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Closing Ceremony of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2006



Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to see the successful conclusion of this 17th Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU. Although this Plenipotentiary Conference was only held over three weeks, it seems as if we have completed enough work for six weeks! Delegations and staff alike have been working long hours and we all deserve a long rest; so I can promise that my speech will be brief.

First of all, I would like to thank our hosts, the Turkish Administration, and the local staff, whose ever-smiling faces have brightened the mood of the conference. I would particularly like to commend the generous hospitality of our hosts and their flexible approach to solving problems.

Second I would like to thank the chairs and vice-chairs of the Plenary and of all the Committees, Working Groups and Drafting Groups. A conference like this would be impossible without the willing and able participation of many individuals, and everyone has contributed to this successful outcome in different ways, especially Mr. Arasteh, Mr Riehl and Mr. Agarwal.

I would particularly like to thank our wonderful chairman of Plenary, Mr Tanju Cataltepe. It has been a pleasure to work alongside him, both during the preparations and at the Conference itself. I have to say that, after the last three weeks, his youthful looks may have faded a little!  But I am sure that if he is “older” now, then he is also “wiser”, having benefited from the experience of the many distinguished delegates here.

As we have struggled to understand the true meanings of many new terms – like ICTs, information society, internet resources, network security and so on – we cannot have failed to see how the industry that we serve is changing.

Over the last eight years that I have served as Secretary-General, we have seen a transformation, and ITU has played a key role. One mark of this change is that virtually every single Resolution and Decision emerging from this conference mentions the outcomes of WSIS. The WSIS consensus provides our industry with a road map for our common future as we strive to build an inclusive Information Society.

Another sign of the change is the expanded workload of this Conference, which has attracted more than 2’000 delegates; an ITU record. For instance, the Working Group of the Plenary, has dealt with some 74 policy proposal compared with 37 in Marrakesh. This shows how ITU is proving its relevance as a forum for the resolution of policy issues.

Over the next four years, the industry will transform even further and faster. Competition will grow, and a more flexible approach will be needed on the part of regulators and policy-makers. These changes will be driven by the private sector. ITU has taken the steps at this conference towards opening up also to civil society. In addition, as a result of the WSIS process, ITU will need to cooperate much more closely with the rest of the UN and with other international and regional organisations. ITU itself must also remain flexible and must continue to adapt to the Information Society.

I congratulate the newly elected Secretary General, Mr Hamadoun Toure, and all other members of the newly-elected management team.

There is no time to spare for you. You should start to restructure the working methods of ITU and to implement the new Resolutions adopted at this conference as soon as you take office.

You should maintain the relevance and prestige of ITU among the UN agencies as playing the leading role for implementing the WSIS Plan of Action; the role it is called upon to play in the WSIS outcomes. This will be a prerequisite for the future of the Union.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank the membership and all the staff of the Union for their unfailing support over the last eight years. I will be returning to Japan shortly after the handover, but I can assure you that I will not forget ITU and its missions. I will be working, like all the membership, on the successful outcomes of the WSIS. This is not just a personal mission, but a global one. We must all work towards achieving a just and inclusive Information Society, in which all the world’s inhabitants can benefit from access to ICTs.

Ladies and Gentelmen,
In keeping with ITU tradition, it is my pleasure to award Mr. Cataltepe the ITU Silver Medal in honour of his services to the Union.

Thank you.



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Updated : 2006-11-24