Video Message by ITU Secretary-General
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré,

Education, Excellence, and Equity Project: Internet Connectivity in Albania's Public Schools
Tirana, Albania
3 December 2009

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be able to use the power of information and communication technology to join you here today for this important event.

As the leader of the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs, I am particularly pleased to note the excellent progress which is being made in Albania to bring Internet connectivity to the nation’s schools.

Children and students are the future of any country – and Albania has recognized this with its ambitious e-Schools programme and particularly its Education Excellence and Equity Project.

By bringing Internet connectivity to schools – and some 2,000 primary and secondary establishments across the nation have already been connected – Albania is enriching not just the young, but society as a whole.

Investment in ICTs – and particularly in higher-end technologies such as broadband – has been shown to have a direct positive effect on GDP growth. Indeed, it has been found that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can boost GDP by an average of 1.3%.

Distinguished friends and colleagues,

ICTs are at the centre of everything we do in the modern world. They play a vital and increasing role in education, health and government services, and both in the workplace and at home.

In every field of human endeavour, and in every crisis we face, ICTs are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

A perfect example is the most pressing issue humanity has ever faced – which is of course climate change.

ICTs contribute around 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions – but more efficient use of modern technologies could cut global power consumption by 15%.

ICTs can help solve the climate crisis in so many ways – for example by reducing the need for unnecessary travel; by making industry more efficient; by helping us monitor environmental change through satellite-based remote sensing systems, and by helping to educate our people in more energy saving tools.

This is why I have called on all ITU Member States to strive to ensure that ICTs are included in the final texts from Copenhagen, which is now barely one week away.
And it is why I will personally be participating in the Climate Change Conference.

Copenhagen is a unique opportunity for us to make the world a better place – and we must do everything in our power to ensure that a deal is sealed there.

The Education Excellence and Equity project of Albania will go a long way in ensuring a better future for the youth of this nation.  This is why, as Secretary-General of the ITU, I give you my full support.

Thank you – and I wish you all a very successful event in Tirana.