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11th Session of the Arab ICT Council meeting
Damascus, Syria
2 July 2007

Remarks by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

 

Bism Allahi Al-Rahman Al-Raheem
 
Assalam Alaikom Wa Rahmat Allah Wa Barakatoh
 
Your Excellencies,
 
I am honoured to be present here at the 11th Session of your august council meeting. I have come here with my colleague the Director of the BDT, Mr. Sami Al-Basheer Al Morshid to be amongst brothers in this beautiful and historical city of Damascus.
 
I want to thank my dear friend Dr. Amr Salem, Minister of Communications and Information Technology in Syria for his kind invitation to be part of this distinguished gathering. It is also a pleasure for me to meet all my dear friends the Ministers who have supported me and Mr. Al-Basheer during our campaign for election. With your support and encouragement we will endeavor to meet all your expectations.
 
As you know, the world is moving at a very fast pace. Our field, the ICT field, is one of the fastest growing. It is the backbone of every economy. The ITU has been mandated by both the Plenipotentiary and the World Telecom Development Conference, to ensure that we work towards connecting the unconnected. Through the various programmes and activities, we are aiming to meet this challenge and I would like to assure you here and now, that we will leave no stone unturned in order to achieve and meet these goals you have set for us.
 
We have already embarked on changes at the General Secretariat level as well as at the Bureaus level. We are consolidating tasks and re-engineering the organizational structure to make it fit the demands of the years to come. Thorough the re-structuring of the General Secretariat that has already been approved by Council Members, through correspondence, I am aiming for a more efficient and effective organization that will execute its given mandate with the available resources. I also plan to ensure a much greater transparency with you the Members on all matters relating to the functioning of the ITU. I had made this very clear during my campaign and today as ITU’s Secretary General, I am honoring that pledge to be more clear and transparent.
 
I also note with pride, the wonderful progress taking place in the Arab region. Several Arab countries have developed their markets and infrastructure to a world class standard, offering their citizens the latest of technologies within a well regulated and transparent environment. Most of the Arab countries have already established independent regulatory authorities, a corner stone in the development process and an element for attracting foreign investment. Not only that, but your august Council had approved in June 2005 in Tunis, a list of strategic projects proposed by the Arab ICT Strategy Development team. These projects would further enhance the standing of the Arab countries and set them on the appropriate path to bridge the Digital Divide.  Five of these projects have been adopted by the WTDC-06 in Doha and the PP-06 in Antalya as regional initiatives. I assure you that we will work with all the countries in the region and all the partners, both regionally and internationally, to accomplish these initiatives.


We still continue with our programmes of assistance to countries, especially those Least Developed ones. We are also committed, pursuant to Plenipotentiary Resolutions, to assisting Arab countries that are in need, such as Palestine, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq.
 
The tasks and goals ahead of us are huge and the resources are limited. However, all of us at the ITU are committed to making these goals a reality. With your support and generosity, I am sure we can make it happen. Allow me, through this podium, to request you to review your contribution to the ITU and assist us, through a small increase in your contributory level, to meet the demands set upon us. Some Member States have recognized the shortfall in the ITU’s budget and have either already increased their contributions or have pledged to do so. I count on your usual support and cooperation for the achievement of our plans.
 
I do not want to take too much of your precious time, so I will conclude now. But before I do so, I want to state that once again I will serve you as Secretary General of the ITU with all the loyalty and commitment that I had shown in my previous position as Director of the BDT. I appreciate your trust in electing me as the ITU Secretary General and I will do my best to meet that trust.
 
Finally, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to take part in your meeting and thank once again Dr. Amr for his kind hospitality.
 
I wish you all success in your endeavors for the development of the Arab region and your people.
 
Shukran, wa al salam alaikom
 

 

 

 

 

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