Remarks by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain
on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the holding in Madrid of the ITU
© Casa de Su Majestad el Rey/DVirgili
His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain
This event today [the joint celebration in Madrid on
10 October 2007] helps to underscore the importance of the International
Telecommunication Union, without question one of the oldest and most renowned of
the international organizations. Indeed, the roots of international cooperation
in the field of communications trace back to 1865, when 20 European countries
convened in Paris to establish what was then known as the International
From that time forward, the need to strengthen and expand international
cooperation, in response to the demand for a regulatory framework to guide
ongoing technological development in this field, gave rise to new international
agreements and institutions, which were eventually restructured and brought
together around ITU.
As part of that long historical record, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference
held in Spain 75 years ago is of particular importance. We pay tribute today to
the telecommunication pioneers from 90 countries that met in Madrid to
restructure the International Telegraph Union, giving it the name and mission
that it has today.
During the 75 years since, ITU has carried on an important effort to fulfil
its mission and achieve its objectives. It is a mission that consists of
expanding international cooperation to make the best use of all communication
media and promote assistance to developing countries so that all the world’s
citizens can have access to information and communications.
In this work, ITU has shown itself to be highly responsive and able to move
quickly to keep pace with society’s demands in this rapidly evolving sector
which is so critical for economic and social growth. At the same time, it is
important to highlight ITU’s current efforts in support of achieving the
Millennium Development Goals at the international level, and, in particular,
pursuing the objectives of the Millennium Declaration.
The development of the information society has been shown to be one of the
key instruments of cooperation and development assistance in support of the
least advantaged countries. Modern information, education, health and management
systems are becoming more efficient day by day in promoting the benefits of
progress, knowledge, and research and innovation.
In this regard, mention has already been made of initiatives being mounted
within regional frameworks such as the European Union, and the World Summit on
the Information Society held under United Nations auspices and organized by ITU.
That summit helped give momentum to developing countries’ use of information and
communication technology tools.
In the context of the Millennium Development Goals, one of the key efforts
aimed at narrowing the digital divide is ITU’s "Connect Africa" initiative,
which represents a first step within the even more ambitious "Connect the World"
initiative. Spain will do its utmost to promote the use of information
technology in Africa as a means of furthering the continent’s development,
paying particular attention to the needs and problems of many African countries.
Initiatives such as these make it possible, within a common framework, to
harness efforts by the public and private sectors, by telecommunication
administrations and enterprises alike, to create a world that is continually
better connected and more highly developed.
Today, ITU’s membership consists of 191 Member States and more than
700 Sector Members, all focused on achieving progress that will benefit everyone
equally in this sector which is worldwide in scope. All ITU members are
committed to promoting development, serving our societies and strengthening the
international web of connections that make up the global telecommunication
It is a network that binds us together and has the mission of promoting
growth and fostering mutual respect and understanding however the network may be
accessed, whether from fixed, radio or satellite connections or via mobile
telephony or the Internet.
As I said at the opening of TELECOM 2003, organized in Geneva four years ago
by ITU, the proper use of information and communication technologies must
increasingly be to serve as a tool of integration, peace and harmony. It is such
an enormous task that I reiterate to ITU my greatest wishes for success.
It is an endeavour in which your Secretary-General can count on the full and
enthusiastic support of a Spain which is modern, dynamic and collaborative, and
which today is distinguished by the highly advanced level, in both European and
international terms, of its professionals, companies, and services in the area
of information and communication technologies.