Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 4 April 2012
Distinguished colleagues and friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome you to this RCC Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Conference on International Communications.
On behalf of the ITU Secretary-General I would like to thank Director General of the JSC Uzbektelecom, Mr Makhmudov, for his kind welcoming words and for chairing this event and the Uzbek administration for hosting this event. ITU Secretariat is pleased to be able to support this event and to collaborate closely once more with the RCC. I would particularly like to thank Mr Nurudin Mukhitdinov personally for all his efforts to ensure good collaboration between ITU and RCC.
Although WCIT is not an ITU-T Sector conference since it is likely to impact ITU-T more than the other two sectors the Secretary-General has decided that I should coordinate the ITU Secretariat’s preparations for WCIT. I am pleased to be joined by Yury Grin, Deputy Director, BDT; Orozobek Kaiykov, Director of the ITU Area Office, Moscow; Richard Hill, TSB; and Mr Preetam Maloor, General Secretariat. I am pleased that CITEL is also represented here by Bruce Gracie.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Vice Chairman of the Council working group for this region - Mr Albert Nalbandian – for his excellent contribution.
ITU’s ICT Development Index shows that Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia are within the world’s top 10 countries according to improvements.
Armenia was in fact number one in the world in this classification.
Over 2008 to 2010, most CIS countries doubled the proportion of their people using the Internet. Armenia, however, multiplied this number of people by more than six times, an example of the extraordinary ICT growth rates possible in this region.
Additionally, growth in the use of broadband was quite staggering, notably with Belarus more than tripling the number of its people using fixed Broadband, and Mobile Broadband also experienced enormous surges in use in the region.
Connecting the world and all of its inhabitants is ITU’s key objective. Many Resolutions drawn up at our major conferences seek to achieve this objective.
The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) will be the last of three major ITU conferences in 2012. It will take place 3 – 14 December 2012 in Dubai.
The WCIT will be the first ever and the first conference to amend the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) adopted in Melbourne in 1988.
This international treaty that was widely credited for creating the basis of today's connected world, a major driver of liberalisation and competition and the development of mobile communications and the Internet.
A lot has changed since 1988. I think we can all agree that this conference comes at a time when the ICT sector is having a major impact on economic and social development, and an opportunity to extend the benefits of ICTs still further.
WCIT will express the common will of ITU's major stakeholders – its government and private sector membership – and this meeting starting today, as well as the council working group, and the other regional preparatory meetings like this are part of an ongoing preparatory process.
Some of the issues on the table include the right to communicate; security in the use of ICTs and the protection of national resources; taxation, roaming; misuse and hijacking of international numbers; and interoperability.
These are issues that will affect the creation of a fully inclusive information society over the next decade, one that ensures the world's people can gain equitable and affordable access to voice, video and data.
It is generally agreed that there is a need to lay down principles on these topics that concern us all and which require agreement at an intergovernmental level.
In particular data volumes are increasing much faster than the infrastructure needed to carry it. There is a risk of a lack of investment in the infrastructure. This needs to be addressed internationally.
The Council working group to prepare for WCIT will next meet in Geneva 23-25 April and the final meeting will take place 20-22 June 2012. The publication of its report will be on 29 June 2012 (5 months prior to WCIT) and will include a consolidation of all the proposals it has received.
Member States are asked to submit their proposals for the work of the conference at least four months before the start of WCIT, which is by 3 August 2012.
In the interests of sustainable and equitable growth of global ICTs I strongly urge this region to take an active role in the preparatory process. This WCIT is an opportunity not to be missed.
I wish you a productive meeting and my colleagues and I will do all we can to assist you reach a successful conclusion.