Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure and privilege to join the host in welcoming you to this Regional Development Forum that comes just before the Regional Preparatory Meeting.
I would like to express my gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Filip Pavel, Minister of Information Technologies and Communications of Republic of Moldova and the entire Government of the Republic of Moldova for hosting us here in this city of natural beauty expressed through the hills and the lakes. You will all agree with me that the hospitality is excellent and the facilities are of a very high standard.
The Regional Development Forum creates a platform for information sharing and dissemination. We hold this event in each of the 6 regions in order to inform our membership of the progress we have made in implementing the ITU-D activities that include Regional Initiatives and Operational Plan activities. The feedback, comments and suggestions that we get at these forums are valuable to us as we try to improve the products and services that we provide to our members.
This year, the theme of the Forum is Trends in the Development of Telecommunications/ICT in the CIS Region. It is a good theme that opens doors for us to discuss matters that are of interest to the countries in terms of bridging the digital divide and alleviating poverty.
It also addresses issues of interest to industry in terms of competitiveness and market opportunities in the fast moving ICT sector.
The outputs of the RDF of this year will certainly enrich the discussions in the upcoming Regional Preparatory Meeting that will start tomorrow.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The CIS Region is one of the most dynamic and fast moving regions of the world in terms of ICT development. Now that the region has almost achieved universal access to mobile communications, the next challenge is to develop fixed and mobile broadband to the same scale.
This will contribute to sustainable development through timely service delivery for health, education, banking, and business.
I believe that we should take all measures to avoid a new digital divide arising from unequal access to broadband technologies.
As we talk about ICT for development, I must share with you some good news. I recently launched two exciting initiatives namely; the m-Powering Development and the Smart Sustainable Development Model. Both of these initiatives seek to harness ICT technology for the betterment of humanity.
You will agree with me that it is not enough to just have technology at your finger-tips. It is a matter of how you use it to change positively your life, that of your family, your community and your country. I must add that these two initiatives are driven by partnerships between governments and industry.
ITU plays a catalytic role in helping to forge these co-financing arrangements and to provide seed funds where needed. I really believe that if we work together, we could make a huge difference in our people’s lives and that, in a short time.
In the interest of time, I will not go into detail to explain these initiatives. However, my colleagues and I are available to give you more details.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The items of your agenda such as:
-enabling environment for the development of broadband, e-applications and cybersecurity;
-the public-private partnership or improved capacity building
-and the future of the information society are of utmost importance for ITU-D. My colleagues and I will certainly listen carefully to your debates and take good note for our work.
Let me end by wishing you very fruitful discussions.