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ITU Council 2014: State of the Union Address

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

ITU Council 2014: State of the Union Address

06 May 2014, Geneva, Switzerland

sg-sou-14.jpgExcellencies,
Distinguished Councillors
Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to formally welcome you to the 2014 session of ITU Council.

In a moment I will give you a resumé of our activities since we last met, in June 2013, and outline the main events which lie ahead over the coming months before the Plenipotentiary Conference, which starts on 20 October, in Busan, Korea.

I would like to present my condolences concerning the victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy on 16 April, just three weeks ago, and let us spare a special thought for their families and friends.

Distinguished Councillors,

In the interests of time, I will be covering our activities in the spoken version of this speech rather briefly – but the complete speech, for the official record, will be published online, and will form part of the summary record of this year’s session of Council.

Even greater detail on our activities can be found in Council Document C14/35 and other relevant Council Documents.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We stand on the threshold of a bright and extraordinary future, delivered by the power of information and communication technologies.

This is an important moment for ITU.

And I would like to take this opportunity – as we approach our 150th anniversary – to quote the distinguished American physician and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes Senior, who wrote in 1858, just seven years before ITU came into being: After almost 150 years of steady sailing as an organization, and after nearly eight years at the helm of this great ship, I am confident that we are continuing to move in the right direction.

150th anniversary celebrations

As you know, ITU is the oldest of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. It was founded in Paris in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union and we will celebrate our 150th anniversary next year. To be able look back on 150 years of successful international co-operation, as the International Telecommunication Union can do, is a unique privilege.

150 years is only a brief interval in the recorded history of mankind. Yet those 150 years have been highly significant in terms of human progress and discovery. And probably the most important advance of these years has been the speed and variety of our communications. First the telegraph and the telephone, then radio, including broadcasting and television, and now the internet have all broken barriers of time and space, and have become integral parts of our daily lives.

At all these steps in history, international cooperation has been an imperative. Working together was needed from the earliest days of telecommunications –which is why, on 17 May 1865, twenty delegations from different European countries came together in Paris to sign the first convention of the International Telegraph Union.

Ever since that date, ITU has played and continues to play a crucial role to continue bringing together ITU Membership to address international issues in the field of communications. Next year offers us the opportunity to think of what has been achieved in the past and to reflect on the future.

ITU membership is invited to contribute to this occasion by making voluntary contributions to the special fund established to support the celebrations, as well as by organizing activities at the national level under the theme proposed for the anniversary.

So let me invite you all to celebrate next year’s 150th anniversary with big events worthy of the achievements we have made so far, and worthy of the achievements we will continue to make in the 21st century and beyond.

Resumé of activities since Council 2013

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us now take this opportunity to remind ourselves of some of the key activities which have been undertaken since this distinguished group of Councillors met last June.

GSR

Soon after Council, from 3 to 5 July 2013, we held the highly successful 13th Global Symposium for Regulators, GSR-13, in Warsaw, Poland.

The well-attended event attracted more than 660 participants from 131 countries, including 121 chief executives, 4 ministers, and representatives of 11 international and regional organizations and 39 private-sector companies, as well as other stakeholders.

Under the overarching theme of ‘4th Generation regulation: driving digital communications ahead’, participants examined the transformational nature of communications and the evolution to 4th generation ICT regulation in a connected society.

Discussions focused on: building the future digital society; spectrum policies for television white spaces; the role of standards and patents; how to attract investment and secure funding; how to maximize the potential of universal service funds through successful administration and management; digital transactions in today’s smart society; the need for more IP addresses in a world of data; new digital apps; delivery platforms and revenues schemes; and national broadband interconnection charging.

The first two days of GSR-13 brought the private sector into the Global Regulator Industry Dialogue, GRID, while the third day was reserved for regulators.

The event was preceded on 2 July by a series of pre-events that included: a meeting of private sector Chief Regulatory Officers; a meeting of Regulatory Associations; and an industry workshop organized by the GSMA.

GSR-13 concluded with the adoption by regulators of a set of Best-Practice Guidelines on the evolving roles of regulation and regulators in a digital environment.

