عربي  |  中文  |  Español  |  Français  |  Русский
 
 Advanced Search Advanced Search Site map Contact us Print Version
  Home: Office of the Secretary General

 
   
Joint Facilitation Meeting on the Action Line C2, C4, and C6
Geneva, Switzerland
16 May 2007

Opening Remarks by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Together with the Director of UNDP Geneva, Ms Odell Odile Sorgho-Moulinier, it is our pleasure to welcome you to this Joint Facilitation Meeting on the Action Lines C2, C4, and C6. This meeting is of particular significance to me for  two reasons:

  •  It is the first time that we are getting together to look for synergies between the different Action Lines and recognizing strong inter-linkages between these actions;
  • Secondly, we are discussing the impact of initiatives that have the potential to make a significant difference in the future; like for instance Connect Africa, the first of the global initiatives I will be officially announcing this afternoon.


It has been more than one and a half year since the WSIS Stakeholders made a strong commitment to follow the Agenda of the Information Society. Since then many governments have recognized the preponderant role of ICTs for socio-economic development of their countries. Many actions focusing on implementation have been initiated and carried out recently. In this way, the WSIS Stakeholders have been re-confirming their determination to build solid foundations for an inclusive Information Society. The initial outcome of this work is now visible, however, there is still a long way to the accomplishment of all goals set in Tunis in 2005. 


Digital divide, even though gradually diminishing, still remains problematic for many countries. It is very likely that without help of the international community and big impact initiatives many of these countries may not be able to catch-up. In 2005, in low-income economies, the average fixed telephone penetration rate was not even  exceeding 3.6%,  while high-income economies amounted to more than 52%. Similar disproportions may be observed for instance in the case of  Internet usage, where the number of users per 100 inhabitants amounted to 4.22 and 53.93 respectively.


The ITU, a specialized UN agency as well as the facilitator of the WSIS Action Line C2, according to its available resources, takes numerous actions directed towards the development of information and communication infrastructure. However, with time this task becomes more and more complex, particularly in low-income countries Well synchronized actions focusing on technology, business, regulation and public policy are required. FThrough this meeting, we have an excellent opportunity to brainstorm on the necessity of regional, sub-regional or global actions keeping in mind the interests of the various stakeholders involved. The activities aiming at the promotion of ICT Strategies, fostering harmonization of  ICT policies in the different regions; supporting the development of regional and large-scale national initiatives, addressing global thematic ICT infrastructure initiatives, or searching financial mechanisms and resources, may have real impact.


The high innovation dynamics of the ICT sector has the potential to provide new technical solutions for bridging the digital divide. In many cases these new technologies may become affordable to implement. However, in order to achieve real impact, the question of self-sustainability of infrastructure projects needs to be clearly addressed.


The three-layer convergence process, i.e. fixed/mobile, data/voice, telecoms/broadcasting/internet, enforced through rapid migration to the IP environment, changes not only the dimensions of the ICT sector, but also business paradigms, regulatory environments and customer preferences. This trend is relevant for all countries. As the next generation networks become pervasive, we have a strong belief that the related innovation dynamics involved with these technologies may help developing countries leapfrog.


Nevertheless the policy makers, regulators, or users groups around the globe have to seriously tackle how to best promote the public interest in a converged IP-enabled communications environment, as the traditional concept of universal service is changing.


I am fully confident that the matters that we shall discuss today will help bring forward the actions undertaken by the Action Line facilitation groups. I also strongly believe that it will encourage many stakeholders, present here as well as being with us virtually, to join  forces to bridge the digital divide. Ms. Odell Odile Sorgho-Moulinier, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your kind attention.

 

 

 

 

Top -  Feedback -  Contact Us -  Copyright © ITU 2014 All Rights Reserved
Contact for this page: External Affairs and Corporate Communication Division
Updated: 2014-08-23