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Tenth session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development
Closing ceremony
UN office in Geneva, Switzerland
25 May 2007

Remarks by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

 

Mr. President,
Excellencies
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here this afternoon to address the closing session of the tenth meeting of the Commission on Science and Technology.


The last 2 weeks have been a busy time in Geneva.


Some 23 different meetings were held as part of the WSIS Cluster of Events. This morning, ITU and UNESCO chaired the meeting of Action Line Facilitators. We heard reports from the facilitators of each Action Line and considered ways to strengthen our work in the future. One outcome of the meeting is that each Action Line will set benchmarks and goals for its actions. We also discussed the best format to gather and publish information on our activities.


As a co-chair of this meeting, I was pleased to discover that in different areas such as e-health and e-agriculture, extensive surveys have been undertaken and that under many Action Lines, partnerships and alliances are emerging.


ITU participated in all the Action Line Meetings and led the work in the areas of C2 on infrastructure and C5 on cyber crime. The Union is also maintaining the WSIS stocktaking database and the website for WSIS Implementation.


In related events, on May 16, ITU held the second annual WISD Award Ceremony.


On the same day, ITU announced two major initiatives to build the Information Society.


The first initiative is the Cybersecurity Agenda. It 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 Kigali, leaders will be asked to come together and commit themselves to a comprehensive Plan to provide access to communications to all citizens in the African continent and to provide affordable broadband access. I hope this initiative can then spread to other regions.


On the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, ITU launched a web portal which provides access to more than 40 new national reports on WSIS implementation. These reports 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 Tunis 2005.


This has been a busy week for the CSTD as well.


CSTD has an important role to play in the follow-up to WSIS in support of ECOSOC. The Resolution adopted last year was designed to strengthen the Commission in playing that role.


In this respect, the Deputy-Secretary-General of ITU was pleased to address the Commission last Monday and Tuesday, to highlight the importance of innovation in the fast changing world of ICTs. The meeting on Tuesday organized with the GAID highlighted the importance of taking a multistakeholder approach to Summit follow-up and the importance of building an inclusive Information society.


Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


This CSTD session was above all an opportunity for you to discuss how the Commission can best fulfill its new mandate to review and assess the progress made in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.


The question now is how to go forward.


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 arrangements.


I welcome the multi-year programme approach whereby the Commission would focus each year on a specific theme.


However, I must share my concern that we are making the follow-up ever more complicated with new reporting requirements. In a time when UN agencies have declining resources; caution should be exercised in establishing new tasks and it should be recognized that each agency already has its own governing body.


Frankly, my philosophy is that we should do our best to steer away from new resolutions and focus on fulfilling our existing responsibilities.


At ITU, we will maintain our focus on implementation and action and we will work with our partners to make full and transparent information available about all our activities.


The world leaders who gathered in Geneva and Tunis set ambitious goals and deadlines to build the Information Society.


We only have 7 years left to connect the World and to achieve the MDGs.


By working together and in the most efficient ways, I am convinced we can we meet those targets.

 

 

 

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