Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you here on behalf of the Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré, who cannot unfortunately be with us today as he is speaking at a broadband event in Stockholm this morning.
Many of you may have heard the sad news that our former Secretary-General, Richard Butler, passed away over the weekend, at the age of 86.
Richard Butler was Deputy Secretary-General from 1968 to 1982, and Secretary-General from 1982 to 1989.
Even after leaving ITU he continued to play a very active role in ITU’s work, right up to just a few weeks ago.
Indeed, he was here for RA-12 and WRC-12, earlier this year, and he will be missed by all of us.
Let me therefore ask you to stand and give a minute’s silence for Richard Butler.
There is a condolences book for Richard Butler, and I invite you to take advantage of this to share your memories of this fine man. The book will be passed on to his family in the fullness of time.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I myself am just returning from Rio de Janeiro, where I led the ITU delegation to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in the company of the secretary of this meeting, Fabio Leite, and other colleagues.
Let me tell you that ITU can be proud of ensuring that our message on the importance of ICTs for supporting sustainable development was heard loud and clear: the initial draft barely mentioned ICTs, but the approved final document contains some 14 references to ICTs, including an explicit mention of the use of space systems.
I kindly invite you to review the final document of Rio+20 and to give your comments and advice to the BR Director on the way our Sector can contribute to the implementation of the Conference decisions – in particular with regards to the development of global sustainable development goals.
I would like to congratulate the Membership for the tremendous work that has already been achieved this year in the field of radiocommunications, notably via the Radiocommunication Assembly and the World Radiocommunication Conference.
Without going into too much detail, I think we can all agree that the approval of the Recommendation and Resolutions that not only establish the IMT-Advanced technologies but also initiate ITU-R studies for the further development of global mobile broadband communications was a major highlight of RA-12.
I should also mention the issue of UTC and the leap second, which was addressed at RA-12, and which attracted quite unprecedented media attention.
It is a testament to ITU’s important place in the world that the discussion surrounding UTC and the leap second took place here, and it will be very interesting to see how this issue is eventually resolved at RA-15 and WRC-15.
WRC-12, of course, was a tremendous success for the Union, for the Radiocommunication Sector, and for the ICT industry as a whole.
The conference was totally responsive to the expectations of membership, and the outcomes were not just far-reaching, but were achieved – in the renowned tradition of ITU – leaving all delegates and delegations equally happy with the results.
WRC-12 was very important indeed in terms of its achievements – in areas including mobile broadband requirements; the digital dividend; earth observation radiocommunication applications; improvements of safety in the sea and in the air; and the enhancement of the satellite regulatory regime.
WRC-12 was also a landmark conference for ITU in terms of management and logistics, and let me just remind you of a few significant numbers which help sum up the size and scale of the event:
- WRC-12 handled over 26,000 document files electronically, on top of almost 20,000 Individual Proposal files which were posted.
- We had almost two million downloads from the ITU WRC-12 website – not including downloads performed using the synchronization tool.
- We provided webcasts of more than 170 sessions, and registered almost 20,000 accesses to the live feeds – and over 90,000 accesses to the archives.
- There were 1,255 meetings held, of which 193 had interpretation – with a total of close to 3,500 hours of interpretation delivered in the six languages of the Union.
- The translation service handled over 10,000 pages of documentation during the conference.
- And in terms of network connections, we registered almost 8,000 unique wired and wireless connections throughout the conference, with over 5,700 connections during the peak days.
Perfect team work amongst the various different units of the ITU secretariat was key to the successful implementation of both RA-12 and WRC-12. And it is right and proper to recognize that François Rancy truly excelled in his first assembly and radio conference as the BR Director.
I am pleased to inform you that the definitive version of the Final Acts of WRC-12 was published within the planned schedule.
As you are no doubt aware, the ITU secretariat is now busy preparing the updated edition of the Radio Regulations resulting from the decisions of WRC-12, and we will do our utmost to deliver these in a timely fashion.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This meeting marks the start of a new study group period which will be – as ever – very busy indeed, with a tight schedule to prepare for the next World Radiocommunication Conference, WRC-15.
Let me therefore take this opportunity to congratulate the new team of elected chairmen and vice-chairmen of the Radiocommunication Sector – including of course those of the Radiocommunication Advisory Group..
And on that note I will close – noting that you have a remarkably full agenda to get through in the next two and a half days.
I am confident, nonetheless, that this group will once again conclude with the best possible advice – to guide the Director and the ongoing work of the Radiocommunication Bureau over the coming months ahead.
Your work is genuinely appreciated by us all here at ITU, and we salute your efforts.