Speech from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General

ITU Council - Closing Comments
Geneva, Switzerland
21 November 2008

Distinguished Counsellors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are coming to the close of the 63rd Session of the ITU Council.

I am delighted with the results we have achieved and the cordial, friendly spirit we have maintained throughout our discussions of the Council.

We were honored to inaugurate the second High Level Segment of Council with the presence of two Heads of State, H.E. Mr Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and H.E. Mr Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, as well as by United Nations Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon via video message.

We were also honoured with another 40 high-level speakers, including 21 Ministers and Deputy-Ministers, 14 Ambassadors and several heads of regulatory organizations and UN agencies.

This high level attendance demonstrated the importance of the issues discussed: cybersecurity and ICTs and climate change.

I would like to again thank all of the Ministers and other speakers for their active participation in the High Level Segment.

The 63rd session of Council was attended by a record total number of 503 presents (an upward trend of 20% participants compared to last year and 70% participants over the last 10 years)

Hightlights, Work Methods and Innovations

This was our first test for Council in a paperless environment and I am pleased to see that it worked. Figures show that up to 90% of participants at Council this year worked in a paperless fashion compared to 60% at Council 2007. While final translation and document composition costs are estimated at being about 2% above forecasts, reproduction costs have dropped considerably and which should allow us to remain well within budget ceilings for documentation. Working electronically certainly allowed the secretariat to gain time to publication and provide quick access of reports to Councillors.


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We hope Councillors were satisfied with this work method. Very few technical problems were reported. The Council Secretariat would be very happy to receive comments from Member States, including proposals to further improve working methods. We have circulated a short survey and I invite you to complete it to make improvements in our working methods.


We have completed efficiently our work for this Council in allocated time of 8-day session.

16 meetings = 12 Plenary session (including the Inaugural and High Level Sessions) & 4 meetings of Standing Committee on Administration)
no night or week-end sessions
found time for the High Level Segment
71 reports and input documents reviewed
17 formal texts (Resolutions & Decisions) adopted

In addition, we:

  • approved the report of the MBG and FINREGS
  • reviewed the interim reports of the Council Working Groups and encouraged more active participation as the groups near their conclusions in 2009
  • agreed to the mechanism to calculate the allocation of seats among the Regions for Council Member States
  • set the calendar for future events including the addition of the 40th anniversary celebration of Telecom in 2011
  • agreed to take steps to enhance Telecom Events
  • approved the final agenda for WRC 2011 & WTDC 2010
  • approved the annual activities report and the Operational Plans of the Union for 2009-2012
  • endorsed ITU Internet activities and noted progress in Cybersecurity activities
  • reviewed progress on the implementation of the strategic plan and endorsed the ITU framework on performance measurement/reporting
  • endorsed the creation of an ITU visitors center, which we hope will be ready by next Council
  • reviewed the preparations for WTPF
  • noted the conclusions of the WTSA and approved the creation of a sub-group within the Council Working Group on WSIS to look at internet public policy
  • we also approved the themes for WTISD in 2009 and 2010
  • we agreed to develop a strategic plan for ITU human resources
  • we adopted International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)
  • we agreed to provide free on-line access to some ITU publications
  • we concluded on issues related to cost recovery for satellite network filings
  • we endorsed the proposal to allocate finances to initiate actions concerning ITU News and ITU terminology and continue the implementation of Resolution 154
  • we provided information regarding the ratification of Amendments to the Legal Instruments of the ITU, hoping this will help Member States in their national process.

In my state of the Union address, I raised the global financial crisis and the role ITU can play in creating enabling environments needed to foster a new more equitable economic paradigm. You will see in Information Document 12 that I have summarized some of the potential consequences of the financial crisis for the telecommunication/ICT. We are deeply concerned by the impact of the crisis on our membership and will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to serve the needs and priorities of our membership.

In this context, I wish to reiterate my thanks to Korea for the increase of its class of contribution, as well as to Saudi Arabia for its voluntary contribution. Without any doubt, this will further ITU efforts to fulfill its mandate and enhance its activities for the benefit of the whole membership.


Ladies and Gentlemen, as I mentioned last Friday when we gave out the tee-shirts, ITU means “I thank you”.
On behalf of all of the elected officials, I thank you for all of your support and look forward to our continued cooperation.
I would also like to thank those that sponsored our social events:

  • The Republic and Canton of Geneva
  • the United Arab Emirates
  • Portugal
  • Japan
  • Bulgaria
  • Mexico
  • Rohde & Schwarz
  • GSMA
  • IMPACT - International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats
  • and the ITU Staff Council

I would also like to thank OFCOM of Switzerland for our wonderful excursion last Sunday.

None of this would be possible without the ITU staff, our most important resource.

I would like to thank my staff for all of their efforts in the preparations and organization of Council, and in particular I would like to thank the interpreters.

We hope to see all of you in April in Portugal for the WTPF and also in Geneva in October for Telecom World and then of course for Council.

Finally, congratulations and thanks to Chairman …and ITU silver medal and certificate.