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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

BDT Director's Speeches

ITU-D Study Group 1 plenary session 2016
Geneva, Switzerland  19 September 2016

ITU_D Study Group 1 Plenary Session 2016

Opening Ceremony

19-23 September 2016

geneva, Switzerland

Opening Speech

Brahima Sanou


ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

Mrs Roxanne McElvane, Chair of Study Group 1

Vice-Chairs of Study Group 1,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,


It is great pleasure for me to welcome you to this meeting of ITU-D Study Group 1.  

I would like to welcome Mrs McElvane, the Chair of Study Group 1, all vice-chairs, rapporteurs, co-rapporteurs and vice-rapporteurs and all participants, including those who are attending the meeting remotely.

About a year ago, the international community adopted a new agenda for development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals, known as SDGs.

They address a wide range of issues including education, health, inequality, gender balance, innovation, infrastructure and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

Sustainable development is at the heart of the work of the ITU's Telecommunications Development Sector because ICTs can facilitate the achievement of the SDGs and you have a key role to play in this process.

As the ICT sector continues to broaden and to converge with other sectors, collaboration becomes crucial.

We are engaging more and more with regional and international organizations, particularly with other UN agencies around concrete deliverables.

In the health sector, for example, ITU, in close collaboration with WHO, achieved a historic milestone in May of this year by bringing together ministers of telecommunication/ICT and ministers of health for the first time at an inter-ministerial round table to discuss the use of ICTs to improve universal health coverage, potential strategic opportunities for the adoption of digital technology in the health sector and the importance of continuous cross-sectoral collaboration.

Earlier this year, ITU and UNESCO organized a Policy Forum that brought together ministers of education and ministers of telecommunication/ICT to examine the role that policies and cross-sectoral collaboration can play in fostering innovation and the use of mobile technology to improve the quality, equity and accessibility of education.

In the area of e-agriculture, BDT has worked with FAO to develop an e-Agriculture Strategy Guide to help States to adopt a strategic approach in making the best use of ICT developments in agriculture.

Ladies and gentlemen:

WTDC-17 will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 9 to 20 October 2017 under the theme ICT④SDGs. With about one year to go, a lot of exciting work remains to be done.

2017 will also mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the ITU Development Sector. The anniversary is an opportunity not only to celebrate but also to reflect the future. We plan year-long celebrations that will culminate at WTDC-17.

The main focus of these two weeks is to advance the work on the questions deliverables. The final draft report and guidelines will then be presented for approval during the final ITU-D Study Group meetings in March/April 2017.

I would like to encourage you to exchange preliminary thoughts and ideas on possible study topics for the future. Suggestions on how to improve the work of the Study Groups are also welcome. We want to hear from you!

I would also like to stress, as I have done in the past, that in order to achieve overall synergies, it is crucial that the work of the Study Groups and the implementation of programmes and regional initiatives are coherent and interrelated. I am working to make this interrelation a tangible reality.

I would also like to thank all of you for the large number of excellent contributions received! I am pleased to see that most Questions now have well advanced final reports and other deliverables that the Groups will work to fine-tune and finalize this week.

We are well on the way to delivering on the expectations that WTDC-14 set out for us.

Before I conclude, I would like to thank you for your commitment and dedication. I would like to thank you particularly Roxanne for your leadership and stewardship together with all the management team of Study Group 1

I look forward to reading the final reports.

I thank you for your attention.