Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
Opening of World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 3 December 2012
Secretary General Touré,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to address this opening of the ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications. I thank the United Arab Emirates for hosting.
Information and communications technology continues to transform our world – opening doors, saving lives, and educating and empowering people in developed and developing countries alike.
The Arab Spring showed the power of ICT to help people voice their legitimate demands for human rights and greater accountability.
As we strive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and shape the post-2015 development agenda, you here at this conference are well placed to help further unleash the benefits of ICTs while promoting an environment that drives innovation.
In the coming days, you will review the agreement that underpins how we communicate with each other across the globe. The overall objective is to ensure universal access to the benefits of information and communication technology – including for the two-thirds of the world’s population currently not on-line.
The management of information and communication technology should be transparent, democratic and inclusive of all stakeholders. I am pleased that you have taken steps to open the process – including the vital voices of civil society and the private sector.
The United Nations system stands behind the goal of an open internet.
The right to communicate is central to the ITU’s mission.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of expression across all media and all frontiers.
As the World Summit on the Information Society affirmed, the free flow of information and ideas is essential – for peace, for development, for our common progress.
These freedoms are indispensable.
We must continue to work together and find consensus on how to most effectively keep cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure.
I trust that together – governments, industry and civil society will rise to this occasion.
I wish you a successful conference.