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Ceremony of Signature of ITU-CITEL Agreement
San José, Costa Rica
20 August 2007

Speech by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré


Your Excellency

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 Telecommunications

Mr. Clovis Baptista, Executive Secretary of CITEL

Distinguished guests,

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 Society.


With this spirit, the strong partnership between CITEL and ITU has led to positive results. We should be proud of our many accomplishments together.


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 Geneva.


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 citizens.


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 Resolution 17.


Together CITEL and ITU are identifying public and private sector players to fund or provide technical expertise in support of those initiatives.


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.

 

 

 

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