STATEMENT by Mr. Alexander Lomaia
Minister of Education and Science
17 November 2005
Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and
On behalf of President Mikheil
Saakashvili and the Government of Georgia let me extend our
deep gratitude to the people and the Government of Tunisia,
and to the International Telecommunication Union for an
outstanding organization of this universally important
The objectives of the World Summit on the
Information Society are to build a people-centered
Information Society; to put the potential of knowledge and
ICTs at the service of development; to promote the use of
information for the achievement of UN Millennium Development
The Tunis phase offers a unique
opportunity to evaluate progress made by the participating
nations as well as by international organizations, private
sector, and civil society towards the goals declared.
Just to emphasize how important the
telecommunication sector development has been for my
country, Georgia, I would like to present some statistics.
The number of Internet users has grown from 100,000 in 2003
to more than 200,000 this year. The number of mobile phone
users has doubled since 2003, exceeding the number of
1,000,000, which, in fact, makes wireless network available
to every fourth citizen of my country.
The new Government of Georgia has
effectively liberalized the regulation of the
telecommunication sector. One needs no license any more to
start telecommunication business in Georgia, all he/she
needs to do is to get authorized with the National
Communication Commission. The deregulation approach has
immediately paid back as investments in the sector doubled
in the course of the last year.
One of the priority tasks for the
Georgian Government is to increase the quality of education
in general schools by modernizing the outdated curriculum
content, through web-based cooperative learning projects,
overcoming unequal access to educational services, and
enhancing the schools as ICT based community centers.
This year, with the help of our Estonian
colleagues we have launched an ambitious school
computerization project which is conceived as a
modernization initiative that will substantially reflect on
economic and societal rejuvenation of Georgia. The Deer Leap
project mainly aims at (a) increasing the student-computer
ratio from the current 200 to 1 to 30 to 1, and (b) linking
every school to the Internet by the year of 2009. The
Government of Georgia has already made its strong commitment
to the project by starting to aggressively invest in the
project; however we would obviously need to match the state
funds with outside sources to meet the targets.
Democratic and economic reforms in my
country have been endangered by unfriendly politics carried
out by our northern neighbor, which is being actively
involved in supporting militarily, politically and
financially the self-proclaimed regions of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia where an ethnic cleansing of Georgian
population has been carried out. Energetic and timely
international efforts are needed to put an end to the
attempts to annex these territories, thus brutally breaching
the very basics of international law.
Georgia, with its unique ancient culture,
and an educated society, does have the potential to
participate in the formation of the Information Society on a
full-scale basis. National endeavors to build an inclusive
Information Society in each country however should be
complemented by effective international efforts. Special
attention in this respect, along with developing countries,
has to be drawn to the economies in transition.
Reflecting on the issue of the Internet
governance that is being actively debated, we wanted to
underscore the importance of inadmissibility of governmental
or intergovernmental restrictiveness on the international
flow of information over the Internet. As Prof. Eli Noam put
it in his yesterday article in the Financial Times, "any new
international system of Internet governance, should be
conditional on a clear declaration of freedom for the global
flow of all Internet content".
The attainment of our common global
objective to build the Information Society, to a
considerable extent, will depend on establishing an
effective assistance mechanism that will help to assure the
smooth and full inclusion of our citizens.
Needless to say, we look with hope to the
international community which has a key role to play in this
I thank you, Mr. President.