Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure and an honor for to address you on the
occasion of this symposium. I am very grateful for the
invitation and the opportunity to visit your beautiful country.
The new development model has identified information and
communication technologies as one of the key factors that must
be exploited to bring about large scale economic progress. This
fact was recognized during the two phases of the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS) in 2003 and 2005.
This symposium is timely given the fact that we are less than
eight years away from 2015, our target to connect all the
villages and achieves the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Given this challenge, a question is, “how to foster the
development of new technologies and how their impact fits in the
scheme of the MDGs”?
The absence of enabling policies to stimulate the development of
new technologies prevents some of the most effective
technological innovations from flourishing, and it would further
slow down the march towards 2015. Until governments act
decisively and with deliberate speed and purpose, ICT tools
cannot be fully exploited here in Argentina and in the region.
We are making tremendous progress worldwide through the
operation of market forces, technological change and regulatory
reform. In particular, where the three critical elements --
market liberalization, private sector participation and
effective regulation – are in place, we have seen rapid growth
in the ICT sector. Globally, we have succeeded in bringing
access to ICTs to some four billion people worldwide.
As important as the development of new technology could be for
your economy, it is the convergence of new information and
communication technologies that will have the most serious
impact on development.
In the convergence area, policy makers and regulators face a
serious challenge. They can no longer divide competing services
such as telecommunications, broadcasting and Internet from one
another. Any attempt at maintaining separation will not work.
However, the adoption of forward-looking or progressive policies
and regulations will stimulate economic growth and employment,
which are the catalyst for human development.
I would like to take advantage of this opportunity and invite
you to continue your discussions about the topic of this
Symposium with others from the Region at the ITU-CITEL Symposium
on Bridging the Standardization Divide. This meeting will be
held here in Argentina, in Mendoza, on the 24th of September,
just before the PCC 1 meeting of CITEL that will happen from 25
to 28 September.
Bridging the Digital Divide
I believe that this symposium will not only deal with new
technology, but also the necessary understanding of the
challenges facing the region. As policy makers, regulators and
business leaders in the field of ICTs, you must also focus on
certain prevailing realities.
Taking into consideration the goal of the affordable access to
ICTs for all and the digital inclusion of the indigenous
communities into the Information Society, the World
Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-02) decided to
create a special initiative dedicated to the indigenous issue in
the framework of the ITU’s activities targeting “Assistance to
The Tunis Commitment stated and requested in its paragraph 22, a
special attention to the particular situation of indigenous
people, which represent 370 million throughout world, and to
give priority to their integration in the information society
through the ICTs, with respect to their cultural patrimony and
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 Global is being developed here in your region: The
Americas Indigenous Portal will be the pilot experience to be
replicated in all other regions.
In the framework of this Special Initiative ITU has been
providing access, use and knowledge of the ICTs through the
development of ICTs-based activities, such as the several
on-line courses that have been delivered to indigenous
representatives of the Americas Region, respecting their
tradition and cultural values and targeting the
self-sustainability of the indigenous communities. However, we
have to do much more to bring about the results that are
expected in 2015.
This is why on 6 July 2007, we officially launched the Connect
Africa initiative. It will result in a summit to be held in
Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on 29–30 October this year. The
aim is to accelerate partnerships and roll out ICT
infrastructure and connectivity to boost economic growth, and
help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
It will not be just another summit with endless debates on new
resolutions. Rather, it is to be a summit of commitments between
partners. The private sector, governments and civil society will
be called on to work together, and there will be a commitment to
creating an environment that promotes the improvement of ICT. So
the Kigali event will be the beginning of a process. And in
following years, similar summits will be planned in other
regions, such as Latin America.
The digital divide is one of the global issues that will shape
our common futures in the 21st century. Our success in finding
viable and sustainable solutions to bridging the digital divide
will determine to what extent we are able to fulfill the WSIS
vision of building an inclusive, people-centered and
development-oriented information society open to all.
The Global Cybersecurity Agenda
With more than a billion Internet users today, not only is crime
in cyberspace increasing at an alarming rate but its
sophistication is constantly evolving. Fraud and attacks on
network security are only a few of the many threats, which range
from the costly annoyance of spam to personal identity theft and
from the proliferation of child pornography to clean-up costs
after computer viruses. Financial losses alone are estimated to
run into several billion dollars.
These are some of the reasons why the second phase of WSIS in
Tunis in 2005 asked ITU to coordinate a mechanism for building
confidence and security in the use of ICT under Action Line C5.
With this mandate, I was delighted to announce on the occasion
of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day the
Global Cybersecurity Agenda: a two-year plan to curb cybercrime.
The Agenda is intended to create a platform where governments,
law enforcement authorities, the private sector, international
organizations and civil society can work together to defeat
cybercrime. There will be five pillars of this effort: finding
technical solutions for every environment; developing
interoperable legislative frameworks; building capacity;
establishing appropriate organizational structures, and adopting
effective international cooperation mechanisms.
I have decided to convene a High Level Experts Group (HLEG) to
assist me in taking further concrete steps towards curbing the
threats and insecurities related to the information society.
HLEG will be bring together specialists from governments,
industry, academic institutions, civil society and
intergovernmental agencies to lay the foundation for a global
response to the constantly evolving nature of cyber threats and
the increasing level of sophistication of cyber crimes. I expect
this Region to contribute substantially to this effort.
In this context, I would like call your attention to a very
important ITU meeting on cybersecurity that will be hosted by
the Secretaria de Comunicaciones here in Buenos Aires, from 16
to 18 October this year.
As you know, this region has been hit very hard by two major
disasters in Peru, the Caribbean and Mexico. A devastating
earthquake and a very powerful hurricane have destroyed and
changing people’s lives. Afterwards, governments will have to
assist them in rebuilding those lives.
Providing access to emergency telecommunications is my third
priority for next four years.
ITU has forged a partnership with ICO Global Communications and
the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) on using satellite
communications for improved global response to natural
disasters. Under an agreement made on 20 June this year, airtime
will be available for disaster prevention, and to help ensure an
effective response in the aftermath of natural disasters. This
will enable both voice communications and other applications,
such as telemedicine.
ITU also concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Télécoms
Sans Frontières. Their volunteer experts travel to disaster
zones to set up emergency communication links. It has
demonstrated how telecommunications can be used to strengthen
emergency response efforts and save lives. We encourage other
telecommunication operators to join us in using the potential of
their products and services to save lives.
Regionally, ITU is to provide technical assistance to countries,
specifically to CTU member countries, through the
interconnection of information networks for disaster prevention.
This assistance allows for the development of a strategy for the
sustainability of the public infrastructure and systems through
the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in
the event of a disaster.
This approach aims to strengthen and streamline the activities
of national regulatory bodies responsible for the use of the
radio spectrum. The main outcomes includes – besides the
training and updating of a number of actors involved in
preparedness and response activities - the development of 2
subregional information databases and the facilitation of a
rapid recovery of services within the countries not only through
the use of information databases but also through the use of
other mechanisms such as coordination of rescue and response
agencies and the development of redundant infrastructure.
Before I conclude, I would like to remind you that the world
leaders who gathered in Geneva and Tunis set ambitious goals and
deadlines to build the Information Society.
We have less than 8 years left to meet the connectivity targets
and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – MDGs.
By working together in the most efficient ways and, as I said
before, I believe the Private Sector has an important role in
the world of ICTs, I am convinced we can we meet those targets.
Muchas gracias por su atención.