Speech from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General
4th Internet Governance Forum

15 November 2009, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to join you here in Sharm El-Sheikh. I would like to thank the Government and people of Egypt for the beautiful location and the warm hospitality provided to us for this important fourth IGF meeting.

This is a major milestone in the IGF process, which will both take stock and look ahead:

Taking into account the experience acquired during the last three IGF meetings;

Framing the decisions which will be taken concerning the future of the IGF;

Looking at the best ways of serving the needs of the global community and engaging strongly in the process of enhanced cooperation;

And seeing which aspects of the IGF mandate still need to be thoroughly considered so that we can collectively share the same sense of accomplishment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The IGF was created as an outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society, organized by the ITU, which was the most wide-ranging, comprehensive and inclusive debate ever held on the future of the Information Society.

For the first time, governments, the private sector, and civil society and international organizations worked together hand in hand.

At the close of that summit, in Tunis in November 2005, we agreed on the importance of strengthened cooperation among all stakeholders.

ITU continues to believe in the spirit of the agreements made at Tunis and has been an active participant in the IGF process.

We are here in Egypt this week with a delegation of 14 ITU officials, organizing or co-organizing eleven (11) events, and funding the participation of some 40 delegates and experts attending this meeting.

Over the past four years, we have been implementing both the letter and the spirit of our WSIS commitments – in areas as diverse as accessibility, climate change and cybersecurity – and we have redoubled our efforts over the past 12 months.

In today’s world, ICTs are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

They are playing a key role in addressing the financial crisis. It is no coincidence that many of the world’s stimulus packages include ambitious broadband infrastructure initiatives.

These will help us to bridge the emerging broadband divide. And they will help us to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

This can only happen when the right regulatory environment is in place; an environment that favours content generation.

In Beirut, earlier this week, in our most successful Global Symposium for Regulators to date, ITU brought together over 750 CEOs and policy makers from around the world to discuss these issues.

ICTs will also play a crucial role in helping us address climate change issues.

And ITU is lobbying hard – ahead of the Copenhagen Conference next month – for this to be more widely recognized.

ITU is also playing a lead role in coordinating global cybersecurity efforts. I launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda in May 2007, and the GCA is now in its operational phase, with a physical home in Malaysia at the headquarters of IMPACT – the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats.

Within the GCA we also launched the Child Online Protection initiative last year, and this is now in its operational phase as well, with guidelines available for all stakeholders.

Distinguished colleagues,

The IGF is a unique forum where all stakeholders can share their opinions on an equal footing.

In the spirit of Paragraph 72c of the Tunis Agenda, IGF is the place were we can make progress on certain topics and introduce those mature topics into other more formal processes, arrangements and organizations for further consideration.

We welcome the new arrangement – the Affirmation of Commitment (AOC) – as an opportunity to increase ICANN’s public accountability and to enhance cooperation among all stakeholder groups in the management of Internet critical resources.

I take this opportunity to congratulate my friend, Rod Berkstrom, on his election as CEO of ICANN, and I wish him success in his new function.

In closing, I would like us to remember to look at the bigger picture, and what we are trying to achieve here.

WSIS established straightforward goals and principles, and asked us to meet tangible targets by 2015.

The IGF is a clear part of that process, and as we take stock and look ahead this week, I would like us all to focus on the bigger goals – and to work out how we can best meet the WSIS targets and the Millennium Development Goals.

Thank you.