Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to be here this afternoon to
address the topic on the “Information Society: New Perspectives
for Post-WSIS Scenarios”.
I see many old friends around me today on the panel and I look
forward to their comments.
It is now almost 2 years since the Tunis Summit took place.
Our key objective must be to ensure that we reach the WSIS
targets by 2015 to connect the world. This will demonstrate that
ICTs are a powerful tool for development and help to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals.
WSIS created a very rich and diverse mechanism for
implementation and follow of the Summit. We are still
fine-tuning that model to find the best and most efficient
At the international level, the implementation mechanism
provided by the Tunis Agenda is taking shape under the 11
Actions Lines, with designated UN Agencies facilitating the
Two rounds of Action Line Facilitation meetings have taken place
since WSIS, gathering all stakeholders. As a result, long term
work plans have been defined and partnerships and projects have
already emerged. ITU, along with UNESCO and UNDP, is
playing the lead role to coordinate the Action Line process.
At the inter-agency level, ITU was pleased to chair the new
United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) this
past year. The mandate of UNGIS is to coordinate
substantive and policy issues facing the United Nations system
in its implementation of the outcomes of the WSIS. UNGIS
will hold its second meeting on 17 July in Paris and UNESCO will
be the new Chair.
While we tend in the UN system to focus on global actions, in
the area of WSIS I am pleased to inform you that big steps are
being taken at the national level and regional levels. For
- In May, Nigeria launched its first
- the second African Internet Registrar has been
accredited to ICANN
- an Internet security Master Plan has been launched
On the occasion of the celebration of the second World
Telecommunication and Information Society Day on 17 May 2007,
the ITU, in cooperation with its Members States, launched a web
portal highlighting progress on WSIS implementation at the
I have been impressed by the information received. This portal
provides access to more than 40 national reports which include
comprehensive descriptions of the national mechanisms
established to advance WSIS objectives, as well as information
on e-strategies and key initiatives undertaken since WSIS in
Ladies and Gentlemen
While there is a lot of post- WSIS meetings and activity, I must
share my concern that not enough is being achieved.
In the developing world, the growth in mobile phones is not
being matched by expansion of affordable broadband access.
Risks associated with cyber crime increase daily and the costs
of cybersecurity are mounting. Our increasingly networked
world is increasingly vulnerable to network attacks and the
attacks are becoming more frequent and more powerful.
In a time when UN agencies have declining resources, we need to
set priorities and help countries make the right choices in the
fast-moving world of technology. The landscape of the ICT
world is littered with flawed technologies and failed companies.
One of our key roles must be to provide the best possible policy
advice to our membership. The possibilities offered by
innovation must be balanced against careful choices and respect
for national and local needs.
The principle of inclusiveness was one of the “innovations” in
the WSIS process. Inclusion can help us avoid mistakes in the
market for new technology.
I doubt that many of you would have predicted 10 years ago that
close to one million people would earn their living today
through E-Bay. The Apple I-pod was met with scorn by
critics when it first came to market. So it is often the
case that consumers, voting in the marketplace through their
purchases, are the best guide as to which technologies and
services will succeed.
ITU itself has a long experience with the involvement of the
private sector in its work, through more than 700 Sector members
and Associates who are part of the membership of the Union. We
are now actively studying ways to involve new voices and actors
in our WSIS-related work.
Equipment manufacturers, network operators, service and
application providers and others concerned with the development
of ICTs discuss together, within ITU, the development of new
market opportunities and learn from each other’s experience.
Technological change and innovation is at the heart of ITU‘s
As the main organizer of WSIS, ITU is committed to achieve the
WSIS goals and to develop partnerships to maximize our efforts.
To increase momentum and achieve concrete results, I have
announced 2 major initiatives.
These initiatives will demonstrate how we can join our forces,
benefit from each other’s expertise, and find ICT solutions that
will foster development and economic growth.
The first initiative is the Cybersecurity Agenda. This is a 5
point program to improve cybersecurity and combat the growing
problem of cyber crime.
The second initiative is called Connect Africa.
In October this year in Rwanda, leaders from government and
industry will come together and commit themselves to a
comprehensive Plan and funding to provide access to
communications to all citizens in the African continent and to
expand affordable broadband access. I hope this initiative can
then spread to other regions.
While the pace of technological change is constantly
accelerating, the centuries old problems of hunger, poverty and
We must find a way to reconcile the two, so that technology
truly serves mankind.
I look forward to a lively discussion.