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ITU Council 2015

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao​

ITU Council 2015 : Closing Remarks

21 May  2015, Geneva, Switzerland 

Excellencies,
Distinguished Councillors
Ladies and gentlemen,

We are coming to the close of the first Council after PP-14, and I am delighted by the great spirit of cooperation that has prevailed over the past week and a half.

This Council has been very rich in content, and has achieved a great deal in a short space of time.

It is very clear that the key message has been one of increased efficiency, and you can count on me – and the other elected officials, as well as the whole staff of ITU – to continue carrying through this message of efficiency across all of our work.

Distinguished Councillors,

This Session of Council has been attended by: 373 participants representing the 48 Member States of Council; 38 Member State Observers; 7 Sector Member Observers; and 3 Regional Telecommunication Organizations.

Among the participants this year, we were very pleased to welcome a number of Ministers who joined our Council and especially joined our ITU 150 celebrations.

During this year's session of Council we reviewed 97 input documents, including 37 contributions from Member States.

We held a total of 11 Plenary Meetings and 7 meetings of the Standing Committee on Administration and Management, and I was very happy to see many first timers, both Member States and delegates, playing a very active role.

I am grateful to the Council for providing us with a clear direction for the year ahead, with a newly approved budget and rolling operational plans, and guidance on the implementation of the Connect 2020 Agenda.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me highlight some of the key resolutions and decisions.

Council:

As we are all well aware, the rest of this year will continue to be busy for the Union. Let me highlight a few of the notable events and activities bringing us up to the end of 2015:

It was great to gather ITU Member States, sector members, ITU elected officials (present and former), ITU staff, ITU retired staff, and their families. It was indeed a day to celebrate – to celebrate the accomplishments of this great organization, and to look ahead to the future.

I was so pleased to receive congratulatory messages from Heads of State, Ministers and CEOs from all over the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear Councillors,

I am very pleased with the excellent results of the 2015 session of Council. We are very grateful to you for your recognition of our efforts and progress in the efficiency and effectiveness of the Union over the past four and a half months.

Together with the other elected officials, I am very grateful for your tremendous support, and in particular the great trust that you have shown in us. Trust is a key factor of our work. We will try our best to honour that trust in our work, and we will not let you be disappointed.

I am very pleased to note that the Council itself has done a great job in improving its own efficiency (working paperless for the first time, shortened by one day of this Council and suggested for the future) and in increasing its credibility. The discussion on the proposal from Brazil and the UAE is a good sign that you will also continue to work hard in this direction at the next Council.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am confident that ITU will have a brilliant future – because we are all working together in the same direction.

Distinguished Councillors,

After his exceptional performance at the Plenipotentiary, we knew our able Chair, Wonki Min, from Korea, would steer us well. He broke all records by finishing PP ahead of schedule, and he has now broken a Council record by finishing a full day early during a budget year!

I would also like to convey my sincere thanks to:

In closing, let me say a special thank you to all Councillors and Delegations for your active contribution and participation in Council 2015.

I would also like to thank the Administrations that hosted coffee breaks and receptions during this session of Council.  They are the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, giving us excellent opportunities to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Thank you to Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and of course our host country, Switzerland, for the successful event on Sunday. A further thank you to all the other ITU 150 sponsors that we recognized during our celebrations.

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 Gold 150th Medal and certificate, for his outstanding service to the Union.

Thank you.