Geneva, Switzerland, 2 July 2012
Deputy Secretary-General, Director of BR, Mr Chairman, Vice-Chairmen of TSAG, Chairman of RAG, dear colleagues and friends, welcome to the opening of this special TSAG meeting to prepare for WTSA-12. Thank you all for being here.
Firstly let me share the sentiments of the Deputy Secretary-General with regards to Richard Butler who passed away last week.
Dick was a good friend, a gentleman who always showed respect to others, and was himself highly respected. He made a significant contribution to ITU in his time as Deputy Secretary-General and Secretary-General.
In the context of the current interest in the ITRs it is worth remembering that it was he that helped negotiate the current text of Article 9 which is widely recognized as enabling the implementation of the Internet.
As the Deputy Secretary-General mentioned, 2012 is a very busy year for ITU, and that certainly includes ITU-T.
The first six months of the year saw a TSAG meeting and preparatory meetings for WTSA and WCIT in all six regions. Let me add my thanks to the regional organisations for their cooperation in organising these meetings which greatly reduced the burden on ITU’s resources. I believe these WCIT and WTSA preparatory meetings, and the remaining regional meetings, plus this TSAG preparatory meeting, will place us in a very good position for a successful WTSA. I am pleased that Mr Mohammed GHEYATH who has been nominated by UAE as WTSA-12 Chairman is here with us for this meeting.
WTSA-12 will review the achievements of ITU-T over the study period in meeting its strategic goals, which as you well know are:
To develop interoperable, non-discriminatory international standards (ITU-T Recommendations)
To assist in bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries
To extend and facilitate international cooperation among international, regional and national standardization bodies
So what have we accomplished? Over the last four years some 550 new Recommendations were approved, our conformity and interoperability programme is progressing well on all four pillars, our membership continues to increase with 31 new members so far this year, which by the way means our net income has increased by CHF 100,000, we have seen 41 countries participating in ITU-T for the first time, and most of those are developing countries, 16 new countries last year alone, and we have entered into new cooperation agreements with a number of regional and national standardisation bodies.
Last year TSB organised a record 135 meetings, with near 7500 participants which all contributed to the achievements of our strategic goals.
We have introduced many new initiatives over the study period, this year alone we have started work in a number of new areas such as: bridging the gap from innovation to standards; machine-to-machine; network resilience to disasters; and SmartCable TV.
We have also accelerated work in areas such as: cloud computing; intelligent transport; and ICTs and climate change.
I am very much looking forward to Dubai. We will have excellent facilities, a wide range of hotels at reasonable rates close to the venue, excellent weather, a clean and safe environment, and I am sure our kind hosts will do everything to ensure a successful outcome.
If you have not already booked your hotel then I encourage you to do so. There is a booking facility available on the host country website which you can access via the ITU WTSA page.
Resolution 35 of WTSA encourages Member States and ITU-T Sector Members to advise the Director of suitable candidates for chairmanships and vice chairmanships at least three months before the opening of WTSA.
I am pleased to inform you that we have already received several proposals which you can find listed on the WTSA web page.
There is only a small window of time left, so I encourage you to submit further proposals as soon as possible.
The WTSA-08 Action Plan, which reviews progress in implementing all 49 WTSA Resolutions has been updated for this TSAG meeting. I believe this shows good progress in fulfilling the mandate given by WTSA-08.
On the issue of conformity and interoperability we have some important documents submitted to this this meeting, including the business plan produced by KPMG. We have received some initial support for our proposed action plan and look forward to pursuing this important activity.
On the issue of restructuring, you will recall that there was a significant restructuring at the last WTSA, and I note there is a lot of support to maintain the current structure.
With many new activities underway, the continuing proposals for new initiatives, the increasing participation in our meetings, the increasing number of new members, and the dedication of the TSB staff, I believe ITU-T is in a very strong position to continue meeting its objectives in the next study period.
And in addition, we can offer truly world-class facilities, especially here in the Popov room. This TSAG meeting offers remote participation in six languages, alongside a captioned webcast.
I am pleased to announce that Alex Ntoko has been appointed as Chief of Operations and Planning Department in the TSB following the retirement of Art Levin in March. Alex has considerable experience and expertise and I am sure he will contribute significantly to TSBs efforts to support the membership.
Finally I would like to express my appreciation for the excellent collaboration we enjoy with the other Sectors of ITU, and my thanks especially to François and Brahima.
Areas of cooperation include: home networking; climate change; child online protection; intelligent transport; accessibility; conformity and interoperability; and since the beginning of last year we now have in place a mechanism to ensure the coordination of workshops and other events.
I strongly believe that this collaboration is vital in the service of our membership and in the pursuit of our common goal to connect the world.
We have a busy meeting ahead of us with around 90 documents for consideration and many more for noting. We are fortunate to have such an efficient chairman to see us through the agenda. Clearly we need to concentrate on the issues related to the preparations for WTSA, which is the purpose of this meeting. So with that I wish you all a successful meeting and I look forward to receiving your advice.