Ladies and Gentlemen
Unfortunately I was unable to attend your previous meeting in
I am pleased to be with you this morning to review with you some
of the highlights of 2007.
The members of the new ITU management team have demonstrated a
resolute will in our endeavour to reach the Union’s goals.
Early in the year the new management team identified 5 key
- bridging the digital divide,
through infrastructure projects, capacity building and assisting
our Member States in developing an enabling and regulatory
- stewardship of the radio
spectrum, on behalf of our membership, through global treaties;
- adopting international standards
to ensure seamless global communications and interoperability;
- building confidence and security
in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs);
- emergency communications to
develop early warning systems and provide access to
communications during and after disasters.
ICTs/telecommunications are becoming more and more important to
the global information society and economy, which is moving from
static to dynamic markets, from low-speed to high-speed access,
and from dedicated to converged networks.
ITU-T clearly has an important role to play in meeting these
The focus of much of ITU-T’s ongoing standards-making activities
on NGN is essential to meet these goals.
In the context of NGN we see the attractive promise of IPTV to
generate multiple revenue streams over the same core network.
This will be an important incentive in attracting infrastructure
investment in developing countries.
As we create ubiquitous communications, we will have an
increasingly challenging environment in which to maintain
cybersecurity. As I often say, we need peace in cyberspace as we
need peace in the world.
WSIS gave ITU the responsibility to facilitate multi-stakeholder
efforts to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs, -
known as WSIS Action Line C5. This is why I launched the Global
Cybersecurity Agenda earlier this year. The goal of the Agenda
is to foster a common understanding of the importance of
cybersecurity and bring together all relevant stakeholders to
work on concrete solutions to deal with cybercrime over the next
We are also working on other Internet related issues, including
the multilingual Internet and new technologies to support access
to ICTs by those with disabilities.
ITU made a major contribution in these areas to the recent
Internet Governance Forum in Rio. You will hear more of this
latter in the meeting but it was very successful in raising
ITU’s profile and improving our collaborative relationships with
other key stakeholders, and I am grateful for ITU-Ts work in
One of my major concerns is that we are just 8 years away from
2015 - the target date to achieve the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) – and to connect all villages, all towns, and all
cities of the world. This is why ITU has the noble ambition: to
Connect the World, and the WSIS recognized ITU’s role in
building infrastructure. To achieve this goal, ITU launched
Connect Africa -- a regional “Marshall Plan” for ICTs-- at a
summit in Kigali, Rwanda in October which resulted in
commitments totalling $55 billion. We will repeat this in all
the regions of the world.
In July, ITU was honoured by a visit by the UN Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon. It was the first occasion the ITU has had the
honour of a visit by the UN Secretary-General. He emphasised the
important role ITU has to play, and specifically asked that we
play a role in the global response to climate change. I am
pleased that you will be discussing what role ITU-T can play in
this important area during your meeting.
One of our major challenges at the start of the year was the
development of a balanced budget to present to the Council. We
carried out a major reorganisation of the Secretariat and the
Bureaux. Other efficiency measures meant we were able to achieve
this goal and in September the 2007 session of the Council
demonstrated its support to the new management team by approving
the balanced budget which I presented to it without any
The financial crisis of the organization is over. We are in a
very sound financial state and the management will continue
through the transparency and good governance necessary to
continue this luxury, because indeed it is a luxury to be in a
good financial state today.
One of the major decisions of the Council affecting ITU-T was
the decision to make permanent the free downloading of ITU-T
Recommendations. This has been on the table since 1991 but
finally the decision has been taken. It is now up to you to take
maximum benefit of this decision in raising the profile of your
work, and encouraging greater participation in the Sector.
This year’s Council was the first which started with a
High-Level Segment. It was attended by 12 ministers who
discussed the issues affecting the digital divide and
cybersecurity. We benefited from their sharing with us their
vision and experience, and giving us the benefit of their advice
for the future.
Last month the Radiocommunication Sector concluded a very
successful Radio Assembly and World Radiocommunication
Conference with over 3000 delegates agreeing a groundbreaking
international treaty to meet the global demand for
radio-frequency spectrum. These achievements will allow the R
Sector to better concentrate its efforts and resources that are
so relevant to the whole ITU membership the whole world.
Next year it is your turn. Just last week we received the
consent of the whole membership to hold WTSA-08 in Johannesburg
from 21-30 October 2008. It was only during the September
Council that South Africa were told that despite our best
efforts we still had no host for the WTSA. I do not believe we
have ever gone from an initial request to the successful
conclusion of a consultation of the whole membership on the
venue of a major conference in such short a time, and my most
sincere thanks go to the government of South Africa for pulling
out all the stops, including the personal intervention of the
I am really looking forward to the event, and the Global
Standards Symposium that will for the first time precede it. We
need to raise the profile of this event and I would encourage
you to persuade your bosses: ministers, regulators, CEOs or CTOs
to participate in the event. I especially would like to thank
the honourable minister from Vietnam for agreeing to chair the
In summary, it has been a busy but I believe a very successful
And I wish you a very successful meeting. You have an important
role to play in the preparations for WTSA. The Radio Assembly
agreed a new structure last month and I would hope, based on
your good work, the WTSA will follow this example, especially by
reducing the number of study groups, which will improve
efficiencies and make it easier for developing countries to
participate in your work.
The aim of the TSAG must be to make ITU-T the most attractive
place to come to do standards work. The Sector has responded
with great speed and efficiency to changes in the
telecommunications and ICT environment. Convergence between
telecoms, information technologies, and broadcasting poses
challenges that must be met. Convergence is impossible without
standards and the work of the T Sector. And the T Sector
structure must respond to this need.
Good luck and make it a successful end to 2007 !