19th meeting of the
Telecommunication Development Advisory Group
Geneva, 29 September to 1 October 2014
Opening remarks by Mr Brahima Sanou,
Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau
Prof. Vladimir Minkin, Chairman of TDAG,
Representatives of Member States and of Sector Members,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to welcome you to this 19th meeting of the Telecommunication Development Advisory Group.
The year 2014 is an important year for the Telecommunication Development Sector. The Sixth World Telecommunication Development Conference was held in Dubai earlier in the year from 30 March to 10 April under the theme "Broadband for Sustainable Development" and adopted the Dubai Declaration and the Dubai Action Plan along with a series of strategic resolutions that will pave the way for our work over the next four years.
The conference also requested TDAG to elaborate outcome indicators and fine‑tune the key performance indicators defined by WTDC. Document 4, which is the result of analysis by staff throughout BDT, is submitted for your attention in that regard.
In implementing the Dubai Action Plan, we will continue to strengthen synergies across all our activities to optimize the use of resources and achieve maximum impact. In pursuing each of the five strategic objectives – which we will be implementing through our programmes, regional initiatives and study group Questions – our work is all inter‑related.
Our success also depends on how thoroughly we apply the principles of results‑based management. I am a firm believer in the benefits of results‑based management as it will help strengthen our accountability and transparency. It will also help us identify measures to make further improvement over the long term in providing our services and delivering results.
Modern management methods oblige us to work towards tangible outcomes. By clearly defining the outcomes we are seeking, assessing the progress we are making at regular intervals, and taking corrective action promptly, we can make the most of our experience and use our human and financial resources to best advantage. It is in this spirit that we have prepared the draft rolling operational plan for the period 2015‑2018, which is presented for your consideration at this 19th meeting of TDAG.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The ICT sector has changed hugely in the past ten years. The digital ecosystem has had fundamental consequences on how we communicate and how we live our lives. We have seen the market for applications explode, with several million new users every month. In 2013, there were 100 billion downloads.
In this constantly changing ecosystem, metadata are hailed as opening new frontiers to innovation, competition and productivity. Today they offer new possibilities for socio‑economic development.
The notion of ICT infrastructure is expanding. No longer does it refer to physical infrastructure alone, but is now broadening its scope to include metadata. This is a new state of affairs that we have to take into account in implementing the Dubai Action Plan.
The statistics and indicators that we are making available to the world are based on collecting data and performing sampling‑based analysis. Metadata, in today's environment of virtually limitless computing power, storage capacity, and calculating speed, are opening new horizons and new opportunities. I have already taken steps to reorient our strategy in this area and our new approach will be put before the forthcoming World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium to take place from 24 to 26 November in Tbilisi, Georgia. To all of you I reiterate my invitation to attend.
All stakeholders must take part in the digital dialogue and ITU must continue to serve as a neutral, open, multi‑sectoral and multi‑player platform with a view to that inclusive dialogue.
At recent Global Symposia for Regulators (GSRs), I was pleased to see that major players and non‑traditional players were present and participated in widening the digital dialogue. So that everyone can benefit from the opportunities offered by digital technology today, it is imperative to work together to create a synergy that brings together all players' comparative advantages.
ICTs and associated applications such as "e‑government", "e‑agriculture", "e‑education", "e‑health", and "e‑entrepreneurship" contribute to socio‑economic development. Players in the agriculture, education, health and commerce sectors are now, de facto, part of the ICT ecosystem.
Since 2012, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), we have been implementing the Be Healthy, Be Mobile initiative aimed at developing and disseminating best practices to promote healthier living through the use of mobile technology.
During the next four years, we will be working to strengthen our partnerships with other bodies in the United Nations family to establish linkages with key government services and integrate those services within the ICT ecosystem, particularly in regard to the education system in partnership with UNESCO and the agriculture sector in partnership with FAO.
One other area I must mention is the work we do in support of small island developing states in line with various ITU resolutions, including WCIT Resolution 1 on the connectivity of SIDS.
I have just attended the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa, where BDT organized parallel events on connectivity and emergency telecommunication.
