Secretary General of the ITU,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I first wish to thank the Government of Portugal for the
excellent arrangements and warm welcome extended to the
participants of this important meeting in the beautiful city of
Lisbon, capital of this great seafaring nation.
I also wish to congratulate our Secretary-General, my dear
friend Dr. Hamadoun Touré, for having prepared such a rich and
complete agenda for this 4th World Telecommunications Policy
Forum. In the past, these forums have tended to focus on a
single subject, often in excruciating detail, but without
necessarily providing a link to the bigger picture issues that
must be addressed. Today, for the first time, we note the
inclusion of a number of elements broadly addressing the
totality of the proper development of information and
communication technologies. No dimension has been left out: the
range of topics covers everything from basic infrastructure to
electronic safety, as well as environmental considerations.
These issues, addressed in the Report of the Secretary-General,
are presented in a very logical and coherent order, and call
upon us to seize the opportunity and the moment to endorse and
implement measures that are fully capable of translating into
daily reality the aspirations, hopes and desires that will be
expressed at this Forum.
In this regard, I wish to highlight the special role
recognized and entrusted to the ITU, through its Secretary
General, to implement the program of actions of the last World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
Some three years have gone by since the second session of the
World Summit in Tunis. It is indeed comforting to note that most
ITU member countries have moved beyond the stage of mere
political awareness, and are well on the way to the
establishment of their national ICT-related legal and technical
As such, the time is now right for the international
community to commit its part so as to assure that these national
frameworks are connected and fully capable of spreading the
desired benefits to all four corners of Earth.
I now turn towards Dr. Touré to inquire, whether, in the
context of the World Summit mandate to the ITU, it would be
possible for him to lead, with the assistance of his colleagues
from United Nations Agencies and other international
organizations, the efforts of developing draft arrangements,
conventions or international charters to be negotiated by
governments as soon as possible. Ultimately, these transnational
instruments of cooperation will align all the stakeholders of
the Information Society in the quest for our common objectives.
The International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
clearly appreciates the importance of all the issues addressed
at this Forum. With regard to the development of the “Next
Generation Networks (“NGNs”) and broadband infrastructure, as
you know, the Agreement governing this Organization embraces
broadband connectivity as an essential component of the Public
Service. From the very beginning of World Summit preparation,
the ITSO was among the first to draw attention to the “broadband
divide” and its negative impact on countries unable to span the
gap in a globalized knowledge economy. Aware of the gravity of
this new divide, I called for the implementation of a global
broadband satellite infrastructure Initiative, capable of
providing broadband services in remote and underserved areas. We
are committed to continue to work with the ITU so equipments
standardization and radio spectrum harmonization are completed.
Let me assure you that the ITSO and its Executive Organ will
make themselves available, and will spare no effort to help the
Secretary-General in this enterprise, providing any assistance
he may require.
Let us hope that the spirit, the memory, and the courage of
the ancient Portuguese mariners, true pioneers of the world we
know today, will inspire us and guide our steps.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.