Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Multi-stakeholder ICT Forum:
Bridging Broadband Barriers through Genuine and Durable Partnerships for the Sustainable Development of SIDS
Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau
- Your Excellency Mr Tuilaépa, Prime Minister of Samoa and Chairman of the Conference
- Your Excellency Mr Lord Tuʻivakanō, Prime Minister and Minister of Information and Communications, Kingdom of Tonga
- Your Excellency Mr Joe Natuman, Prime Minister and Minister of Telecommunications, Vanuatu
- Your Excellency Mr Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister, Tuvalu
- Your Excellency Mr Baron Waqa, President of Nauru
- Your Excellency Mr Manny Mori, President, Micronesia
- Your Excellency Mr Christopher Loeak, President of Marshall Islands
- Your Excellency Mr Manasseh Maelagag, Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands
- CEOs and Representatives of Inmarsat, Intelsat, ITSO and Kacific
- Ms Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP and Chairman of the UN Development Group
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the ITU Side Event which is a Multi-stakeholder ICT Forum to discuss how we could bridge broadband barriers through genuine and durable partnerships for the sustainable development of small island developing states.
This multi-stakeholder forum is taking place under the auspices of the third international conference on SIDS, and it is a real honour to be with you here in Samoa – as someone who has been passionately engaged on telecommunications and partnership building issues for so many years.
I think we all agree that broadband is key to progress in all nations in the 21st century, and that broadband has already become a critical national infrastructure, like transport and other utility networks.
Indeed, without broadband, it is clear that we will never be able to meet our development goals, including in crucial areas such as education, healthcare and poverty reduction, but also innovation, enterprise and employment.
While there is no single magic solution to bringing broadband to under-served areas in SIDS, satellite solutions have a role to play. For that reason, today we will launch a project on the connectivity of Pacific Islands through satellite technology. The project will be piloted in Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. This project brings together a strong partnership formed with Inmarsat, Intelsat, ITSO, Kacific and ITU. I thank these partners for their longstanding relationship and partnership with ITU.
I also want to thank the Pacific Island states themselves for their vision and commitment to get their countries connected and for contributing to the project. Through this project, we hope to provide low cost, and reliable Internet connection to communities living on remote islands. A number of e-centers or points of presence will be setup at schools and in communities across the islands while ensuring that they will be within easy reach of the population. The infrastructure and services that we are putting in place will be used for both socio-economic development and for disaster risk reduction and management. In so doing, we will optimize the use of the scarce resources for sustainable development of SIDS. Once this is successfully implemented, I intend to replicate the project in the Caribbean and Africa, home to other SIDS.
The project has many benefits as it will not only improve connectivity. It will make it possible for governments and people to use e-applications for education, health, agriculture, tourism, disaster management and other facets of human life.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me close by expressing my profound excitement with the realization of this important project.
As I have committed before, I also commit now that I will continue to mobilize more resources and forge partnerships in order to get all islands connected and using ICT for sustainable development. It is my hope that the 3rd International Conference on SIDS will once again recognize the importance of Information and Communication Technology for the sustainable development of SIDS in the post-2015 development agenda.
The challenge of small island developing states is our challenge – so let's make sure we all play our part in addressing that challenge!
We have with us here Ms Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP and Chairman of the United Nations Development Group. Her presence is a sign of her personal commitment to engage other UN agencies to use ICTs as perfect tool for development.
I am fully committed.
Thank you for your attention.