Ladies and gentlemen,
What a great pleasure it is for me to be with you here in Moscow today, for the 42nd session of the Board of the Communications Administration Heads of the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications.
As Secretary-General of ITU, I cannot over-emphasize the importance and value of regional organizations such as RCC in helping us achieve our mandates.
Indeed, since its foundation at the end of 1991, RCC has proved itself a very valuable asset in the region, harmonizing communications networks; coordinating scientific and technical policy; managing radio spectrum; and participating in ITU’s activities and work – among other important activities.
I am especially pleased today to see items 6 and 7 on the agenda, which address ITU’s major upcoming conferences and development work.
The first on the agenda is the World Telecommunication Development Conference, which is taking place in Hyderabad, India, from 24 May to 4 June. I know that many of you here today have played an active part in the extensive preparations for this event, and especially during the Regional Preparatory Meeting which took place in Minsk last November, and we greatly appreciate your contributions.
The WTDC this year is an event of exceptional importance, as it will review the numerous programmes and initiatives of the Development Sector and set ITU’s development agenda for the four years ahead.
WTDC-10 will be an essential step in assessing the progress achieved in the implementation of the ambitious action plan launched in 2006 in Doha. The Conference will adopt a declaration and an action plan that will pave the way to building on the foundations of a truly global information society for all.
I note that RCC’s plans for participation in the event itself are well-advanced, and this is the kind of positive involvement at the regional level which I find truly encouraging.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our next global event of course is ITU’s 18th Plenipotentiary Conference, which will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 4 to 22 October.
As you know, the Plenipotentiary Conference sets our general policies, adopts four-year strategic and financial plans, and elects our senior management team. It is the key event at which ITU Member States decide on the future role of our organization – and thereby determine our ability to influence and affect the development of ICTs worldwide.
I cannot stress how important this is.
When ITU was founded, almost 150 years ago, life was very much simpler. ICTs hardly existed, and very few people had access to them – or indeed the benefits they bring.
Today, things are very different. We have brought ICTs within reach of most of the world’s people. By the time of the Plenipotentiary Conference in October, we will be very close to – if not already past – the five billion mark in terms of mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide.
The modern world is unthinkable – and would be quite unworkable – without ICTs, which have become the cornerstone of everything we do: always on, always connected, always on the move.
So the 18th Plenipotentiary Conference promises to be a landmark. What we achieve at PP-10 will not just affect the future of ITU and ITU’s work: it will affect the lives of everybody on the planet, in one way or another.
I am continuingly grateful for the support of RCC in its preparations for – and active participation in – PP-10.
Looking further ahead, preparations are also well underway for the Radiocommunication Assembly and World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12 and RA-12), which will be held back-to-back in January and February of 2012.
I am confident that RA-12 and WRC-12 will see us make further improvements to the Radio Regulations – not least because of the extensive work already undertaken by the RCC. This includes several meetings here in the CIS region, and most recently one in Yerevan, Armenia, at the beginning of April.
In closing, therefore, let me express, on behalf of ITU, our ongoing gratitude for RCC’s continued support and hard work, and to say once again how much we look forward to seeing you at each of these three major ITU conferences.
Your work and support is invaluable to us.