Global Youth Summit

After the summer break, we held the Global Youth Summit in Costa Rica, from 9 to 11 September, under the theme of ‘BYND 2015’.

As we approach 2015 and the due date for the Millennium Development Goals, it is becoming increasingly important to recognize the role of young people in helping us achieve universal sustainable development. Youth under the age of 25 account for 42% of the world’s population, which makes planning for their needs and aspirations an essential part of future development frameworks.

The BYND2015 Global Summit on Youth and ICT was held to discover how young people are using technology – and to help them use it in new, innovate and constructive ways.

Onsite in San José we had over 500 participants from 68 nationalities – with a further 8,000 from 173 countries actively tuning-in online to contribute to the Summit’s crowdsourcing platform, and to participate in the remote workshops and mini-Summits hosted by the 43 official Hubs situated in 31 locations around the world.

At the event, young people participated in workshops and capacity building sessions to help them develop their ICT skills – and were encouraged to think of ways technology could be used to empower marginalized youth from around the world. The young delegates also actively participated in the drafting sessions to help develop the outcome declaration, highlighting their desire to play an active role in such activities.

The result is the BYND2015 declaration which serves as a high-level framework to encourage and guide ITU Members in the development of their own ICT based youth initiatives – while mandating universal access to information and communication technologies for young people, regardless of social setting.

The Declaration, which President Laura Chinchilla took to the UN General Assembly last year, identifies the five hottest topics in social tech – which according to young people are: The Summit presented an excellent opportunity to work together with young people, to take on board their concerns and their ideas, and to continue to engage them in shaping and implementing policy.

As Secretary-General, I welcome the new WTDC resolution on youth, and look forward to ways of mainstreaming young people’s ongoing participation in the Union.

I believe this can and should be a two-way relationship, whereby young people increase their understanding and experience of international systems, and the ITU continues to benefit from inspiring and youthful insights.

I hope this can be the beginning of a lasting and meaningful conversation with young audiences.

Launch of the Measuring the Information Society Report 2013

In October 2013, we launched the latest edition of the Measuring the Information Society (MIS) Report.

The MIS report, which has been published by the BDT annually since 2009, features key ICT data and benchmarking tools to measure the information society, including the ICT Development Index (IDI).

MIS 2013 also presented the first comprehensive mobile-broadband price data set for almost 130 economies, as well as featuring a new model and data to measure the world's digital native population – those young people who were born into the digital age – and a quantitative overview of digital TV broadcasting trends.

The Geneva launch event was a big success and attended by Ambassadors and high-level experts from many countries.

The MIS 2013 report received very wide coverage in the media across the world.

ITU Connect Asia-Pacific Summit

In November 2013 we held the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. This was the last in the series of Summits which started with ITU Connect Africa in 2007, and which has since covered all the regions of the world.

During the Summit, which attracted some 625 participants, leaders affirmed their common Leaders’ Vision of an inclusive and development-centred as well as creative Asia-Pacific. The Summit also adopted a Communiqué, which outlines the Leaders’ Vision for the Asia-Pacific Region.

At the Summit, a number of projects and partnerships, valued at US$ 53 billion, were identified as market opportunities by ITU, relevant partners and stakeholders. They cover a wide range of ICT projects from broadband and digital broadcasting to human capacity building.

ITU Telecom World 2013

Back-to-back with Connect Asia-Pacific, we stayed in Bangkok for ITU Telecom World 2013, which took place from 19 to 22 November, and which continued and built on the format of the last two Telecom events – and our thanks go to the Kingdom of Thailand for its support in making the event so successful.

The event featured an action-packed programme of networking, knowledge sharing and innovation showcasing. As the third edition of ITU Telecom World following the new format first pioneered in 2011, the event again showed a marked upturn in financial results, indicating that ITU Telecom events are adapting well to new market conditions and that our strategy and issues-based agenda resonate with clients and Member States alike. This turnaround needs to be consolidated to ensure the long-term sustainability of ITU Telecom.

ITU Telecom World 2013 brought together the brightest minds and most influential leaders to debate key issues relating to the dramatic transformations that the ICT sector is undergoing, and how this change can be harnessed to improve people’s lives everywhere.

