Closing address of Eng. Mohamed Al-Ghanim,
Chairman of the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications
- H.E. Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union,
- Mr Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General of ITU,
- Mr Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau,
- Mr François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau,
- Mr Ibrahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau,
- Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, heads and members of participating delegations at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12),
For the last two weeks, the United Arab Emirates has been honoured to host and organize WCIT-12. It was our ambition to host this important conference in the UAE in order to discuss and develop the International Telecommunication Regulations, which have not been debated since the Melbourne conference in 1988. And we in the UAE are accustomed to exerting the utmost efforts to attain our ambitions and make our dreams come true. Thanks are due to ITU and all its officials, chief among them H.E. the ITU Secretary-General, and to all the administrations that supported the holding of this event in UAE. I extend heartfelt thanks to you all for granting us the honour of hosting this conference.
I would like to extend sincere gratitude to H.E. the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban-Ki moon, for his opening address in which he clearly highlighted the importance of this conference and of the topics for discussion. The world has been looking forward to the outcomes of this milestone event.
Furthermore, I would like to thank ICANN for accepting the invitation to take part in the conference. I thank Dr Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN, for his fine speech, in which he expressed ICANN’s support and its readiness to cooperate fully and with complete transparency with the ITU.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Two weeks ago, you honoured me by entrusting me with the responsibility of chairing this conference. It was both an honour and a mission, for the task has not been an easy one. The topics were thorny and the points of view were diverse. However, I relied on God, and thereafter on your expertise, competence, generosity and efforts on my behalf, and your flexibility in accepting other points of view in order to make this conference a success and enable it to produce results that satisfy all the parties and serve the common good. I thank you for your trust, your support, your generosity, your cooperation and your flexibility which, without doubt, were of great help to me in discharging my duty as chairman of this conference.
I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the UAE for the confidence it placed in me and the honour it granted me by nominating me for the post of chairman of the conference. It is an honour of which I am proud, and I trust that I have lived up to it in a manner that honours my country, the United Arab Emirates. I would be remiss if I failed to thank the Board of Directors of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE for its unfailing support and assistance in my work and as conference chairman. Nor can I overlook the important role of the TRA and its outstanding staff in preparing for the conference and organizing the events, in addition to the considerable efforts of the excellent team from the TRA, which took part so effectively in the conference proceedings. I am indebted to all of them and gratefully appreciate the leading role they played.
Furthermore, I would like to express huge appreciation for the constant support and assistance I have received throughout the conference from H.E. Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General. His constant presence, his apposite opinions and constructive counsel and his contributions to the debates were of great help to me in my task as conference chairman. In addition, I would also wish to commend his prominent and leading role and his constructive initiatives in developing and nurturing ITU’s position as a global leader.
We must also salute the important role played by Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General, and the Directors of the ITU Bureaux, in furthering and developing the work of ITU and strengthening its international presence in the service of all Member States of the Union. I thank them for helping me during the conference with their opinions and suggestions, which greatly facilitated the conference proceedings.
I thank Ms Doreen Bogdan, who discharged the duties of secretary of the conference so competently and efficiently.
I would like to express my appreciation for the efforts deployed by ITU in preparing for the conference, and for the considerable trouble it took to convene the numerous regional meetings to review and establish common ground between views on the updating and elaboration of the International Telecommunication Regulations. On behalf of the conference and of you all, permit me to extend grateful thanks to the administrative and technical services of ITU which, as we know, always work at a high level of efficiency and with a high degree of expertise in managing and organizing meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Union.
Our gratitude goes to the chairman and vice-chairmen of the working group set up by the ITU Council to prepare for the conference, as well as to all the experts and delegates who participated so capably in the group’s work. The results produced by this group formed the basis for our debates here, and certainly facilitated the conference proceedings.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I confess that the last two weeks have been the most important and the hardest of my life. The decisions taken by you and with your assistance do not just concern you or me as individuals. They affect the entire international community. We, the participants at this conference, have been called upon to defend many of the communities not attending the conference, and to lay the foundations of, and formulate the rules that regulate, what is the most important service of the modern age – the age of telecommunications. This was quite a challenge, as there were many differences of opinion on how to proceed, and the issues were complex and tricky. At the same time, however, I was confident, because those attending this conference are the top telecommunication experts in the world, and all of us harbour the same aspiration and the same dreams for a better future for our children.
