ITU

Committed to connecting the world

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum

10 April 2011, Nouméa, New Caledonia


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Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and an honour to be with you here in Nouméa today to deliver the closing address of the Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum.

The closing session of this regional meeting is a good opportunity for us to look back at the origins of the IGF, which was created as an outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS.

WSIS was organized by ITU, and took place in two phases, in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. It was the most wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive debate ever held on the future of the Information Society. For the first time, governments, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations and civil society all worked together hand in hand for the common good.

ITU proactively solicited contributions from stakeholders worldwide throughout the WSIS process, and by the time of the Tunis phase there was already significant global consensus on the principles governing ongoing policy deliberations.

At the close of that summit, in November 2005, we heralded a breakthrough agreement on Internet governance, which acknowledged the need for enhanced global cooperation. And we underlined the importance of strengthened cooperation in the development of globally applicable principles for the management of critical Internet resources.

The IGF was therefore created in accordance with paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda, as a fresh start to pave the way for discussions on a number of issues, including public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance, in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me reiterate ITU’s commitment to the WSIS process – and let me invite you to join us at the 2011 WSIS Forum, which will be taking place in Geneva in the middle of May.

This is just one example of our ongoing commitment since 2005 to implement both the letter and the spirit of our WSIS commitments.

Another good example is the issue of accessibility, which was highlighted at WSIS.

To achieve the goal of equitable communication for everyone, ITU, through our Standardization and Development bureaus, focuses on a series of strategic issues ranging from the rights of the disabled, to making technical design standards accessible, to providing education and training on accessible ICTs.

Another very important example is the biggest issue facing humanity today, which is of course climate change. In this regard, it is clear that ICTs are very much part of the solution – because while ICTs are responsible for 2-3% of global greenhouse emissions, they can help reduce emissions in other sectors by 15%.

As is so often the case, ICTs once again prove to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, so in this area there is a strong role for ITU:

Through our Standardization bureau, in developing standards for energy-efficient ICT equipment, and notably through ITU-T’s Environment and Climate Change Study Group – SG-5, which is working on a set of methodologies for assessing the environmental impact of ICT. This includes a global methodology which ICT companies could use to measure their carbon footprint, as well as to estimate the considerable savings in global greenhouse gas emissions and energy that can be achieved in other sectors through the use of ICTs.

Through ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector, supported by our Radiocommunication Bureau, which is identifying and protecting the necessary radiofrequency spectrum for climate monitoring and disaster prediction, detection and relief. This includes close cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization in the field of remote-sensing applications.

And through our Development bureau, which continues to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change, including the use of emergency telecommunications and alerting systems for disaster relief.

Distinguished colleagues,

Cybersecurity was another major area of concern highlighted at WSIS.

Our concrete response to Action Line C5 of WSIS, which was assigned to ITU, was to launch the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) in May 2007 – a global framework for international cooperation aimed at enhancing global public confidence and security in the use of ICTs.

The GCA is now in its operational phase, and several global initiatives have been implemented, including both IMPACT and Child Online Protection.

ITU is proud to have forged a strong and highly supportive relationship with IMPACT – the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats.

As the world’s first comprehensive alliance against cyberthreats, IMPACT brings together governments, academia and industry experts to enhance the global community’s capabilities.

IMPACT is the key organization fulfilling ITU’s cybersecurity mandate in an operational sense, in that it provides our 192 Member States with access to expertise, facilities and resources to effectively address cyberthreats, as well as assisting UN bodies in protecting their ICT infrastructures.

Almost 90 countries are now part of the ITU-IMPACT operational deployment, which assists Member States in improving their cybersecurity, through activities and projects such as:

Facilitating free-of-charge access to the Global Response Centre (GRC), as the foremost cyberthreat resource centre for the global community. I am proud to announce that 90 countries are currently using this capability;

Facilitating the establishment of Computer Incident Response Teams (CIRTs), performing on-site assessments and elaborating implementation strategies. As of today, 21 countries have been assessed and we are now moving to the implementation phase. This includes the support provided to the Pacific Community in establishing the Pacific CIRT;

Delivering assistance to UN agencies, following requests to help them in improving the security of their ICT infrastructures and the services delivered to their constituencies. Assessments and penetration tests were conducted for a number of UN specialized agencies, and coordination is currently in progress to provide cybersecurity solutions and capabilities.

I would also like to mention the work that ITU is currently doing on Cybercrime in the Pacific, within the ITU/EC ICB4PAC project which covers 15 countries in the region.

Assessments on national legislations have been performed, collecting national and regional requirements, and these were presented during a workshop in Vanuatu just a few weeks ago.

The countries concerned asked ITU to carry on and assist them in facilitating the elaboration on cybercrime legislation, taking into account both national and regional needs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Another key activity within the GCA has been ITU’s Child Online Protection initiative, COP.

With a globally coordinated approach to cybersecurity, we also need to recognize the very real dangers being faced by children and young people online – who often find themselves in cyberspace alone and unprotected. Often, this is simply because their guardians do not fully understand the risks.

This is why, at the High Level Segment of ITU Council 2008, we launched COP, as a multi-stakeholder coalition under the GCA framework. COP was endorsed by Heads of State, Ministers and heads of international organizations from around the world – including Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General.

Since then, ITU has established an international collaborative network for promoting the online protection of children worldwide. Working closely with COP partners, we created and published four sets of guidelines for policy makers, industry, parents and educators, and children themselves.

At the end of last year we also published ‘Child Online Protection Statistical Framework and Indicators’, which is the world’s first attempt  to provide the overall statistical framework related to the measurement of COP, with a particular emphasis on measures that are suitable for international comparison.

With our new patron, President Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, the COP initiative is now working to transform the COP guidelines into concrete activities which will deliver significant national benefits.

Distinguished colleagues,

At the end of next year, at the request of our membership, ITU will be holding the World Conference on International Telecommunications, WCIT.

The conference will look at ways to revise the current International Telecommunications Regulations, the ITRs, which were adopted in 1988. They have served us well, but all agree that they need to reflect the significant changes that have taken place over the past 24 years.

In particular this includes the liberalization and privatization of much of the telecommunications sector, and also the increasing convergence of technologies and services, which sometimes blur the traditional distinctions between telecommunications and computer technology.

Items for discussion at WCIT also include ‘security in the use of ICTs’ and ‘spam’, both of which are increasingly preoccupying in the modern world today.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In closing, let me say once more that ITU has been and will continue to be an active participant in the IGF process.

In the past, we have played a lead role by organizing events including workshops, open forums, and dynamic coalitions on a range of topics such as critical Internet resources, cybersecurity, accessibility and climate change.

We have also provided funding to support the participation of experts from developing countries – through a generous donation from the Canadian government.

ITU remains committed to working with all the stakeholders, and is pleased to be able to offer a forum for open discussion of the issues.

Thank you.