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

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2009 - Closing Remarks
Geneva, Switzerland
18 May 2009

Today, around the world countries are celebrating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day under this year’s theme of protecting children in cyberspace.

This morning, I talked about how important it is that we do everything in our power to create a healthy online environment for our children. I then had the great pleasure to recognize 3 outstanding individuals who are working hard to do just that.

At the beginning of this session, my colleague Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, described exactly how dangerous the online world can be for children, and underscored how important it is that the world adopts a coordinated approach to deal with this threat.  And he renewed not just ITU’s commitment to connecting the world, but its commitment to connecting it responsibly.

I have already announced our year-long global Call-to-action to promote this ideal. Thanks to the incredible support that has already been shown for this initiative, I am determined – no, I am convinced – that a secure online environment for our children will not remain an ideal but will become a reality. 

Close collaboration with numerous UN agencies and other organizations have already been incredibly positive, yielding such fruit as the Draft Guidelines – I’d like to take a moment to thank all the co-authors of these draft guidelines for their considerable efforts!

I’d also like to thank all COP members for their willingness to work with us, and extend a special thank you to the EBU Director General and UNICEF. I can honestly say that the COP initiative would not be possible without the kind of support and good faith that all of you have shown.

COP is the kind of initiative that transcends borders, nationalities, and politics. It’s the kind of initiative that brings out the best in us. And the kind of initiative that reminds us of what it means to all belong to the same global village.

Thank you.