Members of the Academic Council
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here with you today in Bishkek, and a tremendous honour for me to receive an Honorary Doctorate from such a well-reputed educational institution which is renowned both within the Kyrgyz Republic and beyond its borders.
It is particularly gratifying for me to be able to address you in Russian, since I am myself a graduate of the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute of Communications – which I was invited to in May to receive an honorary doctorate from what is now the St Petersburg State University of Telecommunications.
This is my third visit to your wonderful and welcoming country, and in receiving this high award from your academic institution, I would like to share with you a few brief thoughts on the future prospects for the development of the ICT sector.
In recent years, the CIS has been a most dynamic region in the ICT sector, particularly in the area of mobile communications. Between 2000 and 2010, growth reached 67 per cent in the CIS and no less than 88 per cent in the Kyrgyz Republic, which had reached mobile cellular teledensity approaching 100 per cent by the beginning of this year; a tremendous achievement.
I am very pleased that the country's President and Government recognize ICT as a priority area for development of the economy. I took part in the opening ceremony of the unique joint educational television project between ITU and the Kyrgyz Republic, "Alippe TV", together with the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Her Excellency Ms Roza Otunbayeva, witnessing yet again the unlimited potential of ICTs, in this case for education.
In view of the impact which the ICT sector has on every country's economic development, the next major challenge will be to develop broadband, which is becoming a critically important factor for social and economic progress in the 21st century.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, the level of Internet penetration is still relatively low in the Kyrgyz Republic, particularly in rural areas, but actions being taken in this regard augur well. The targets set, namely connecting all schools in the country to broadband Internet by 2011-2012, are simply excellent.
We face massive challenges, especially where broadband is not only limited but is also very expensive.
Within ITU, work is being carried out on a wide range of initiatives with a view to both enhancing capacity for global access to ICTs, especially broadband, and at the same time bringing down the cost of access.
It is precisely to this end that ITU announced the “Build on Broadband” initiative, and we are proud to be playing a key role in the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which was set up by ITU and UNESCO last year.
The Broadband Commission is co-chaired by the President of Rwanda, His Excellency Mr Paul Kagame, and Mr Carlos Slim from Mexico; and I myself together with the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, serve as its vice-chairs.
Broadband technologies make it possible for everyone on our planet to access global riches. However, they also open up new opportunities for evil-doers and, in particular, cybercriminals.
Given the magnitude of the threat, ITU has assumed a leading role in the coordination of global efforts in this area, and, back in 2007 we unveiled the “Global Cybersecurity Agenda”. These issues were also reflected in the decisions of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference which took place in 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
More and more often, we see children being targeted by all kinds of criminals, including paedophiles. Crimes committed against children in an Internet environment are on the increase every year.
With this in mind, we have also launched the “Child Online Protection” (COP) initiative, which is being implemented by ITU and other interested parties.
Distinguished members of the Academic Council,
I have referred briefly to some of the extremely important global initiatives undertaken by ITU, as the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs. A lot has been accomplished, but much more remains to be done, which we will only be able to achieve with the support of all ITU Member States. This is the goal I pursue day in, day out.
I hope that the Kyrgyz Republic, including your – now also my – university, as a member of the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector, will support these ITU initiatives and spare no effort to help make them a complete success.
I dream and believe that, by all working together, we will create a world in which everyone will can benefit from the extraordinary advantages of ICTs, irrespective of where they live, what language they speak, what nationality they hold and which religion they belong to.
Let us pull together to achieve this dream!