Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau
Telecommunication Development Advisory Group (TDAG)
9 May 2017
Professor Vladimir Minkin, Chairman of TDAG,
H.E. Mr Héctor Marcelo Cima, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic to the United Nations,
Representatives of Member States, Sector Members, Associates and Academia,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 22nd meeting of the Telecommunication Development Advisory Group (TDAG).
Since we last met in this room about a year ago, the international community has increasingly recognized that telecommunication/ICTs are a cross-cutting enabler for growth and development. Policy makers, regulators, the private sector, development partners and all stakeholders in the ICT ecosystem, need more than ever to establish an inclusive and collaborative dialogue to achieve socio-economic development.
António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), "we need to broaden the circle of action to include governments, bilateral and international organizations, and international financial institutions. Partnerships with civil society, the business community and others are critical to success."
I can only endorse that statement, and I am happy to be able to say that the Telecommunication Development Bureau has shown the way as far as initiating this dialogue is concerned. Last year alone, we strengthened intersectoral collaboration with UNESCO, WHO, FAO and UNIDO, and I have no doubt that this trend will continue in the years to come.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This meeting of TDAG is the last one before the World Telecommunication Development Conference, which will convene in Buenos Aires from 9 to 20 October of this year.
Socio-economic development and the SDGs will be at the centre of our discussions because ICTs have a key role to play and a vital contribution to make in accelerating the attainment of the SDGs.
Significant efforts have been made to engage our Members at an early stage in the preparation of the key output documents of WTDC-17. Preliminary drafts of the WTDC-17 Declaration, ITU-D's contribution to the ITU Strategic Plan, and the ITU-D Action Plan, which were prepared and discussed at the last TDAG and its correspondence group meetings, were submitted to the six Regional Preparatory Meetings.
A coordination meeting was held yesterday to consolidate the outcomes of the RPMs into a single report. The correspondence groups will complete their work during the course of today and tomorrow. Their reports will be submitted for you to examine on Thursday and Friday. Together we have established a consensus. Together we will continue to build upon that consensus on the issues of development and WTDC-17 outcomes.
We have reached a number of important milestones on the way to WTDC-17 by holding the six RPMs. In Bishkek, Kigali, Khartoum, Asunción, Bali and Vilnius, all six preparatory meetings have provided a platform for open dialogue, cooperation and partnership. The next stop on our journey will be Buenos Aires. The Argentinian capital is our destination, but also the starting point of a new, important adventure towards the future.
I am convinced that we will have a memorable WTDC-17. To make this happen we all need to continue improving the level of trust among ourselves. It is through that trust that consensus will be achieved in Buenos Aires. The whole world is watching us and placing in us the hope that we will provide it with high-quality telecommunication and ICT services in order to stimulate development. This is the deep meaning of the theme of the Conference, "ICT for Sustainable Development Goals".
So I very much look forward to WTDC-17, when we will review our results and accomplishments and define our way forward with new and innovative ways of meeting our objectives and accelerating the attainment of the SDGs.
As you know, ITU-D celebrates its 25th birthday this year. Celebration of this silver jubilee event will culminate on 11 October in Buenos Aires with a series of debates and a gala dinner. We are offering opportunities for the private sector and Member States to provide sponsorship.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The potential of ICTs for promoting development is vast. I am confident that WTDC-17 will reinforce the active and driving role of ITU-D in promoting innovation for sustainable development.