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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

BDT Director's Speeches

ITU Regional Development Forum for Europe
Budva, Montenegro  27 September 2016

ITU Regional Development Forum for Europe

"ICTs for Sustainable Development"

27-28 September 2016, Budva, Montenegro



Mr. Brahima Sanou

Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

His Excellency H.E. Vujica Lazović, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister, Ministry of Information Society and Telecommunications, Montenegro

Excellences Ministers here present

Mr Zoran Sekulić, Director, Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services, (EKIP), Montenegro

Ms Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Montenegro

Mr Manuel da Costa Cabral, Chairman, Com-ITU of CEPT (The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations)

Heads of Regulatory Authorities,

Representatives of private sector

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure and privilege to welcome you all to the 2016 Regional Development Forum for Europe, here, in the beautiful city of Budva.

On behalf of all the participants and my own behalf let me first express our deepest gratitude to H.E. Dr. Vujica Lazović, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information Society and Telecommunications, for the warm welcome extended to all of us. Let me also congratulate you, and through you the Government of Montenegro, for the continuous progress and results achieved in building a dynamic ICT ecosystem.

Montenegro is a country that strongly believes in the potential of ICTs to advance sustainable development. It is also a country that welcomes every year many European stakeholders of the ICT sector, on the occasion of the INFOFEST, to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities for the ICT ecosystem.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The ICT sector is evolving very fast. Every morning we get a wakeup call by a new change, if at all it doesn't wake us up like a nice dream or a nightmare. We some time call them disruptive businesses, but they are just wakeup calls.

It is not happening only in the ICT sector but in the whole ICT ecosystem. Take for example the FINTECH that is changing the financial landscape using ICTs, the Biometrics, the blurred frontier between physical and cyber world.

We should be open and inclusive to all those changes and address them in the ICT ecosystem.

As we embark in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, known as SDGs, we need to expand our collaboration to the ICT ecosystem in order to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs.

In this regards, in March this year, BDT and UNESCO organized a Policy Forum that brought together ministers of education and ministers of 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. We were honored with the presence of H.E. Minister Milena Harito of Albania.

Two months later in May, working in close collaboration with WHO, we brought together ministers of ICTs and ministers of health 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.

In the area of e-agriculture, ITU 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. 

These are new areas of collaboration we need to initiate as ICT sector.

Honorable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen

We are entering in the 4th Industrial revolution characterized by a breakthrough in technology that is blurring the frontiers between the physical world, the digital revolution, and biological microcosm. The 4th Industrial revolution is expanding the ICT ecosystem more than never before, hence putting the ICT players on the driving seat.

In addition to being a platform for annual high-level multi-stakeholder dialogue and interaction on the implementation of the outcomes of WTDC, in particular the regional initiatives, the RDF are also a platform for exploring these new trends together.

In the framework of the implementation of the Regional Initiatives, let me share with you good news that today we will officially hand over to Albania the results of the National Review on the ICT Centric Innovation Ecosystem, as well as results of the Twinning Programme between Albania and Slovenia on the Broadband Infrastructure Mapping.

Excellences, 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. Preparation is going well.

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 on the future. We plan year-long celebrations that will culminate at WTDC-17.

I invite you to contribute to the preparatory process of WTDC-17. This will kick off tomorrow at our brainstorming session leading towards the Regional Preparatory Meeting for Europe to be held from 27-28 April 2017, in Vilnius, Lithuania and later WTDC-17 itself.

Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before closing let me seize this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to the Chairman of Com-ITU of CEPT, Mr. Manuel da Costa Cabral for the support and close cooperation with ITU and congratulate Mr. Paulius Vaina, who was recently appointed by CEPT as the coordinator of the WTDC project team at Com-ITU.

Let me also welcome Mr Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and Ms Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator.

Finally let me express my deepest gratitude to Mr Zorean Sekulić, Director of Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services of Montenegro (EKIP) for facilitating and hosting this important event.

I look forward to very fruitful discussions during these two days of the RDF. 

I thank you.