Mr. Oscar Arias, President of the Republic of Costa Rica
Mr. Pedro Pablo Quirós, Chair of the Permanent Executive
Committee of CITEL
Mr. Claudio Bermudez, from ICE, Deputy Manager of
Mr. Clovis Baptista, Executive Secretary of CITEL
It is a great pleasure for me to be in your peaceful and
beautiful country. I wish to thank all of you all for the
invitation and your warm and most welcoming hospitality.
As it is evident nowadays, information and communication
technologies (ICTs) are applicable to virtually every human
activity. They are an essential catalyst for economic growth and
social development in any society. ICTs have become a basic
human need because the right to communicate is widely accepted
today as a basic human right.
Within this vision, the ITU is encouraging dynamic cooperation
among all the players that must contribute to bridging the
digital divide. This new spirit of partnership is reinforcing
synergies that will accelerate the development of
telecommunication everywhere to build an inclusive Information
With this spirit, the strong partnership between CITEL and ITU
has led to positive results. We should be proud of our many
Both our organizations have shared the development of
telecommunications as a common goal. We recognize the importance
of working both bilaterally and through multilateral efforts.
The result of this coordinated approach is that we maximize
benefits for the countries of this region.
It is not my intention to go through all the activities
conducted in partnership with CITEL. Nevertheless, it is
important to mention some notable publications: the Books on
Tele-education and on Tele-health, the Blue Book of
Telecommunication Policies for the Americas and the Database on
Frequency Management. The upcoming joint Seminar on Bridging the
Standardization Divide schedule next month in Mendoza,
Argentina, is also a good example of reliable cooperation.
It is of utmost importance to mention here that CITEL provides
an excellent Forum where countries address and discuss their
regional interests and needs. When you have regional
harmonization and reach consensus on common proposals, the whole
world benefits. Regional coordination facilitates consensus
during ITU world conferences and saves precious time.
In this regard it is worth mentioning the remarkable work being
carried out by the Working Group of the Permanent Consultative
Committee II, Radiocommunications, including Broadcasting. This
work will complete the preparation of the Americas region for
the World Radiocommunication Conference starting next October in
CITEL is also a natural forum for subregional organizations. It
allows for discussions and proposals concerning the needs of
specific areas in this large Region: COMTELCA for Central
America, CTU for the Caribbean, ASETA for the Andean countries
and MERCOSUR for the southern part of the Region.
I would like to congratulate Costa Rica for assuming the chair
of CITEL’s Permanent Executive Committee in 2006. It is also
important to recognize its leadership in the Working Group on
Connectivity in the Americas, which identifies projects that
meet the common needs of all the countries in the Region.
The outstanding work of this WG has led to the important
Agreement that CITEL and ITU are about to sign. This mutual
cooperation agreement will implement the Regional Project
entitled “Support for Reducing the Digital Divide and Advancing
the Information Society in the Americas”. More importantly, it
is a major step towards the effective integration of American
countries. It will also assist in building national ICT
infrastructure and promoting a digital culture among local
It is important to note that this Regional Project and CITEL’s
Agenda for Connectivity are directly linked to two (2) of the
five (5) Regional Initiatives approved by the World
Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-06, Doha) in
Together CITEL and ITU are identifying public and private sector
players to fund or provide technical expertise in support of
Finally, I am very confident that ITU’s long lasting and
productive relationship with CITEL will yield even more
effective results in the years to come.
Before I conclude, I would like to thank our respective
secretariats for their invaluable work in coordinating and
preparing this agreement.
Gracias por su atención.