Your Excellency, Minister Vinenç Alay Ferrer, Minister for Territorial
Planning, Environment and Agriculture, Andorra,
Mr. Sami Al Basheer, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the
International Telecommunication Union,
Mr. Jaume Salvat Font, CEO of Andorra Telecom,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the ITU Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré and the other ITU
elected officials I would like to thank the Government of Andorra for their kind
invitation to host the Europe Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for the World
Telecommunication Development Conference 2010 (WTDC10).
In spite of the global downturn, ITU has seen over the last year that our Member
States continue to recognize the essential role that ICTs play in all areas of
our daily lives and how important they are for social and economic development.
The World Telecommunication Policy Forum, in which most European countries
participated, took place in Portugal in April and acknowledged the far-reaching
importance of ICTs. It adopted 6 opinions and the Lisbon Consensus, which
addressed telecommunications policy and regulatory issues associated with
technological change and convergence.
This year’s TELECOM World 2009 brought together Heads of State, Heads of
Governments, more than 90 Ministers, over 400 C-level executives and many ICT
experts. Spain, Belgium, France, UK, Switzerland, from the region, joined
many developing countries to organize their national pavilions in the TELECOM
Exhibition, which was more varied this year than we have ever had before.
The TELECOM Forum addressed many key issues, including the financial crisis,
climate change, and cybersecurity. We were pleased that despite the
current global financial crisis, TELECOM World 09 was appreciated by the
participants, many found it surprising. ITU will continue its efforts to
reform ITU TELECOM events in line with the guidelines laid down by the ITU
Council Resolution 1292 (2008) and we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of ITU
TELECOM in 2011.
The last ITU Council 2009 was held in Geneva from 21 to 30 October 09.
This Council-09 approved the budget for 2010-2011, adopted Resolutions on
various aspects, set up Working Groups to take care of strategic plan 2011-2014,
function of the ITU structure, etc. It was a very successful meeting.
We were also pleased with the high turnout for the ITU Global Symposium for
Regulators and the Global Industry Leaders Forum which took place in Beirut
earlier this month. The GSR stimulated a lively debate on regulatory
issues and spoke of the pressing need for governments to open markets to greater
competition and to use incentives to stimulate investment in broadband networks.
The Connect-CIS Summit was held in Minsk, Belarus, 26-27 November 2009.
Five Heads of States, 12 Ministers, many Vice Ministers, and Industry leaders
were in attendance at this very successful conference.
Lastly, I’d like to mention an issue that is of great importance to me – that is
maximizing the use of ICTs to mitigate climate change. ITU is intensifying
its action on climate change through standards for energy efficiency of ICT
technologies, coordinating spectrum for climate monitoring and disaster
prediction, detection and relief in addition to organizing workshops and
seminars. We have also been playing an active role in the preparation up
to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and have called on all our Members
to lobby for that the role of ICTs is recognized as part of the climate change
solution in the Copenhagen output document.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have spoken about some of the Union’s activities to illustrate the Union’s
commitment worldwide to ICT development. However, it is also a good
illustration of just how varied and challenging the issues of the ICT Sector can
be. It is therefore important to give due attention to the evolving
priorities and needs for successful ICT development.
ITU will hold its next Plenipotentiary Conference in Veracruz, Mexico in October
2010 and the next WTDC in Hyderabad, India in May 2010. Both conferences
will review the Union’s strategy and activities for the period 2011-2014.
The European countries form an integral part of the world that should follow all
global activities. However, this region has its own characteristics and its own
needs, which are not necessarily the same as in other regions. This
meeting is a great opportunity for you to make just such an assessment and a
solid plan for the future of ITU, and prepare your inputs to those conferences.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the great
efforts of the BDT staff under the leadership of Mr. Sami Al-Basheer, Director
of the BDT, who have worked hard to organize theregional meetings of the RPMs,
in particular during the past month of November, when they successfully
organized the GILF/GSR in Beirut, then the CIS RPM, followed by the
Connect CIS in Minsk last week, and now immediately following, the RPM Europe
here in Andorra. They have not had any rest in November and I offer them my
I wish you a very successful meeting.