Speech from Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General
WTDC-10, Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Asia Pacific Region 2009
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5 May 2009

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Asia-Pacific Region. 

On behalf of the Secretary-General of the ITU, I would like to thank Malaysia for hosting this meeting and for the efforts they have made in letting us feel comfortable and welcome here today.

As we are all aware, ITU’s main mission is to enable evolution of telecommunications and information networks around the world, so that everywhere, people can actively participate in the global information society. That is why ITU took the leading role in the organization of the key event of this decade - the World Summit on the Information Society held in two phases - in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in 2005. The Summit was an important landmark in the global effort to eradicate poverty and to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. Since the Tunis Phase of WSIS, much progress has been made. A report on the progress of implementation of Action Lines for which ITU is the main facilitator will be made in this meeting.

Since WTDC-06 in Doha, ITU has held several important conferences, including PP-06, RA-07 and WRC-07, WTSA-08, and very recently the World Telecommunication Policy Forum 09.

In the recent and coming years, ITU has and will be taking the lead in many areas: ensuring security in cyberspace, the efficient use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits, promoting appropriate strategies and policies, encouraging infrastructure development to bridge the digital divide, the use of ICTs to mitigate climate change and the establishment of workable standards to provide global telecommunications for everyone, including the disabled and disadvantaged.

With the unprecedented financial crisis that has shaken the global economic system to its foundations, ITU is deeply concerned by the potential impact on its Member States and Sector Members. An ITU Report on Confronting the Crisis: Its Impact on the ICT Industry was also commissioned early this year providing informed analysis on the future outlook for the industry and exploring how the financial crisis may impact the ICT industry.  Last month, at the World Telecommunication Policy Forum held in Lisbon, Portugal, a Special High-Level Strategic Dialogue with the theme: Confronting the Crisis brought together leaders from government and industry to address the problems facing vendors, operators and governments. The event helped to formulate proactive strategies to help the ICT sector weather the storm, as well as leveraging the power of ICTs to accelerate economic recovery in other sectors. I invite you all to take a look at this Report as well as the full report from the Special High-Level Strategic Dialogue at WTPF on our ITU website.

The WTPF welcomed around 850 delegates from 116 Member States, 44 Sector Members, 5 UN agencies as well as members of the public.  20 Ministers and 10 Vice-Ministers were present.  The Prime Minister of Portugal attended the closing session.  Among other results, there are six opinions agreed, including inernet-related public policy matters, the advent of NGN and broadband access, ICT and environment, strategies for confidence and security in the use of ICTs, support for the adoption of IPv6 and International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).  The conference approved the “Lisbon consensus”, recognizing the importance of ICT, calling on global cooperation to implement those six opinions.

Two years ago – on 17 May 2007, to be precise, ITU as facilitator of WSIS Action Line C5 on Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda, or GCA. Designed as an international framework for cooperation and response, the GCA focuses on building partnership and collaboration between all relevant parties in the fight against cybercrime. Through the transition that took place from strategy to implementation, GCA has positioned itself as the leading framework to deliver concrete solutions in our collective efforts to reduce cyber-threats at the global level.

I am therefore pleased to announce that ITU’s GCA is being hosted by the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) whose world class facilities were inaugurated in Cyberjaya in March this year.  Through the ITU Development Sector which is responsible for implementation, some 20 countries have expressed the desire to take part in the first phase of its deployment – with a target of 50 planned for the next 12 months.  I am happy to learn that delegates will have the opportunity to visit the facilities after the closing of RPM on Thursday, 7 May 2009.

As the Acting Manager of ITU TELECOM, I take this opportunity to inform you that ITU will be holding TELECOM World in October this year in Geneva.   The underlying theme of the event is Open Networks – Connected Minds, this is not just a reference to technical innovation, but also an opportunity to focus on the modes of dialogue that bring peoples of the world together.  The TELECOM forum will focus on the role of the ICT industry for global recovery and its sustainable development, especially in delivering new investment and employment opportunities.  During the preparation of this TELECOM, I have seen a more and more active role shown by our ASP region.  The industry and the national pavilions organized by members of the region now form an important part of the Event which, in my opinion, corresponds to the ever increasing role this region has in the global family. I very much hope that we will see you in Geneva for TELECOM World.

Thank you for your attention and I wish you well with your discussions over the next three days.