The unique audience mix included Heads of State and Government, ministers, regulators, industry CEOs, heads of international organizations, consultants, digital thought-leaders and global media.

A total of some 240 influential speakers took part in 58 interactive sessions, exploring the transformation in terms of business strategy, government policy and technology. The conclusions of these debates were made available across all of our channels, including in our well-received event outcomes microsite and report.

On the lively showfloor, 166 Showfloor participants from 33 countries and 22 national and thematic pavilions showcased investment opportunities, the latest products, and applications and solutions from around the world. The active participation of developing countries in the exhibition was highly appreciated.

Innovation was high on the agenda at ITU Telecom World 2013. For the first time, the event featured The Lab, a dynamic, futuristic space within the InnovationSpace on the Show Floor.

The InnovationSpace also featured the finalists of the third Young Innovators Competition, who demonstrated their winning ICT-based solutions to real-world developmental issues, taking part in workshops, debates, mentoring and pitching sessions.

Conversations were shared not just in Thailand, but around the world, through live webcasts and discussions on social media platforms during the event, with 1,400 tweets from 621 contributors, with a reach of over 4 million people worldwide and 5 million more on Weibo.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place from 7 to 10 December 2014, in Doha, Qatar, and will once again bring together leading representatives of the ICT community from the public and private sectors for debate, knowledge-exchange and networking at the highest level.

We look forward to seeing you there!

World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators Symposium

In December 2013 we held the 11th World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators Symposium, WTIS, in Mexico City, Mexico, which was organized by BDT.

WTIS 2013 attracted very high representation from governments, private sector companies, telecommunication regulatory authorities and national statistical offices to debate: innovative ICT strategies and the role of monitoring; the role of ICTs for the MDGs and the post 2015 development agenda; and the importance of national coordination and enhancing dialogue between data users and data producers.

WTIS also addressed the following topics in detail: measuring investment and revenue in the ICT sector; data quality assurance and ICT statistics; measuring ICT and gender (jointly organized with the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development); big data in the telecommunication sector; and emerging issues such as measuring LTE advanced services and machine-to-machine connections.

At WTIS, BDT also launched the ‘ITU Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals’, and released the latest World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators database.

The WTIS was preceded by a two-day meeting of the Expert Group on Telecommunication / ICT Indicators (EGTI). The outcomes of the EGTI meeting were presented to WTIS and endorsed by the Symposium.

WTDC-14

Ladies and gentlemen,

As you know, the sixth World Telecommunication Development Conference, WTDC-14, was held in Dubai from 30 March to 10 April.

The WTDC, held every four years, sets the agenda for telecommunication and information and communication technologies development over the next four years.

The Conference attracted a record-breaking 1,313 delegates representing 137 countries and 82 Sector Members and other entities.

Participants reaffirmed that the establishment of transparent legal and regulatory frameworks is indispensable to stimulate investment, and stressed the importance of building confidence and security in the use of ICTs. They also reiterated the commitment to making ICTs available and affordable to people in the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Furthermore, they agreed that digital inclusion and the use of telecommunications and ICTs in the prevention and management of natural disasters should be our leading priority.

The key outcomes of WTDC-14 are: the adoption of the Dubai Action Plan; the Dubai Declaration; the Development Sector’s contribution to ITU’s Strategic Plan; and the adoption of 45 resolutions.

The Dubai Action Plan, in particular, is a comprehensive package that promotes the equitable, affordable, inclusive and sustainable development of telecommunications / ICT networks, applications and services.

The ITU-D objectives outlined in the Plan include: ‘Girls in ICT Day’ and Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign

Distinguished Councillors,

On 24 April – the fourth Thursday in April – we were very pleased once again to celebrate ‘Girls in ICT Day’, an annual event that was established, as you know, by PP-10 in Guadalajara.

Since its inception, Girls in ICT Day has gained huge momentum around the world. We registered 2,700 events in 121 countries in the past two years, and although the final numbers are not yet in for the 2014 celebrations, we already know that this year’s numbers are equally if not even more impressive.

I would like to thank all Member States, Sector Members, Academic Institutions and NGOs who have celebrated Girls in ICT Day, leading to such spectacular outcomes.

