Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

BDT Director's Speeches

ITU-D Study Group 2 plenary session 2016
Geneva, Switzerland  26 September 2016

ITU-D Study Group 2 Plenary Session 2016

26-30 September 2016

Geneva, Switzerland

Opening Speech

Brahima Sanou

Director, ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau


Dr. Ahmad Sharafat, Chair of Study Group 2

Vice-Chairs of Study Group 2,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,


It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this meeting of ITU-D Study Group 2.  

I would like to welcome Dr. Ahmad Sharafat, the Chairman of Study Group 2, all vice-chairs, rapporteurs, co-rapporteurs and vice-rapporteurs and all participants, including those who are attending the meeting remotely.

Let me start by putting the work of ITU-D and particulary your work into the new context

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

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 the role of ITU-D study groups is key in this process.

In order to support the implementation of the SDGs 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, 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.

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.

Ladies and gentlemen:

The main focus of your work during this week is to advance the work on the deliverables of the study questions. 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. You may need to explore how to align better the study topics to support the implementation of the SDGs.

I would also like to stress again 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 taking steps to make this cinterrelation 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.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Among the many interesting issues we will discuss this week, I would like to highlight the workshop on emergency telecommunications and disaster relief, which will take place on Tuesday 27 September at 14h30. This is a great opportunity to learn how we can leverage ICTs for disaster response. I also invite you to visit, on the same day, the showcases on emergency telecommunications, outside of this room.

On 30 September, the last day of this Study Group meeting, we will have a Partnership Dialogue on ICT④SDGs.

The Partnership Dialogue, to which you are all invited, aims to provide a platform for ITU-D membership, including public and private sector entities, academic institutions and other stakeholders for enhanced engagement in the activities of BDT for supporting the implementation of the SDGs.

I am pleased to inform you that, from this year onwards sponsorship opportunities are been proposed for activities taking place during the ITU-D Study Group meetings. I would like to say Thank you to all those who are sponsoring side events and social activities!

Before I conclude, I would like to thank you for your commitment and dedication.

I thank you for your attention.