Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As Chairman of the United Nations Group on the Information Society, I would like
to welcome all of you here this morning at ITU for the third meeting of the
As you all know, WSIS has been an important landmark in the global effort to
eradicate poverty and achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. WSIS
has placed ICTs at the center of the UN Agenda.
WSIS outcome documents have also assigned an important role to UN Agencies in
the implementation and Follow-up. 2009 will mark the mid-way point of our 2015
targets. It is therefore important that UNGIS – as the unique interagency group
created under CEB for dealing with ICTs takes a proactive role to
- demonstrate that ICTs can accelerate realization of the MDGs
- but also convey, at the highest level, key new challenges facing us in
building a people-centred, inclusive and development oriented Information
WSIS created a very rich mechanism for implementing and following up on the
Summit. We are still fine-tuning that model to find the best and most efficient
At the end of the third cluster of WSIS-related events last May, ITU, UNESCO and
UNDP convened the third WSIS Action Line Facilitator meeting. A number of
suggestions were made on how the Action Line process could be improved. In
particular there was a general agreement among participants on a number of
points including :
- The next cluster of WSIS-related event will take place in May 2009 in
- The Cluster need to be concentrated in two weeks, and including the IGF
and the CSTD sessions
- The Cluster name should be changed
- Cluster of WSIS related meetings could be organized at global level as
well as regional level
- An open web platform on reporting should also be set up.
We also decided to continue our discussion in an open consultation meeting to be
held in September.
Last Monday, we held the open consultation and I was very pleased to note
that 80 delegates attended the meeting.
The meeting has demonstrated how difficult it is to improve the process and
agree on the objectives of the WSIS clusters, the format and even the name.
Discussion needs therefore to continue.
Nevertheless, as we only have 6 years to meet the targets agreed to in Geneva we
must not forget the sense of urgency.
The opinion of the UNGIS members on how to improve and support the Action Line
process is important and I call for a common UNGIS position on that point. We
will talk about this later today.
Beyond the role that UNGIS can play in supporting the Action Line Process, we
should also discuss today how we can make UNGIS more successful, efficient and
visible. An annual meeting seems insufficient in building UNGIS identity and
The last ECOSOC resolution on Assessment of WSIS implementation adopted in July
2008 recommended that UNGIS organize focused yet open multi-stakeholder
consultations on the implementation of Part B of the Tunis Agenda: “Financial
Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICTs for Development”
We should discuss if the Group is ready to take over this task.
I believe that UNGIS should ensure that ICTs remain at the centre of the UN
development agenda. This opportunity to focus on financing issues in organizing
an open consultation could improve UNGIS visibility.
Moreover, I think we should not forget UNGIS’ role advising and assisting CEB by
identifying cross-cutting themes for policy review. UNGIS should bring key ICT
issues to the attention of CEB. One such issue could be cybersecurity.
Dear UNGIS members, to conclude I am certain that UNGIS can help the UN system
play a key role in building the Information Society. UNGIS is a tool to help us
work together as a family.
Let’s make UNGIS a model of UN cooperation. Let’s enhance UN system wide policy
by making it more coherent, and let’s ultimately contribute to UN Reform.