Here at ITU we celebrated the event early this year, on 15 April, to account for local school holidays, and we hosted hands-on workshops and digital skills training at ITU headquarters for approximately 100 school-age girls in the areas of mobile application development, coding, photo blogging and digital music.

The participating girls had the chance to engage with expert role-models including women in tech from partner organizations such as Google and Microsoft, as well as from universities both here and abroad.

A high-level panel session also featured top speakers including Minister Omobola Johnson of Nigeria and European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes.

In addition, we invited 12-year old Sylvia Todd, an online star from California, whose YouTube science show has attracted over one million views, to demonstrate a robot she designed which won second place in last year’s International RoboGames competition.

Both the participating schools and the panelists gave us very positive feedback about their involvement, and we are sure that this day will continue to grow in importance as one of the highlights on the ITU calendar.

We have also seen International Girls in ICT Day grow and expand beyond activities on the fourth Thursday in April. I am delighted that Minister Omobola Johnson launched Girls in ICT clubs in schools across Nigeria to ensure that every day of the year is about encouraging women and girls to become creators of the very technology that is revolutionizing our lives.

I am also pleased to inform you that ITU and ITU-D Sector Member Telecentre.org Foundation has reached its goal of training one million women at the bottom of the development pyramid in digital literacy skills. This goal was achieved through the incredible dedication of telecentre operators in 79 countries worldwide.

We also wish to thank those governments, such as the Philippines, who invest in telecentres and digital literacy training for women.

As we move forward, let us ensure that governments around the world join Nigeria and the Philippines and invest in women and girls in ICTs.

ITU-R, ITU-T, ITU-D & inter-sectoral activities

Distinguished Councillors,

The past year has been very successful for all three ITU sectors, and we have been as busy – if not busier than ever before – in implementing the wishes of membership through the work of ITU-R, ITU-T and ITU-D, as well as through a number of important inter-sectoral activities.

ITU-R

Concerning ITU-R, the main activities since the last session of Council can be summarized as follows: ITU-T

Moving on to ITU-T, the main activities since the last session of Council include: ITU-D

The main focus for ITU-D has of course been WTDC-14, which we covered earlier, and which was preceded by six regional preparatory meetings last year: RPM for CIS Countries (18-21 February); RPM for Asia-Pacific (29 April – 2 May); RPM for the Americas (19-22 August); RPM for Africa (1-4 October); RPM for the Arab Region (28-31 October); and RPM for Europe (25-28 November).

ITU-D also continued its work in the following areas: Inter-Sectoral Activities

Ladies and gentlemen,

Concerning intersectoral activities, I would like to say a few words about: ITU’s work in climate change and sustainability; cybersecurity; and accessibility; and to give you a brief update on the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

Climate Change and Sustainability

Over the past year, ITU has continued to work on the positive role of ICTs to address the causes and effects of climate change, and to promote sustainable development. In 2013, ITU has expanded knowledge on the use of ICTs for environmental sustainability through the publication of over 20 reports and the organization of over 40 high-level events, such as the series of ITU symposia on ICTs, the environment and climate change, and the Green Standards Weeks.

ITU has also continued to work on new technical recommendations to move the sustainable agenda forward, in particular the ITU-T L.1400 series of standard methodologies for assessing the environmental impact of ICTs.

ITU has also continued to allocate spectrum for climate monitoring and meteorological applications and to support ITU Member States in building capacity to use ICTs for climate change adaptation measures.

In addition to these activities, ITU contributes to the environmental sustainability work of the UN system, by participating regularly in major UN processes and conferences on this topic, and in particular in the conferences of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as the process for the definition of a new sustainable development agenda which will replace the MDGs after 2015.

Cybersecurity

ITU has also continued working in the area of cybersecurity, within the framework of the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA). The following points summarize the main achievements by ITU in this period: At the request of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), ITU, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and some 33 other agencies, developed a UN-wide framework on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, which was endorsed by the CEB at its Second Regular Session for 2013 last November. The CEB has requested ITU, UNESCO, UNODC, UNDP and UNCTAD, in close coordination with HLCP, HLCM and UNDG, to develop a system-wide comprehensive and coherent strategy for addressing the issue for Member States, for discussion at CEB’s Second Regular Session of 2014.