The debates were long and arduous but were, nevertheless, actually enjoyable, because they were conducted among experts such as yourselves. Your flexibility and your generous acceptance of other points of view in order to arrive at a solution to satisfy everyone were impressive.
Your unanimous decision to make reference to human rights was admirable, and reflects the fact that you and your States treasure this principle. Your reference to the right of persons with disabilities and those with special needs to enjoy access to information and enter the information society, and the desire of States and ITU for this right to be included in the ITRs, is proof of the noble mission carried out by ITU with your help and support. Furthermore, the special measures adopted to assist landlocked developing countries and small island developing states to gain access to international optical fibre networks will be of great help to these countries in strengthening their integrated development and their capacity to build their own information society.
This conference has achieved many successes and I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that history will record the impressive work you have accomplished in such a short time. The conference passed through an extremely difficult turning point at the beginning of this week, when negotiations continued well into the very late hours of the night. However, thanks to your collaboration and understanding, we were all able to reach a compromise formula agreed to by the regional groups. The text of the treaty makes no reference whatsoever to Internet and “content” is excluded. I believe that history will record this for long years to come. It is my desire that the States which have declared that they do not wish to sign the treaty should rethink and join the States of the world, since the final version reflects exactly what had been agreed to with them.
I thank you all from the heart for your generous and constructive contributions, which I have listened to with interest, while benefiting from your expertise. I thank you for your support and understanding and for your flexibility in accepting other views. I thank you for your visibly sincere desire to reach consensus solutions for the common good of all.
My thanks go the vice-chairmen of the conference, who never stinted in their support and whose wise opinions and constructive counsel and suggestions helped me in my task.
I greatly appreciate the enormous efforts of the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the committees and chairmen and vice-chairmen of the working groups. Each and every one of them deserves our gratitude and appreciation for the excellent work they have completed, often carrying on late into the night and even being called upon to work at weekends. They helped the conference move forward, and eased my task during the plenary meetings.
We are highly indebted to the regional groups for the cooperation, generosity and flexibility they displayed and for the prominent part they played in arriving at consensus solutions, which were undoubtedly instrumental in enabling the conference to achieve the positive outcomes that were hoped for. I thank them for their spirit of cooperation and acceptance of other points of view, which was clearly evident during the coordination meetings between the regional groups.
Speaking both in my own name and on your behalf, I must not forget to thank the translation service and the simultaneous interpreters for their unceasing, Herculean efforts, which have facilitated our work at the conference. I apologise to them for sometimes having to extend the working hours, which they nevertheless always accepted with good grace and flexibility. We all thank and appreciate them.
Nor must I forget, also, all the unknown foot-soldiers who laboured behind the scenes before and during the conference to provide the conference with support services. Had it not been for them, we could not have conducted our business with such ease.
I would like to say a special thank you to my assistant during the conference, Ms. Zahrah Ukmon, for her enormous help in organizing my office while I was occupied with conference business. She was of tremendous assistance to me, and I am most grateful to her.
Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to extend special gratitude, which I hold to be a duty, to my dear mother, for her constant prayers for my success. Her prayers have had a great effect on easing my life and affairs. I apologise for having been so pre-occupied with conference business for the last two weeks that I have been unable to be with her and honour her as she deserves. To her I extend all my thanks, together with my prayers and supplication to God Almighty that He grant her good health and a long life and enable me to honour her and fulfil my duty toward her.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate all of you on the success of WCIT-12, and to congratulate the UAE for successfully hosting the event. In this regard, I would like to extend sincerest congratulations to the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to the Vice-President and Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council of the UAE, and to our wise government and the honourable people of the Emirates for the successful hosting and organization of three international ITU events: ITU TELECOM World, which was successfully organized in Dubai in October; the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly, held in Dubai in November; and now WCIT-12, the proceedings of which have successfully concluded today. These successes would not have been achieved without the guidance and support of our wise leadership and its tireless backing and patronage of all international events designed to raise the profile of the UAE in international circles.
May the peace and blessings of God be upon you.