Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the ITU Secretary General and other ITU elected officials I would
like to thank the Government of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of
Communications and Informatization for their kind invitation to host these two
major ITU events – the CIS Regional Preparatory Meeting and the “Connect CIS”
I am grateful that today’s RPM has also given me the opportunity to make my
first visit to Belarus, which I am told is called the country of a thousand
lakes and white storks.
I know that CIS’s telecom sector has been very dynamic in the last few years,
with an impressive ICT growth rate. This RPM and the Connect CIS Summit that
follows will be a chance to consolidate the good progress already made and give
added impetus for future ICT development.
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 CIS 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. Azerbaijan, Russian Federation and Ukraine all participated 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. The Youth Forum
attracted some 300 young people and representatives of some developing countries
were sponsored to participate in ICT development sessions of TELECOM. CIS
Members actively participated in those activities.
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, with over 600 participants. The GSR stimulated a
lively debate on regulatory issues and spoke of the pressing need for
governments to open markets to greater competition and use incentives to
stimulate investment in broadband networks. My colleague, the Director of
the BDT, and his staff will offer you further information.
Just last week ITU was attending the Internet Governance Forum in Sharm El
Sheikh. For Internet governance to be effective it must be based on a
frank discussion on globally applicable principles. Among other matters, a large
part of ITU’s involvement in the IGF was in Cybersecurity, an issue which
certainly demands global coordination and for which we are working under the
framework of our Global Cybersecurity Agenda.
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 and many capacity-building and knowledge
sharing seminars. We have also been playing an active role in the lead up
to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and have called on all our Members
to make sure 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 this selection 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.
As you know, 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
The CIS countries form an integral part of the world which 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 perfect opportunity for you to make just such an assessment and a
solid plan for the future. I would like to encourage the Members of CIS to be
more active in ITU activities, including contributing to the three Sectors as
well as to our cross-sector activities.
Please allow me to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the
great efforts of the BDT staff from both Headquarters and the Regional and Area
Offices, under the strong leadership of Mr. Sami Al-Basheer, Director of the
BDT, towards improving the connectivity of this region as well as making this
meeting a success.
I wish you a very successful meeting.