Speech from Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General
TSAG: Opening Remarks
Geneva, Switzerland
28 April 2009

Directors of TSB, BR, and BDT,
Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of Secretary-General, who is sorry he cannot be here himself, I am pleased to welcome you all to this meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG).

It is now almost two and a half years since I was Director TSB. Although the time has passed extremely quickly, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to TSAG again.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new TSAG management team and especially my old friend Mr. John Visser.

I am glad to see in the room today as many new faces as there are old.

It has been a busy two and a half years for the new team of elected officials.

Many visible and positive changes have taken place.

We are moving forward at a pace that industry and our membership demands and continuing to meet the challenges of a rapidly developing ICT sector in a difficult economic climate.

What this will mean in practice to our industry remains to be seen.

ITU is investing a lot of effort into assessing the impact of the crisis on the ICT sector. Our recent report on confronting the financial crisis is available for downloading from our website.

This was one of the key topics discussed at last week’s World Telecommunication Policy Forum and especially the strategic dialogue which preceded it. Many high level speakers spoke to this and although the outlook is gloomy, the overall view was positive recognizing that the ICT industry can play a major role in the recovery which is expected to start later this year.

Before then we will have the Telecom World event here is Geneva 5-9 October. Clearly many companies are cutting back on their involvement this year, however, we are still confidently expecting an exciting event which will include a Forum where heads of industry, government, and regulatory agencies as well as academics, consultants, and policy advisors, will engage in dialogue on many of the issues concerning us today, including positioning the ICT industry for the global recovery.

We should remember that standards are a proven tool in terms of economic development.

The WTO trade report of 2005 underlines the important benefits that standards can deliver.

It can be said therefore that standards may have a significant effect on limiting the undesirable outcomes of market failure.

From an ITU perspective I can report that Management is making every effort to streamline our work, make savings, take efficiency measures, while improving our working methods and ensuring that all goals of the Strategic, Financial and Operational plans are met. Our intention is to put to this year’s Council a balanced budget proposal based on the current level of the contributory unit, which will allow us to continue to meet these goals.I am sure Membership will appreciate the results when we present them at next Council.

And with that I leave you in the wise and capable hands of the Chairman of the TSAG and Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Director, TSB.

I wish you a successful meeting. Thank you.