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International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO)
Statement by Mr. Ahmed Toumi, Director


Secretary General of the ITU,
Distinguished Delegates,
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 frameworks.

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.