ITU is leading the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) project to rank the cybersecurity capabilities of nation states. The objective is to publish six regional indices, eventually constituting one global index. The GCI project is a joint effort between the ITU and ABI Research. The Global Cybersecurity Index was launched at ITU Telecom World 2013 with the first results from the Arab region.

ITU has also continued to promote the online protection of children worldwide, through the development of National Case Studies to show and share best practices in building national frameworks on Child Online Protection (COP), and to enable the development of global policies related to COP in other countries.

ITU has also continued the work of the Council Working Group on Child Online Protection, as well as the work of the ITU-T Joint Coordination Activity on Child Online Protection under ITU-T Study Group 17, which works with ITU-D SG1 and CWG-COP, to study COP activities in various countries.

In 2013, ITU advanced the partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to assist countries in establishing efficient and cost-effective methods of fighting online child sexual abuse content. Last June, ITU sponsored a pilot project with IWF to establish a hotline in Uganda.

In addition, ITU has helped establish national frameworks for several countries, including: Brunei, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

As part of our agreement with TrendMicro and Symantec, ITU started worldwide distribution of their publications.

In partnership with the African Child Online Protection Education and Awareness Centre (ACOPEA) and Facebook, ITU also ran a pilot exercise in training community activists and others in key safety messages and tools.

In its advocacy work, ITU has welcomed a new patron to the COP initiative, the First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dame Patience Jonathan, who was appointed last July, and was welcomed here at ITU headquarters.

Accessibility

Concerning accessibility, ITU has continued to promote the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities, following up on Resolution 175 (Guadalajara, 2010).

A key milestone in 2013 was the publication of the report ‘The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework’, produced in partnership with G3ICT, the International Disability Alliance, Telecenter.org, Microsoft, UNESCO and the Broadband Commission, as a contribution to the 2013 High Level Meeting on Disabilities and Development, held at the opening of the 68th Session of the UNGA, which I personally attended.

ITU has also continued to work on accessible telecommunications / ICTs through the work of the three sectors, and in particular: ITU-T Study Group 2 Question 4/2; ITU-T Study Group 16 Question 26/16; ITU-D Study Group 1 (Question 20-1/1); ITU-R study groups 1 and 6; the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD); the ITU-T Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF); the ITU-T Focus Group on Audio-visual Media Accessibility (FG AVA); and the new Inter-Sector Rapporteur Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility.

ITU has also worked to become a more accessible organization itself, for staff, delegates and the general public living with disabilities. Last year saw the approval of the new ITU Accessibility Policy, endorsed by ITU Council 2013, and this policy is the first to be adopted by the membership of a UN agency.

We have now undertaken to address the barriers that limit the full participation of persons with disabilities in ITU´s activities.

In addition we have established the ITU Accessibility Fund, open for voluntary contributions from ITU membership, which seeks to contribute to the implementation of Resolution 175. Let us me invite you all to contribute to this fund.

Broadband Commission for Digital Development

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, set up by ITU and UNESCO in 2010, continues to carry out its high-profile work advocating the importance of broadband for boosting income and achieving development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals as well as the post-2015 development goals.

The Commission is a powerful platform comprising a number of key industry executives, policy pioneers and academic thought leaders foremost in their field, offering ITU access to their wealth of expertise and insight.

Since the 2013 session of Council, the Commission has met twice: in New York in September, immediately preceding UN General Assembly week; and in March this year, in Dublin, Ireland, at the generous invitation of the founder and Chairman of Digicel, Denis O’Brien.

The Commission published its annual flagship report, ‘The State of Broadband’, to coincide with the New York meeting last September. The report tracks countries’ progress in the Commission’s targets for national broadband policy, individual and household internet connectivity, and affordability.

In addition, there are a number of Working Groups which examine specific issues more closely, including gender, broadband for sustainable development, and most recently, financing and investment.

With one year now to go to the MDG Summit, we look forward to another stimulating meeting in New York this autumn, when the Commission can serve as a bridge between the industry and policy audiences in debating the issues which really matter to advance the roll-out of broadband.

