Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to be here this morning to address this tenth session of
the ECOSOC Commission on Science and Technology on behalf of the International Telecommunication
Union. I do wish to convey the regrets of Secretary-General Toure, who is on mission
and not able to be here today...
This session is an important step in the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society.
Last year ECOSOC adopted a resolution, as requested by WSIS, to strengthen the Commission.
This will enable the CSTD to better play its part in the follow-up of the WSIS outcomes.
It is now 18 months since the holding of the second phase of the Summit in Tunis.
More than ever, it is vital that we maintain the momentum established by the two
phases of WSIS. As you may recall, the Geneva phase established an ambitious series
of connectivity targets to be reached by 2015. If we can meet those targets and
provide access to communications throughout the world, we will have taken a major step in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
These two weeks in Geneva are a promising sign towards an inclusive and dynamic
implementation of the WSIS and show the great interest in ICTs on the part of all
stakeholders. More than 650 delegates have registered this year to attend the cluster
of WSIS related events.
It is important that the WSIS process remain inclusive. ITU itself has a long experience
with the involvement of the private sector in its work, through more than 700 Sector
Members and Associates who are part of the membership of the Union. Last Friday,
we held an informal consultation Meeting with civil society to explore ways in which
civil society entities also can play an enhanced role in ITU’s activities.
Implementation of the 11 Action Lines in the WSIS outputs will include expanded
efforts to build infrastructure, provide affordable access, enrich content, create
an enabling environment and further develop a wide range of e-applications. They
are the engines that will turn the WSIS principles and goals into concrete actions.
A first round of action Line Facilitation
meetings was held last year and a second
round is taking place at this time in Geneva. As a result, long term work plans
have been defined and partnerships and projects have already emerged. At the international
level, under the facilitation of designated UN Agencies, the 11 Actions Lines identified
by the Geneva Action form today the axis for the implementation.
As requested by world leaders in Tunis, ITU, UNESCO and UNDP are facilitating the
work under the Action Lines .To coordinate the process, a first meeting of Action
Line Facilitators was held in February 2006. A second coordination meeting will
take place on 25 May to take stock of the activities undertaken so far, identify
further means of collaboration, invigorate the implementation process and make it
more inclusive and visible.
At the inter-agency level and as requested by the Summit, the United Nation Group
on the Information Society (UNGIS) was established by CEB in April 2006.
The UNGIS held its first meeting in July 2006 under the chairmanship of ITU. More
than twenty CEB members participated and agreed on a Plan of Action and list of
Activities. The foundation of the Group has been set and UNGIS is expected become
an efficient communication channel between UN Organizations and Programmes on the way
they implement WSIS commitments and are able to mainstream the results of WSIS in their mandate and activities. In July, UNESCO will host the second meeting of
I am also delighted to note that dynamic processes are underway at the regional
and national levels.
On the occasion of the celebration of the second World Telecommunication and Information
Society Day on 17 May 2007, the ITU, in cooperation with its Members States, launched
a web portal highlighting progress on WSIS implementation at the national level.
This portal provides access to more than 40 national reports which include comprehensive
descriptions of the national mechanisms established to advance WSIS objectives,
as well as information on e-strategies and key initiatives undertaken since WSIS
in Tunis 2005.
We can be pleased that one year and a half after the Tunis Summit, the implementation
mechanisms as agreed in the WSIS Output Documents are taking shape.
CSTD can play an important role in follow-up by reinforcing the political willingness
to make the best use of ICTs, which in turn will help to maintain the momentum generated
by the two phases of the Summit.
WSIS was an important landmark in the global
effort to eradicate poverty and achieve
the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. With a mere seven years remaining,
the task of the CSTD in convening high-level policy dialogue and conveying key concerns
to ECOSOC will help keep WSIS concerns on the forefront of the UN Agenda and demonstrate
that ICTs can accelerate economic growth and help to achieve the Millennium development Goals.
ITU is committed to meeting the targets set by the WSIS.
I would like to take this opportunity to announce that in October 2007, ITU, together
with the Global Alliance and the World Bank will organize a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda
entitled “Connect Africa”. This will be high-level meeting to foster collaborated
action towards bridging the digital divide and providing connectivity and broadband
services throughout that continent. In following years, similar imitative will be
organized for other regions.
I welcome to you all to join this initiative.