Speech from Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General
Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC)
41st Session of the Board of the Communications Administration Heads
Minsk, Belarus, 25 November 2009

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be with you here in Minsk today, for the 41st session of the Board of the Communications Administration Heads of the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications.

On behalf of the Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Toure and all Elected Officials, in particular, the Director of BR and Director of BDT, who are with me this morning, to express our gratitude for the kind invitation of Mr Nurudin Mukhitdinov, Director General of RCC and the Chairman, H.E. Mr Igor Shegolev, Minister of Telecom & Mass Communications of Russia, to this important meeting hosted by H.E. Mr Nicolai Pantelei, Minister of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of Belarus.

I noted that this meeting of the Board will discuss mainly two issues as far as ITU is concerned:  Connect CIS Summit and WTDC-2010.  My colleague, Mr Sami Al-Basheer will present these two topics to you later on.

The ITU Connect CIS Summit is a key step in the process which will enable the rapid transition to a fully-digital economy in the region, facilitate the development to achieve the WSIS goals.

During the last two days, the Members of the CIS Region have worked hard to reach agreements for many important proposals and/or suggestions and initiatives.  They will meet again this afternoon to finalize their outputs.  I hope you will give them your endorsement and support.

In the 18 years since it was founded, RCC has proved itself a very valuable asset in the region, harmonizing communications networks; coordinating radio spectrum; and participating in ITU’s activities and work – among other important activities.  We are very pleased and appreciate that RCC has always been supportive to ITU.

There is another important ITU Conference in October 2010, we will be holding the Plenipotentiary Conference in Veracruz, Mexico. As the ITU’s top policy-making body, held every four years, the conference is the key event at which ITU Member States decide on the future role of our organization – thereby determining ITU’s ability to influence and affect the development of ICTs worldwide.  We count on your support.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would just like to say a few brief words about climate change.

ICTs are at the centre of everything we do in the modern world. They play a vital role in the global economy and in the lives of us all.

ICTs can help solve the climate crisis in many ways –reducing the need for travel by teleconferencing, making industry more efficient with new ICT tools, and helping us monitor environmental change through monitoring systems disseminating warning information by radio equipment etc..

This is why ITU Council-09 adopted a new Resolution calling on all ITU Member States to strive to ensure that ICTs are included in the final texts from Copenhagen.  I would invite you to lobby  through your Governments, and particularly through the Ministers responsible for environment, for the importance of ICT be included in the output documents of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

To conclude, I offer you our best wishes for the future of the RCC and wish you a very successful meeting.

Thank you.