Preview of the months ahead…

Excellencies,
Distinguished Councillors,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me now give you a brief preview of the exciting months ahead of us, before we meet again for the Plenipotentiary Conference in the Republic of Korea.

Firstly, of course, we have this session of Council, which as always has a full agenda to work through.

I will not go into detail here, but I look forward to productive and detailed discussions, in particular concerning the strategic and financial plans for the Union. WTISD

Distinguished Councillors,

At the end of next week we will be celebrating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, WTISD, which this year marks the 149th anniversary of the establishment of ITU in 1865.

WTISD-14, like WTDC-14, focuses on the theme: ‘Broadband for Sustainable Development’.

Broadband connectivity is a critical element today in ensuring that ICTs are used as effective delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce, in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth.

It is now well recognized that digital development is a transformative tool to fast-track sustainable development. In order to realize its full potential, it is essential to roll-out high-speed broadband networks, making it affordable as well as universally accessible.

This year, we are proud to present the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award to three eminent laureates in recognition of their leadership and dedication towards promoting broadband for sustainable development: Following a message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon, the laureates will present some of their stellar contributions in the service of humanity.

We will also hold a Round-table Dialogue to explore ways that broadband can be leveraged to achieve the goals of sustainable development and ensure a better future for us all.

I look forward to seeing you here in this room next Friday, 16 May, so that we can together celebrate the birth of this great organization and show the world how we can continue to serve the future needs of humanity with ICTs.

GSR

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year’s Global Symposium for Regulators will take place in Manama, Bahrain, from 3 to 5 June, with a focus on ‘Capitalizing on the Potential of the Digital World’.

Once again, BDT has lined-up an impressive programme for this year, with many prominent speakers and expert panels, and we look forward to high-level participation from ministers and regulators from around the world.

Participants will examine ways to ensure that the full array of benefits of the digital world is brought to all citizens in an informed, responsive and safe manner. Undoubtedly, this can only be achieved through effective and smart regulation targeted at empowering consumers, redefining responsibilities and creating the conditions for a data-driven economy to flourish.

On the last day, regulators will focus on spurring regulatory efficiency by conducting regulatory impact assessment, and by looking at new types of converged regulators and how to monitor broadband plan/digital agenda implementation.

GSR-14 will also include two debates – an opening debate on redefining responsibilities in a data-driven world, and a network debate focusing on meeting the demand for capacity.

WSIS+10 High Level Event

Just one week after GSR, we will be holding the WSIS+10 High Level Event here in Geneva, from 10 to 13 June, with pre-events being held on Monday 9 June.

This will be an extended version of the annual WSIS Forum, and will of course be open to all stakeholders, and I look forward to seeing many of you there.

The event will provide the necessary vision for the way forward beyond 2015; and the commitment to ensure that ICTs remain high on the political agenda over the next decade.

The WSIS+10 High-level Event is being coordinated by ITU and co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, with engagement from other UN Agencies, including FAO, ILO, ITC, UNDESA, UNEP, UNODC, UPU, UN Women, WMO, WFP, WIPO and UN Regional Commissions.

The WSIS+10 High Level Event is expected to endorse two important outcome documents: These Outcome Documents are, at present, being developed in an open and inclusive preparatory process, the WSIS+10 Multi-stakeholder Preparatory Platform, the MPP.

Let me therefore take this opportunity to congratulate all ITU Membership involved in this process, and in particular let me express my gratitude to the MPP Chair, Professor Minkin (Russian Federation) and its Vice-Chair, Ms Nermine Saadany (Egypt) for their commitment and efforts leading towards effective conclusion of the MPP’s work.

This preparatory process built upon the outcomes of the ITU Regional Development Forums which were held in all six regions last year, led by BDT; as well as deliberations at WSIS Forums (2012 and 2013); the WSIS+10 Visioning Challenge Initiative; the 2013 WSIS+10 Multi-stakeholder Meeting in Paris; and more than 450 multi-stakeholder contributions processed by the secretariat up to now.

This demonstrates that the MPP has been an excellent example of an effective and cost-efficient multi-stakeholder and bottom-up mechanism for building consensus on strategic issues.

