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

13 November 2009, Bali, Indonesia

Excellencies,
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here with you in Bali today – and I would like to express my thanks to APT for organizing this ministerial meeting, and to Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for hosting it. I wish the meeting every success.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of APT, and I would like to congratulate you on the three decades of your existence and for the outstanding services you have provided to your members.

APT has been – and continues to be – a true telecommunity, and a very valuable asset in the region.

Today, APT is at a crossroads in its history, facing the broader challenges of ICTs in the Information Society with limited resources – facing those challenges on a regional level, just as ITU is facing them on a global level.

I am confident, however, that this ministerial meeting will come up with creative ways of turning these challenges into opportunities for the APT and its membership, and will formulate strategies for success.

I would like to encourage APT and its members to contribute to – and to participate actively in – two very important ITU events being held next year: namely the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Hyderabad, India, next May, and the Plenipotentiary Conference in Veracruz, Mexico, next October.

ITU is counting on your support and I personally will look forward very much to seeing you at both conferences.
Distinguished colleagues,

The theme of this APT Ministerial Meeting – Strengthening Regional Collaboration towards the Broadband Economy – is particularly close to my own heart.

Because, in the 21st century, affordable broadband access to the Internet is becoming as vital to social and economic development as networks like transport, water and power.

Broadband access – and the next generation broadband network infrastructure which underpins it – is a key enabler for economic and social growth.

We must therefore ensure that access to broadband networks is simple, equitable, and affordable to all.

So that everyone – wherever they live and however modest their means – can create information, use information, and share information.

So that everyone can participate in the broadband economy.

ITU is committed to continuing to work closely with APT and its members on any collaboration and cooperation of mutual interest – and of course this applies particularly to promoting broadband access in the region.

Indeed, we have made this a priority at several meetings already this year.

At the Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting in February, for example, I was pleased to see that the closing communiqué emphasized the importance of taking a regionally coordinated approach to ICT development.

The Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for WTDC 2010, for its part, which was held in May in Kuala Lumpur, identified ‘Broadband Access and Uptake in Urban and Rural Areas’ as a priority initiative for the Asia Pacific region.

Given the broadband theme of this meeting as well, I am confident that the subject will be high on the agenda at WTDC next year.

This builds well on our ongoing endeavours at ITU to implement the five regional initiatives which were identified by our Asia-Pacific Members during WTDC 2006 – and let me reiterate ITU’s continuing commitment to continue to do so in future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While we have been making excellent progress in connecting the unconnected, there is always room for greater cooperation. Greater cooperation in developing and exploiting new technologies; greater cooperation in training and human capacity building; and greater cooperation in regional events, with a view to optimizing resources and leveraging one another’s strengths.

A great example of cooperation is ITU’s Asia-Pacific Centre of Excellence, which offers one of the best telecommunication/ICT training opportunities in the region, through its five nodes and their network of partners.

Another great example of cooperation is our response to the global issue of cybersecurity.

Protecting the online world from the activities of would-be cybercriminals and cyberterrorists is one of today’s most pressing priorities.

As a key part of ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year with Malaysia’s IMPACT – the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats – that has seen IMPACT’s state-of-the-art global headquarters in Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur, become the physical home of the GCA.

IMPACT provides a broad portfolio of services to support the GCA. Its state-of-the-art Global Response Centre has been designed to serve as the foremost cyberthreat resource centre in the world. The Centre provides the global community with a real-time aggregated early warning system that helps member countries quickly identify cyberthreats and provide critical guidance on effective counter measures.

It also provides nations with a unique electronic tool to enable authorized cyber-experts in different countries to pool resources and collaborate with each other remotely and securely, helping the global community respond immediately to cyberthreats, especially during crisis situations.

Distinguished colleagues,

There is also an increasing need for cooperation in facing the huge challenges of climate change.

Asia-Pacific has been hit by a series of major natural disasters this year, and I would like to take this moment to express my solidarity with the numberless victims and their families across the region.

From earthquakes to typhoons, to tsunamis, Asia-Pacific has been especially hard hit, and countless people have lost their lives, been injured and suffered incalculable damage to property.

Let me assure you that ITU is on call for any emergency telecommunication requirements from its Members, and remind you that we encourage partnerships, particularly in Asia-Pacific, in the ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies.

Climate change is an issue that we must all face together, and I appreciate the support we have had from APT and its membership – and welcome new initiatives from the region.

I am, as I have said many times before, an optimist. And I am therefore encouraged to note that there is an increasing awareness that ICTs are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

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

New technologies being developed within ITU, such as Next-Generation Networks, can reduce network and data centre power consumption by up to 40%.

ICTs can help solve the climate crisis by reducing waste. By cutting business travel. By making industry more efficient. And by helping us monitor environmental change through satellite-based remote sensing systems.

Through surveillance and forecasting systems, ICTs can also help to predict natural disasters and mitigate their effects. So that in the future, we can hope that many fewer lives will be lost, and many fewer families will be torn apart.

With a cooperative spirit and the power of collective will, we can succeed.

Thank you.