Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
Awards Ceremony : Opening Remarks
03 June 2014, Manama, Bahrain
Your Excellency, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of State for Telecommunications Affairs,
Dr Mohammed Alamer, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are tremendously honoured by tonight's Gala Dinner, which demonstrates the full warmth and welcome of Bahraini hospitality, and let me thank you both for hosting this dinner, and providing such a perfect setting for this evening's Awards Ceremony.
I am personally delighted to be here with you today to celebrate 15 years that we have been holding this unique global gathering of ICT regulators – a gathering that also promotes an open and dynamic dialogue with industry leaders and other key ICT stakeholders.
When we initiated and convened the first GSR in the year 2000, we knew it was the right thing to do. The ICT sector was clearly experiencing tremendous and radical changes which called for ambitious sectoral reforms – putting increased pressure on regulators to find fresh, new approaches to ensure continuing investment, increased access and thriving innovation.
Since then, the GSR has evolved to become the premier venue for regulators from around the world to meet and engage with one another – and it has also developed a well-deserved reputation as one of ITU's most innovative annual events.
This evening's celebrations marking the 15th year of GSR's existence demonstrate the real power of creating a unique venue for frank and open dialogue and interactive discussions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The regulatory journey is a journey that is never short of challenges, and never short of adventure, and over the past fifteen years we have shared many challenges and many adventures together, in the quest for smart regulation, and effective regulation.
As you know, we remain firmly committed to this endeavour. GSR is your meeting – and we will do everything in our power to ensure that it remains responsive to your needs.
Since we started out on this journey together in the year 2000 we have seen the most extraordinary changes in the world of ICTs – and in the regulatory landscape too. Back in the year 2000 we had just 96 regulators worldwide, and today we have 162 – and I am delighted to see so many of you here today.
It is a wonderful surprise to see that many former chairs of GSR have joined us tonight for this very special celebration – and let me single out Mr Lekaukau, who was the chair of the very first edition in the year 2000, who must be considered the Godfather of the GSR.
Let me also offer a very warm welcome to the other GSR chairs who are present here with us this evening – including of course our host and the chair of this year's edition, Dr Al Amer.
And finally, let me say how this event brings out very strong emotions for me personally. I have been a strong and committed supporter of GSR since the very beginning – but from the end of this year our journeys must take us in separate directions, as my tenure at ITU comes to an end.
So let me thank you all for joining us tonight, and I wish – as we say in French – "Longue vie au GSR!"