Mr Director General,
Dear colleagues and friends,
It is a great pleasure to be here with you today in the fine city of Baku for the opening of the joint 47th session of the RCC Board and the 18th session of the Coordination Council of the CIS Member States for Informatization.
Firstly, let me express my thanks to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan – and to the Minister, Mr Ali Abbasov, in particular – as well as to the Executive Committee of the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communication. It is an honour to accept your kind invitation.
We warmly appreciate the support ITU receives from the RCC in the pursuit of our mandate, and I would personally like to congratulate the RCC for the active and significant role you play in promoting ICT development across the CIS region.
The RCC has a broad mandate, including the coordination of the development of communications networks; scientific and technical policies; communications regulators’ activities; and the control of radiofrequency resource spectrum use.
From the ITU’s perspective – indeed perhaps from any perspective – one of the most important aspects of the RCC’s work is its participation in ITU’s work.
I am therefore very pleased to see that we are benefitting from increased and growing cooperation between our two organizations, and to be able to note that RCC is one of the most active participants at ITU events.
In this regard I am glad to see an agenda item here regarding RCC member state preparations for the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 – WTDC-14 – which is now just a year and a half away.
We look forward to the very active participation of the CIS countries in the preparation process for WTDC-14 in Sharm el-Sheikh, as well as the Radiocommunication Assembly and the World Radiocommunication Conference which will be taking place in Geneva in 2015.
Most of the CIS countries have already confirmed their agreement with the timing and venues for our upcoming events, and I look forward to meeting the various delegations at the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the WTDC, which will be held in February next year, in Chisinau, at the kind invitation of the Communication Administration of Moldova.
Dear colleagues and friends,
We are also looking forward to the active participation of the CIS countries in ensuring the success of the forthcoming ITU world events which are taking place back-to-back in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in just a few weeks’ time.
The first is the Global Standards Sympoisum, the GSS. This is taking place on 19 November, and will bring together ministers, regulators, heads of other international, regional and major national standards bodies, and industry to discuss global standards challenges – with a focus on the intersection of the ICT sector with vertical sectors such as health care, utilities, and transport.
Straight afterwards comes the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly, WTSA-12, which will set the workplan and priorities for the ITU’s Standardization sector for the next four years.
The WTSA will then be followed by the World Conference on International Telecommunications, WCIT-12, which runs from 3-14 December, and which has the very important mission of reviewing the International Telecommunication Regulations, the ITRs.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The CIS region is one of the most dynamic regions of the world in the field of ICTs, and has boasted tremendous growth over the past few years – especially in the field of mobile communications, as well as in terms of rapidly growing access to the Internet.
Here in Azerbaijan, tremendous progress has already been made in terms of ICT development, and this promising growth trend continues into the present decade, with the ICT sector continuing to show double-digit growth year-on-year.
By the beginning of this year, half of the population here was already online, and mobile broadband penetration increased from 5% to more than 20% last year.
Indeed, much of Azerbaijan’s extraordinary GDP growth has been driven by the ICT sector, which is now the second fastest developing sector of Azerbaijan’s economy, after the energy sector.
So in conclusion, dear colleagues and friends, let me express – on behalf of myself and the ITU – our usual gratitude to the RCC for its continuous support, and let me say once again how much I am looking forward to seeing you at the forthcoming ITU events.