Ladies and Gentlemen
It is for me a great pleasure to be in Costa Rica, a great
country and a beacon of democracy and peace. It is an honor to
address CITEL, the guiding force for information and
communication technologies in the Americas Region.
ICTs are the all important tools which “connect” rather than
“separate” all the diverse people and cultures across the great
distances of this vast continent.
ICTs have been given an even more important role as an enabler.
In 2005 world leaders gathered north of here, in New York, for a
World Summit, as a follow-up to the Millennium Summit of 2000.
The outcome document recognized for the first time the role of
science and technology, especially ICTs, in achieving the
Millennium development goals (MDGs) set for 2015.
The 2005 Summit was followed by the second phase of World Summit
on the Information Society (WSIS), which reaffirmed the
importance of ICTs. WSIS also recognized the important role that
ITU must play in building infrastructure (Action Line C2) and
Cybersecurity (Action Line C5).
Before I discuss, those two topics in details, I would like to
make an important point. We are less than eight years away from
2015.The possibility of not meeting the MDGs is very real. And,
given that ICTs are the key tools to achieve the MDGs, we must
meet our targets well ahead of 2015. This is why I am dedicating
a great amount of resources to reach our ICT goals by 2012.
ICTs are omnipresent tools with profound implications for all
economic sectors. The way we communicate, do business or engage
in leisure activities is in constant and rapid evolution. We
have all become familiar with e-commerce, e-government,
e-learning, and e-health. ICTs facilitate everything from a
payment with a mobile phone to space travel.
If we do not meet our ICT goals, the other sectors, such health
or education, are unlikely to meet their own Millennium
Convergence of broadcasting, telecommunication and information
technologies, create more potent and effective tools. However,
convergence requires a well developed, state of the art, ICT
infrastructure, well trained professionals and users.
This is why on the occasion of World Telecommunication and
Information Society this year, I launched the Connect the World
Series. We will begin with Connect Africa.
Connect Africa, which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, on 29 and
30 October 2007, will be a high level meeting with heads of
state and government and CEOs. There will be no new resolutions
only commitments to create an enabling environment to absorb
large scale investments by the private sector. We will bring
together some of the most innovative minds and financial
From Africa, the Connect the World Series will move to other
regions where ICT infrastructure is inadequate to build momentum
towards achieving the MDGs.
For the Americas Region we are already building the foundations
with current initiatives such as Connectivity in Rural Areas,
Marginal Urban Areas and Isolated Areas, large-scale development
of broadband access. These initiatives are the subject of the
ITU-CITEL Agreement just signed yesterday. But we need large
scale resources to accelerate progress towards 2015.
As we build ICT infrastructure to connect the world, we have
another challenge. We need peace in cyberspace just as we need
peace in the world.
We need to avoid attacks on national networks as was the case in
Estonia last Spring or more recently against the United Nations
Cyberpeace is important to leverage the potentials of ICTs in
promoting the MDGs with confidence and security in the use of
ICTs. As mentioned earlier, WSIS recognized ITU’s leading role
in Action Line C5.
For this reason, I have launched the Global Cybersecurity
The Agenda is a multi-stakeholder framework that will build on
existing initiatives, partners and take full advantage of
recognized sources of expertise.
Its purpose is two fold --to identify commonly agreed global
challenges to Cybersecurity and build national ICT security and
emergency response centers regionally and globally.
To begin the process, we are inviting high level experts from
around the world to identify the challenges as well as provide
solutions. I expect the Americas Region to make a very valuable
contribution to this process.
ICT infrastructure and Cybersecurity will be highlighted during
the Council next month in Geneva. Government officials,
including Ministers, will attend a high level segment to discuss
and lend their support to these initiatives.
To introduce my third priority, I simply need to make reference
to hurricane Dean, to convince you of the great importance of
emergency telecommunications. I take this opportunity to extend
my sympathy to the people and the governments of the countries
that have been so badly affected.
Under the Regional Initiative “Interconnection of information
networks for disaster prevention” ITU will provide technical
assistance to countries of the Americas Region and more
specifically to CTU member countries. With ITU’s support the
region will develop a strategy for the sustainability of the
public infrastructure and systems for use even in the event of a
Those 3 initiatives: building infrastructure, ensure confidence
in the use of ICTs and emergency telecommunications are
fundamental to building an all inclusive Information Society.
In your quest to build such a society your best allies are the
young since they represent the best promoters of ICTs and are
the early adaptors and key contributors to ICTs. Widening ICTs
opportunities for children and young people is also an efficient
way to accelerate assistance to Indigenous People, a concern of
During WSIS, the “Indigenous People and the Information Society”
(IISC) represented by indigenous leaders worldwide, highlighted
the need to develop an Indigenous Global Portal. The first phase
of the Portal is being developed here in your region: The
Americas Indigenous Portal will be the pilot experience to be
replicated in other regions.
ITU’s traditional roles remain fundamental to its mission. In
this context, I would like to mention the World
Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07), which is scheduled from
22 October to 16 November. This is an important conference that
will discuss the possible upgrade of Radiolocation in 9000-9200
MHZ and 9300-9350 MHz, and possible extension of the allocation
to the EESS (active) and SRS (active) in 9500-9800 MHz. Other
important issues include additional spectrum for wideband
aeronautical telemetry/telecommand in 3–16 GHz, and frequency
for the future development of IMT-2000 and systems beyond.
This Fall, we have a very full agenda that includes the Council,
Connect Africa Summit and WRC-07.
Before concluding, I would like to express my sincere
appreciation and extend my congratulations to CITEL and the ITU
Centre of Excellence for the Americas Region for the exceptional
results obtained with the capacity-building courses – another
step towards 2015.
Señoras y Señores, no podía despedirme de ustedes sin antes
decir unas pocas palabras en Español para expresar mis más
sentidos agradecimientos a una Región que está dentro de mi
corazón, a una Organización que es un pilar de las
telecomunicaciones y un socio muy importante de la UIT y a un
país que enamora a sus visitantes y nos hace respirar el dulce
aire de la paz y de la democracia.
Muchas gracias América, muchas gracias CITEL y especialmente
muchas gracias Costa Rica.