I am glad to share with you on this occasion that it already serves as a best practice and reference point for other UN processes.

The WSIS+10 High Level Event will build upon two tracks: the High-Level Track, consisting of formal statements, handing over of prizes, and endorsement of the Outcome Documents; and the Forum Track.

Building on the tradition of annual WSIS Forum May meetings, the Forum track’s format and thematic focus are the result of an open consultation process with the involvement of all WSIS Stakeholders.

This will offer participants a series of high-level panels, a ministerial round table, action line facilitation meetings, country workshops, thematic workshops and knowledge exchanges, as well as an exhibition.

The event will review the WSIS Outcomes (2003 and 2005) related to the WSIS Action Lines with the view of developing proposals on a new vision beyond 2015, potentially including new targets. This process will take into account the decisions of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.

During this important event we will also celebrate two important anniversaries: Let me take this opportunity to thank those who helped the Union to make this High-Level Event happen without impacting on the regular budget, and in particular, UAE and Intel, as well as Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Poland, Rwanda, and Switzerland, among others.

Launch of the Measuring the Information Society Report 2014

In early October, just ahead of PP-14, we will launch the 2014 edition of the Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report, which is produced by BDT.

This year’s edition will feature – as usual – the results of the latest ICT Development Index, or IDI, which ranks countries worldwide according to their ICT performance.

The report will also assess progress towards closing the digital divide; present the results of the latest ICT Price Basket; analyze the impact of regulation and competition on the price of ICT services; and provide new insights into the use of big data from the ICT and telecommunication industry to monitor the information society and take development-relevant policy decisions.

Closing Section

Excellencies,
Distinguished Councillors,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In closing, let me say a few words about broadband and internet-related matters, and about our Strategic and Financial Plans.

Before I do that, however, let me thank ITU’s staff, who have been supporting the membership as well as the Council Working Groups throughout the year, and whose work is invaluable.

Let me also thank the Council Working Groups and their Chairs, for their continuing and ongoing efforts.

Broadband and internet-related matters

Turning to the subject of matters related to broadband and its contribution to the development of the internet, ITU has continued its work, according to the mandate given by you, our membership, across all three sectors.

Key contributions from ITU include the work of ITU-T study groups, in particular ITU-T groups 13 and 15, which have continued to work on NGN Recommendations, software-defined networking (SDN), and cloud computing (through the ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing).

With regards to ITU-T SG15, a key deliverable achieved last year was the progress achieved in G.fast, a new ITU broadband standard that promises up to 1 Gbit/s over existing copper telephone wires.

Other relevant work by ITU in this domain was the support provided by BDT in implementing internet broadband wireless connectivity to provide free or low-cost digital access for schools and hospitals, and for underserved populations in rural and remote areas in selected countries. For example, a mobile WiMAX Broadband Network was implemented in Djibouti in 2013.

BDT is also involved in many activities related to the migration to IPv6 and has organized multiple workshops and training, often in collaboration with regional organizations such as the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).

ITU-R for its part approved Recommendations ITU-R M.2012-1: ‘Detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of IMT-Advanced’; and ITU-R M.2047-0: ‘Detailed specifications of the satellite radio interfaces of IMT-Advanced’.

The Council Working Group on international internet-related public policy issues has continued to provide an important forum for ITU membership.

Discussions on this topic were initiated at last year’s World Telecommunication / ICT Policy Forum, WTPF-13, and later continued at Council 2013, and even though there was no agreement, we had a clear recognition of the importance of continuing the dialogue in various forums.

As Secretary-General, I launched a series of informal consultations on this topic, to facilitate further discussion. These ‘Open Talks’ adopted innovative informal, open and inclusive formats, providing opportunities for anyone, anywhere in the world, to participate.

Three types of consultation were held, attracting the participation of diverse stakeholders from different groups belonging to different geographical regions, from both developed and developing countries. I was pleased to note that the discussion on the role of governments was continued in other forums such as the IGF and the CSTD working group on Enhanced Cooperation, as well as at the two meetings of CWG-Internet, among others, drawing directly from the WTPF discussions.

This is a good demonstration of how each discussion feeds into the next, and helps further the global debate step-by-step on these topics of global importance.