We will continue to provide targeted assistance to small island developing states based on their priority needs, by providing capacity building for adapting to the effects of climate change. In Samoa, we also launched a pilot project on satellite communication for remote islands.
Ladies and gentlemen,
To ensure that the Dubai Action Plan will be implemented efficiently, we have placed capacity building for the Telecommunication Development Bureau, and making more effective use of our financial and human resources, among our absolute priorities for the next four years.
I have already taken the initiative of holding a BDT staff retreat from 30 June to 4 July, at which we deepened our understanding of results‑based management and conducted a specific application with respect to the 2015 operational plan. That has made it possible to solidify team spirit around the implementation of the Dubai Action Plan.
Given that brainpower is the key raw material and productivity tool in an organization such as ITU, the quality of personnel is a decisive factor in achieving our objectives. We are emphasizing staff training during the next four years and will continue to ensure that hiring and promotion are based, first and foremost, on technical competence, positive personal qualities and merit.
As to financial resources, we are reviewing our funding strategy. The new strategy, which we hope to finalize by the end of 2014, will take new players in the ICT ecosystem into account and propose innovative approaches for mobilizing resources and building partnerships.
We must also broaden ITU‑D's membership base. We will continue to attract new Sector Members, Associates and Academia, and offer products that will retain Sector Members. At this meeting of TDAG, we shall extend our recognition and express our thanks to Sector Members now marking their tenth year of contributing towards the work of ITU‑D.
I take this occasion to recognize in particular the Argentine Administration, which has taken the innovative step of funding the contribution of 17 Argentine institutions of higher learning so that they can come to know ITU better before making financial commitments on their own. I thank Argentina for taking this initiative and invite all other Member States to do likewise.
Ladies and gentlemen,
To make the greatest impact, we must continue to strengthen our regional presence – which I would define as the whole of the administrative and financial mechanisms, and human resources both at headquarters and in the field, working together – to offer services of the highest quality to all members.
To do this, we must expand our area of action and increase the impact of our field offices because it is in the field that our results are most visible. It is in the field and in isolated parts of the globe that we find the necessary motivation for the relentless pursuance and improvement of our undertakings.
It is in the field that we meet people like Miriam in Tanzania who now has access to computers, thanks to the Connect a School, Connect a Community project, and goes home in the evening to share with her mom her new discoveries online, or Irina in Moldova, who now uses the computers installed in the local post office to access the Internet, which has now become available to people who could not previously afford a connection of their own, or Denis, a blind student from Bulgaria, and his fellow classmates, who now have access to computers specifically designed for the sightless.
You will have noticed that I have often spoken of "innovation" in these remarks. That is the best way to drive home the point that innovation will be the touchstone for all aspects of our activities through the next four years.
Members of ITU‑D,
BDT has done a lot of very good things, with the fullest of transparency and humility. But I have to acknowledge that we have been lacking in communication with our members. During the next four years, we will continue to improve the ways in which you can take part in our activities and will increase our interaction with you.
We will continue to enhance the readability of our website and find innovative ways to send information your way.
We have already been pioneers in making the "ITU‑D events" mobile app available to you, which lets you access the calendar of events and associated documents on your mobile device.
And I am pleased to announce that we are currently developing a browser optimization app that requires less bandwidth. That way, you can access our data on mobile devices using less data transmission capacity and hence at lower cost.
The initial results look promising, and we will begin testing the first version in the field by the end of the year.
Distinguished delegates, TDAG participants,
There you have some of the key priorities for implementing the Dubai Action Plan that I wished to share with you at this first TDAG meeting following WTDC‑14.
Every area of our work has a tremendous impact on people's lives, and we can rightly be proud of our work which we, together, have accomplished thus far.
Had it not been for your support through the years, we should not have been able to achieve these tangible results. As our mission is far from being over, I should like to ask for your continuing support because your collaboration, your partnership (especially in the case of the private sector), your advice and your opinions are of major importance to enable the Dubai Action Plan to become a reality for every one of us.
I thank you for your attention.