Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to address you this morning at the end of a very
successful event – which I believe, for all of us, far exceeded expectations.
As we all know, with its new name and its new format, the “WSIS Forum” aimed at
achieving more inclusiveness, more action and more focus on concrete results,
oriented towards implementation of the WSIS outcomes.
We started the week with a high level opening ceremony on ICTs and MDGs with our
UN partners and many Ministers – a nd our friend Nicolas Negroponte who has
challenged us to connect children at no cost. This was followed by the World
Telecommunication and Information Society Day Ceremony.
We were so honoured that Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden had accepted our
invitation to be the patron of the 2009 World Telecommunication and Information
Society Day. Queen Silvia was the founder of the World Childhood Foundation and
has a grand vision of the future of children in the digital age. During
the ceremony we awarded three eminent personalities, H.E. Mr Luiz Inacio Lula de
Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Ms Deborah Taylor Tate,
International Advocate for ICT Child Safety Issues , and Mr Robert G. Conway,
CEO, GSMA, for their exceptional contributions towards protecting children in
On the same occasion within the framework of the Child Online Protection (COP)
initiative, the first release of the Draft Guidelines for policy-makers,
industry, parents, guardians, educators, and children on child online safety
During the Forum itself, we were pleased to welcome close to 600 delegates from
around 100 countries, who contributed to the many debates in a spirit of
constructive multi-stakeholder partnership. Around 40 per cent of the
participants represented governments, including many ministers, ambassadors, and
the directors of the leading ICT authorities. 30 per cent came from civil
society, 20 per cent from international organizations, and more than 10 per cent
from the private sector. In addition many of the WSIS stakeholders, who could
not join us in Geneva, followed the event through live web-casts and interacted
with us electronically.
The Forum built on a number of High-Level Panels, which addressed some of the
most important issues we face at a global level, and were followed by several
WSIS Action Line Facilitation Meetings and thematic workshops. In total more
than 35 sessions contributed to the development of much a better understanding
of needs for future action and the way forward. Several kick-off meetings and
speed exchanges held throughout the week concluded with the initiation of
partnerships and cooperation agreements.
These results are very satisfactory, which is especially important given that
only six years remain to 2015. World leaders at WSIS recognized the vital role
of ICTs in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (or MDGs),
and entrusted all of us with an important mission which must be achieved on
The next year – 2010 – is a key date for all of us, as it will mark the half-way
point between the Tunis phase of WSIS and 2015, when the United Nations General
Assembly will review how WSIS outcomes and the MDGs have been implemented.
The MDGs not only recognize the potential of ICTs as a development enabler but
also highlight the importance of “cooperation to make the benefits of ICTs
available to all”. This gives the WSIS Forum, which is based on an open and
multi-stakeholder approach, a particularly important role. In this context, it
is necessary that we already start the preparation of the mid term review. I am
sure that the meeting of the United Nations Group on the Information Society (or
UNGIS in short), which will take place this afternoon, will also address this
The success of this year’s Forum and the dedication of the WSIS stakeholders
gives me great hope. By working together, we will be able to achieve the
WSIS goals by the target date. At the same time, I strongly believe that in some
areas such as connectivity, the goals should be achieved much earlier, and that
it is feasible to make all villages, towns and cities connected by 2012 – which
is three years ahead of the Millennium Development Goals. And as you know,
ICTs underpin the way forward to achieve the other Millennium Development Goals.
I would like to convey my special thanks to all WSIS stakeholders, who have done
so much to facilitate this Forum. I would also like to express my great
appreciation to all our partners, and in particular UNESCO and UNCTAD, with whom
we joined forces to organize this Forum.
Thank you very much for your attention.