Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
Council 2014: Closing Remarks
15 May 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our Council session this year has been brilliantly chaired by Aboubakar Zourmba from Cameroon, who has not only led the Council to its successful conclusion, but has done so ahead of schedule and with a fine sense of humour.
I would also like to convey my sincere thanks to:
- Our Vice Chair, Wonki Min, from the Republic of Korea;
- The Chair of the Standing Committee on Administration and Management, Caroline Greenway, from Australia;
- And the Vice-Chairs, Marcin Krasuski of Poland, and Vernita Harris from the United States, who continued to serve in this role from last year.
- Let me also thank the Chairs of the Council Working Groups that were here with us – Bruce Gracie of Canada, Vladimir Minkin of the Russian Federation, Majed Al Mazyed of Saudi Arabia, , Imad Hoballah of Lebanon, Nasser A Bin Hammad of UAE and Mario Canazza of Brazil – and their vice-Chairs, for their tireless efforts in supporting the activities of the Union. We truly appreciate your hard work!
As you know, this of course is not the last meeting of the 2014 Session of Council – the final meeting will take place just ahead of PP-14, on 18 October, in Busan.
WORKING METHODS & INNOVATIONS
This Session of Council has been attended by: 421 participants representing the 48 Member States of Council; 40 Member State Observers; five Sector Member Observers; and three Regional Telecommunication Organizations.
Among the participants this year, we were very pleased to welcome Ministers from Australia, Cameroon, Jamaica, Mali, the Philippines and Tunisia, as well as vice-ministers from China and Costa Rica
We held a total of 16 meetings – ten Plenary Meetings and six meetings of the Standing Committee on Administration and Management – without the need for weekend sessions, night sessions, or indeed votes.
It has now become standard practice at Council to be paper-smart, and I am delighted to see that our efforts to work in a paperless environment continue to pay off each year, as we continue to reduce our carbon footprint.
Working electronically has again allowed the secretariat to enhance time-to-publication and to provide Councillors with quick access to documents and reports.
I am pleased to say that all worked well, with interpretation provided in all six official languages.
We expect to offer more facilities in terms of remote participation for ITU events over the coming months, and we will continue to strive to improve our services to Council and to the membership overall.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We held a number of interesting information sessions and presentations during the course of Council.
KEY COUNCIL DECISIONS
- A session on preparations for the WSIS+10 High-Level Event next month;
- A special celebration for Alexander Stepanovich Popov, in the 155th anniversary year of his birth;
- A session on how to get involved in the 150th Anniversary of the Union next year;
- A presentation of the PP-14 Conference Proposals Interface, CPI, that will be used by administrations in preparing their contributions for PP-14;
- A session on the key initiatives taken in implementing the ITU Gender Equality and Mainstreaming Policy, GEM, which was adopted by Council last year.
During this year's session of Council we reviewed 78 input documents, including 27 contributions from Member States. Twelve formal texts were adopted.
Let me highlight some of the key resolutions and decisions:
WHAT LIES AHEAD?
- Council considered and approved the Union's four-year rolling operational plans for 2015 to 2018.
- Council decided that the Report on the Implementation of the Strategic Plan and Activities of the Union for 2010-2014 will be finalized under the supervision of the C14 Chairman and submitted to PP-14.
- Council noted with appreciation: the activities undertaken with regards to ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities, and those related to ICTs and Climate Change; the implementation of the resolution on gender mainstreaming in ITU; and ITU Activities on Youth.
- Council amended Decision 571 to expand access to certain documents on a permanent basis.
- Council discussed the reports of the Council Working Group on WSIS, the Council Working Group on Child Online Protection, the Council Working Group Report on International Internet public policy issues, the report of the Chairman of the Committee for the Preparations for ITU's 150th anniversary celebrations and the Report of the Council Working Group on languages.
- Council reviewed the Report of the Council Working Group for the elaboration of the Strategic Plan and the Financial Plan for the Union for 2016-2019. Council endorsed the results of that work, thereby providing PP-14 with a solid basis for setting the strategic direction for the Union for the coming years.
- Council noted the activities undertaken by ITU in building confidence and security in the use of ICTs (Res. 130, 174) as well as those related to Internet Activities.
- Council noted the Conformance and Interoperability Status Report and looks forward to updated information forPP-14.
- Council noted with appreciation the excellent results achieved by recent events including WTDC-14, ITU Telecom 2013, and the Connect series of events. Council agreed on the theme for WTISD-15 and the overall theme for the 150th anniversary of the Union as 'Telecommunication and ICTs: drivers of innovation'. The celebration will take place during the 2015 Council session next May.
- Council discussed the ITU role as supervisory authority of the future international registration system for space assets under the space protocol and agreed that the Secretary-General should continue to express ITU's interest in becoming the Supervisory Authority. A report on the issue will be submitted to PP-14.
- Council reviewed preparations for the Plenipotentiary Conference and WRC-15.
- Regarding the work of ADM:
- The provisional amount of the contributory unit was fixed at 318,000 Swiss Francs;
- The committee noted the reports of the IMAC and the Internal Auditor. It was agreed that – on a temporary and exceptional basis – the reports of IMAC, the external auditor, and a summary of the internal audit report would be published. The overall issue of document access is an issue for PP-14.
- ADM also requested that a comprehensive review on rights and obligations of sector members, associates, and academia be presented to PP-14. Regarding the project to replace the Varembé building, a detailed report with all options detailed will be prepared for PP-14.
- The annual review of revenue and expenses was endorsed. We will of course come back to all audited accounts when we meet on 18 October.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we are all well aware, the rest of this year will continue to be busy for the Union, notably with preparations for PP-14, and the Conference itself in the Republic of Korea.
Let me highlight a few of the other notable events and activities bringing us to the end of 2014:
- Tomorrow of course we have the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day celebrations here in Geneva and around the world, and I hope that many of you here will be able to stay on to share the day with us;
- Next month, we have the Global Symposium for Regulators, the GSR, in Bahrain;
- In the week following GSR, from 10 to 13 June, we will be holding the WSIS+10 High Level Event here in Geneva;
- In the first week of October we will be having the launch of the 2014 edition of the Measuring the Information Society Report;
- And we have two other important events this year, after the Plenipotentiary: the World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators Symposium in November in Georgia; and ITU Telecom World 2014, in Qatar in December.
In closing, let me say a special thank you to the Administrations which hosted coffee breaks and receptions during this session of Council, and which gave us excellent opportunities to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
Thank you to Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Mauritania, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, UK and USA
Let me also say a special thank you to the ITU staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, as well as to the interpreters for making our interactions possible.
We sincerely appreciate it!
And finally, let me now present our Chairman with the ITU Silver Medal for his outstanding service to the Union.