ITU is part of the complex framework of the internet ecosystem that includes many organizations dealing with various aspects of internet-related matters.

We participate in the global debate; and where appropriate we help to facilitate it, adding value wherever we can with our expertise and strengths.

Just two weeks ago, I was in Sao Paulo to attend NETmundial at the invitation of the Government of Brazil. I participated as a representative of the United Nations, at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, along with Under Secretary-General Wu, from UNDESA.

Together, we delivered a common message from the UN system:     I had a bilateral meeting with President Dilma Rousseff and discussed how to ensure trust and confidence in the Internet.

I congratulate the government of Brazil for hosting NETmundial. I believe that NETmundial is an important milestone in the global dialogue on Internet Governance, and I am pleased that this meeting demonstrated the continuing desire for dialogue between all parties.

Strategic Plan and Financial Plan

Concerning the Strategic and Financial Plans of the Union, we launched the elaboration process during Council last year, and since then the Council Working Group has held four meetings. The results of their work will be one of the key discussions taking place here over the coming days, and will then feed into the Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan.

The Strategic Plan will set out the strategic direction for ITU for the coming year and the Financial Plan will provide the sound fiscal basis for this strategy.

Both plans aim to provide a comprehensive and concrete framework for the fulfilment of ITU’s Vision and Mission, as well as the achievement of ITU’s strategic goals.

In the context of ‘One ITU’, the Strategic and Financial Plans will determine the roadmap for us to play our role in ensuring that ICTs foster inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth and development in a truly interconnected world.

Let me congratulate you all on the progress achieved so far within the work of the Council Working Group on the elaboration of the draft Strategic and Financial Plans; and let me thank you for the high-quality contributions that ensure ITU’s activities will continue to deliver maximum value to our Membership.

I would also like to thank the Sectors in particular for their work and inputs, enabling us to ensure that their unique value is fully taken into consideration while planning the overall strategy of the Union.

As you probably know, ITU is the first UN agency to conduct Public Consultations in the elaboration of its Strategic Plan, and it is a testament to the work of this group that we have managed to gather views and inputs from all stakeholders in this process.

The proposed Strategic Plan builds on the strong and solid foundation of the 2012-2015 Plan, as well as on the inspiring results and achievements we have managed to accomplish through that, and the lessons we have learned while implementing it.

The proposed Plan sets an ITU-wide vision, mission and set of values, representing: the better world we want to see; our core focus as an organization; and the common beliefs it is grounded upon.

The Plan contains Union-wide strategic goals and related targets. These are the proposed ‘Global telecommunication / ICT Targets’, which can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together; they represent the impact of the work of the Union, and the change we want to see in the world.

We should all be proud for setting such targets, and we should inspire the whole world to achieve them.

Our Sectors – which deliver the unique richness of our Union – all contribute with their remits and valuable expertise to these overarching goals and targets through their work, while the secretariat provides all the enablers to ensure that the Union successfully pursues its goals, as well as the sectoral and Intersectoral objectives.

Success will be consistently delivered under the umbrella of the Results-Based Management framework, to which ITU remains strongly committed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Strategic Plan is fully-aligned with and linked to the Financial Plan, and we have been working hard to ensure that the membership is presented with a balanced draft, taking into account both the financial challenges the Union is facing, as well as measures to reduce expenses.

Discussion on the new Strategic and Financial Plans marks a milestone in a journey to achieve an even more efficient, effective and focused ITU.

This journey can only be successful, however, if we embark on it all together – membership, management and staff.

Distinguished Councillors,

We have only a few months before we meet in Busan for PP-14, and we must use the time wisely, to build bridges and recognize our common goals and aspirations.

Our Union is made up of an incredibly culturally rich and diverse membership, and we should remember the old African proverb, as we move forward, together: We should also remember that we have come a very long way together, over the past 149 years, and that we have a bright common future together too – a future enriched by our long-standing friendship.

As the French writer and philosopher Michel de Montaigne so famously said:     And that is what ITU is all about.

The arms of friendship, joined from one end of the world to the other.

And that is what PP-14 will demonstrate to the world.

Thank you for your attention.