Speech from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General
ITU Council 2009 - Closing Speech

30 October 2009, Geneva, Switzerland

Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Councillors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are coming to the close of the 64th Session of the ITU Council. We began our debates last week with a very heavy agenda before us. I am so very pleased to see that we have completed our agenda and that we have achieved this in a cordial, friendly spirit throughout our discussions.

We were honoured to have with us for this Council several Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and Ambassadors.

We were even more honoured to have as our Chairman, the distinguished Minister of Communications from Ghana, His Excellency Mr Haruna Iddrisu.

This 64th session of Council was attended by 301 participants representing 46 Member States of Council, 36 Member State Observers, and 9 Sector Member Observers.

We held a total of 18 meetings – 11 Plenary Meetings and 7 meetings of the Standing Committee on ADM – without the need for weekend sessions, night sessions, or indeed votes.



This was our second test for Council to work as far as possible in a paperless environment. And I am delighted to see that for a second time it worked again.

Our figures indicate that we reduced paper usage by 766 kilos. This equates to almost one and a half tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions we saved – equivalent to driving a typical family vehicle in the United States for almost four months.

And working electronically has again allowed the secretariat to enhance time to publication and provide quick access of documents and reports to Councillors.

USB keys
We hope that Councillors were satisfied with this work method. A few isolated incidents were reported – but on the whole, no major concerns were encountered.

A number of Councillors took advantage of the service offered.  Please remember to return your laptops before you leave.


In our nine-day session we reviewed 87 input documents, including 21 contributions from Member States. 19 formal texts were adopted on key issues.  I will just highlight a few:

We approved the biennial budget for 2010-2011 in record time! I think this is due to the transparent manner in which the budget was presented, and I thank you for your confidence.

We created a Council Working Group to elaborate the Strategic and Financial Plan in preparation for the Plenipotentiary Conference next October. We are all looking forward to the implementation of Results-Based Budgeting and Results-Based Management; ensuring a strong linkage between the Strategic, Financial and Operational Plans; and being able to evaluate Key Performance Indicators – KPIs.

We also created a Group on Child Online Protection to look at ITU’s role with regard to International Public Policy Issues concerning creating a safer Internet Environment for Children.  As a father and a grandfather myself, I must say I am personally very pleased with this decision of Council, and with your recognition of this very serious issue.

We also approved the resolution on ICT and climate change which is very timely. We highlighted the important role we must play as we head towards the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

I call upon all of you on your return home to liaise with your national counterparts to provide proposals on the role of ICTs in mitigating and adapting the effects of climate change for incorporation in the Copenhagen agreement.

From my side, and further to your adoption of the resolution, I have already instructed my experts to draft the message that we will transmit to the Climate Change Conference.

We adopted a resolution on the role of the dedicated group in international Internet-related public policy issues, thereby providing a framework for the scope of work for ITU in this domain.

We reviewed the results of ITU Telecom World 2009. We welcomed your inputs and will report back to you with a more detailed study by the next session of Council.

We made progress on a number of areas of governance with respect to the creation of an ethics officer, and options for the possible creation of an audit committee.

We also endorsed the HR strategic plan which will be considered a living document and will be updated as necessary.

We heard the report from the JIU on regional presence and I look forward to your further comments during Council 2010.

Finally on the functioning and management of the Union – I look forward to our continued deliberations on this next spring, and I hope, in particular, that we are able to stabilize the basic instruments of the Union.

We had an enriching debate on many other critical issues facing the Union.  And we approved many other items which I will not mention at this time

What lies ahead?

2010 will be a very busy year.

We have the final meetings of the Council Working Groups and Sector Advisory Groups before PP;

We have an April session of Council, and I remind you to send in your contributions in good time!


On 17 May in Shanghai we will celebrate WTISD on the theme of Better city, better life with ICTs.  I hope you will all join us in Shanghai.

Shortly thereafter we will hold the World Telecommunication Development Conference. I hope that you will all contribute actively to the preparatory process, as well as to the conference itself.

In September, I hope to see you in Buenos Aires for Americas Telecom.

And in October, we will of course meet in Veracruz for the Plenipotentiary Conference.

I look forward to the continued success of the ITU, including improved relations with the staff council.

Thank you

On behalf of all the elected officials, I would like to thank you for all your support and hard work during this session of the Council, and I look forward to our continued cooperation.

I would also like to thank OFCOM of Switzerland for our wonderful excursion last Sunday – as well as those Council Member States which hosted social events over the past week and a half.

None of this of course would be possible without the ITU staff, our most important resource. So let me publicly thank our staff for all their efforts in the preparations and organization of Council.

And in particular let me thank the interpreters: your work is invisible, but absolutely invaluable.

Finally, Mr Chairman, my congratulations to you. You have steered our discussions so smoothly and ably. Your ability to summarize difficult debates and to guide us has been most impressive.

It is now my great honour to present you with the ITU Gold Medal and certificate in recognition of your outstanding leadership of the 2009 Session of the ITU Council.

Thank you.