. Hameed Al Qattan, Undersecretary Ministry of Communications, State of Kuwait
• His Excellency Eng. Salem Al Othainah, Chairman of CITRA, Kuwait
• Eng. Hameed Al Qattan, Undersecretary Ministry of Communications, Kuwait
• Honorable Ministers
• Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU
• Other dignitaries here present
• Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to add my voice to that of the Secretary General of ITU to welcome you and thank the Government and the people of Kuwait.
As you know, almost every day there is news of a natural disaster occurring somewhere in the world. Some disasters are bigger than others. Some cause more loss of life and economic disruption than others.
From 2000 to 2015 there has been a total of 1.3 Million lives lost and over 3.2 billion people, almost 44% percent of the world population, affected by natural disasters. The economic losses resulting from these disasters is estimated at 2.1 trillion US dollars.
For us in the business of telecommunication development, it can be frustrating to see that telecommunication networks that take years and millions of dollars to build, get destroyed in a matter of seconds.
This happens to be the reality of life. We need to do something about all this and this is the reason why we are here today in the 2nd Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications.
This three-day Forum provides us a unique opportunity to explore the role of telecommunications and ICT in mitigating and responding to natural disasters. As you already know, whatever the nature of the disaster, telecommunications and ICT play a critical role in ensuring that humanitarian operations are coordinated and that victims have access to information that can save thousands if not millions of lives.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to cease this opportunity to thank all our partners who have been contributing to our work in providing support to affected countries. This has made it possible for us to deploy emergency telecommunications in almost all the regions of the world.
Recently, we successfully intervened in countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. The results of the big data project that we recently launched will be presented to you later on.
Technology is bringing about innovative solutions to disaster risk management and emergency telecommunication as you will see in the exhibition outside the meeting room and during one the panels. We need to explore innovative mechanisms to support the technology.
In the framework I will officially launch, here in Kuwait-city, two programmes calling for multistakeholder cooperation and action: The ITU Network of Volunteers for Emergency Telecommunication, and the Global Emergency Fund for Rapid Response.
In conclusion, I would like to thank His Highness for honoring this opening ceremony with his presence and thank the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga, all Ministers, Directors generals, leaders of international organizations, private sector, Academia and NGOs who joined here today to express and act together in line with our passion for compassion.
I thank you very much.