Ladies and gentlemen,
ITU is proud to have taken a leadership role in WSIS and other international processes which mark the transition from the information society to the knowledge society.
Most recently in this regard, just last December, the World Conference on International Telecommunications, WCIT-12, concluded with the adoption of new International Telecommunication Regulations, ITRs.
The new ITRs chart a globally-agreed roadmap that promises future connectivity to all – including the 700 million people around the world who still do not have mobile phone network coverage; and even more importantly to the 4.5 billion people who are not yet online.
ITU clearly remains committed towards the implementation of the WSIS goals and targets. In our annual publication ‘ITU Contribution to the Implementation of the WSIS Outcomes’ we report on the key WSIS-related initiatives and activities carried out within ITU, both at the operational and the policy levels, and we are making ongoing progress in ensuring that the WSIS Forums are more outcome-oriented.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the WSIS Forum 2012 Outcome Document, which not only compiles all session summaries and outcomes but also captures emerging trends in each of the 11 action lines, combining both stakeholder and expert inputs, from all the different UN Agency focal points for WSIS.
The WSIS Forum 2013 Open Consultation Process is on-going, and the Final Briefing will take place on 16 April. I am pleased to note that this year we have the highest-ever proportion of official submissions from civil society, with 39% of the total.
The official submissions, coming from all stakeholders, display renewed energy and enthusiasm for the WSIS Forum, with over 150 contributions demonstrating that the Forum continues to remain a platform for the creation and strengthening of partnerships, and is a hub for cutting-edge discussions and innovation.
One of the most recent WSIS innovations is the WSIS Project Prizes, which were launched in 2012. This year we have received more than 280 nominations from 64 countries, and a total of 18 project prizes will be awarded during this year’s Forum.
The voting phase is already underway, and I would like to encourage you to view the projects online – this really is a remarkable testament to the work that is going on in the real world in support of the WSIS process.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before I close, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the different components of the WSIS Implementation process and the WSIS+10 Overall Review.
Since 2004, ITU has been maintaining the WSIS Stocktaking database, and I encourage all stakeholders to submit new or update existing entries in order to ensure that your implementation efforts are reflected in the upcoming WSIS Stocktaking Report 2013.
As an active member of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, ITU continues to monitor the development of the digital divide, through appropriate benchmarks and indicators.
We also maintain the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, which is updated regularly, disseminated widely and can be accessed online – and I encourage you to take advantage of this valuable resource.
Concerning the WSIS+10 Overall Review, the 67th session of the General Assembly resolved that the modalities for the review process will be considered by the end of this year.
Preliminary steps have already been made in order to ensure the effective organization of the high-level event on the Overall Review which will be held in conjunction with the ITU’s World Telecommunication Development Conference, WTDC-14. Egypt has kindly offered to host both events.
Over the coming months, we will collect regional views on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, holding Regional Development Forums back-to-back with the six WTDC Regional Preparatory Meetings; indeed the first regional meeting for the CIS countries was held just last week in Moldova, and concluded with a series of highly-relevant proposals for the review process.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me conclude my opening remarks by reminding you that in early September we will be organizing the Global Youth Summit, to be hosted in Costa Rica under the patronage of President Laura Chinchilla, the Patron of ITU's Child Online Protection initiative.
The summit will bring young people together to create solutions for social good, enabled through widespread access to ICTs – and I look forward to seeing strong participation in the event from all WSIS stakeholders.