Dear Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Secretary-General and my Colleagues Elected Officials, it is my
great pleasure to welcome you at the 15th meeting of the Council Working Group
on WSIS, which will be most probably last one prior to the Council-09. Prior to
starting the meeting I would like to use this opportunity to share with you few
recent developments related to the WSIS.
As you may know last month, ITU hosted the new “WSIS Forum 2009” aimed at
revitalizing the WSIS process and achieving greater inclusiveness, more action
and greater focus on results in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. I am
pleased to say that, in collaboration with its partners from all the UN agencies
involved, we have successfully responded to calls for a more streamlined
structure to WSIS follow-up.
The new format consisted of six high level segments, the WTISD ceremony, more
than 35 parallel sessions including several thematic workshops, briefing
sessions and other components such as kick-off meetings, and speed exchanges.
We had around 600 delegates from around 100 countries. The feedback on the
new format was very positive. Suggested improvements included:
- Need for more interactivity
- Need for discussion on development of the roadmaps for action lines;
- Need for closer coordination between NY and Geneva
- Need for real outcome of the Forums (recommendation, report, etc.)
- Need for more meetings worldwide related to the implementation process
- Need to address e-inclusion in the agenda for the next year
The WSIS Forum 2009 concluded with the meeting of the United Nations Group on
the Information Society. The meeting this year was chaired by UNESCO. I am
pleased to inform you that ITU will take the chairmanship for the next year.
UNGIS agreed on a revised terms of reference for the group expanding the mandate
to include science and technology addressing the GA Resolution A/RES/62/208.
The meeting also agreed on three joint initiatives – open access to scientific
knowledge; child on-line protection; and science, technology, and innovation.
In the two year work programme, it was agreed to hold open consultations on
Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICT for Development, which is
already under preparation. Meeting will be held in Geneva, in 4th quarter of
2009, most probably during the TELECOM week.
Moreover in its role as leading facilitating organization ITU co-organized with
ESCWA, Ministry of Syria and UNESCO regional meeting, Regional Follow-up to the
Outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society, which was held in
Damascus last week. Objective of this exercise was to ensure better coordination
while reviewing and following-up on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, the
Regional Plans of Actions for building the Information Society in Western Asia,
the Arab ICT Strategy and other national strategies and plans of action. Meeting
was very well attended and we hope to have much more cooperation with the
Regional Economic Commissions on the WSIS related issues in the future.
Having in mind all these positive developments of recent weeks let me address
few issues, which will need to be addressed during this meeting. We need to keep
in mind that, if it will not be decided differently, it will be the last meeting
of this group prior to the Council 2009, there fore several recommendations
needs to be elaborated, like for instance
- the Roadmaps and the overall ITU’s strategy for WSIS
implementation and follow-up
- role of the ITU in the mid term review (WSIS+5) and the final
review (WSIS+10) in 2015
- reporting on the progress in WSIS implementation and the follow-up
Thank you very much for your attention, wishing you fruitful discussions
during coming three days.