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BDT Director's Speeches

Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications (GET-19) Closing Speech
Balaclava, Mauritius  08 March 2019


Mr Mahmad Aleem Bocus Chairman of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Mauritius

Mr Jerome Louis, Chairman of GET-19

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

What a great week.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of the Mauritius for hosting this event and for the hospitality extended to us all.

I have been most impressed by the quality and content of the high-level debates and discussions that have taken place. Your participation sends a clear message on the importance of fully leveraging the power and potential of ICTs in disaster risk reduction and management.

By focusing on building closer collaboration and partnerships, we can go much further in terms of mitigating against disasters and saving lives. 

We've witnessed several major milestones at this year's Forum:

We reaffirmed the need to strengthen coordination and cooperation at all levels, as well as the importance of data, trust and the need for a collective understanding of all phases of disaster management.

We reinforced the principle that all actions and programmes must be people-centred: when disaster strikes, it is all about the people.

We agreed that the preparedness phase is crucial to saving lives. When disaster strikes there is no time to think about what to do and how organize our work. It is crucial that we are prepared, ready to take action, well-coordinated and work towards the same objective. As one of our participants said: When a disaster strikes there is no time for business, there is only time for action for people.

We also presented the disaster connectivity map initiative to provide real-time connectivity information when disasters strike. Together with its partners, and especially with the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), ITU is committed to move this disaster connectivity initiative forward. It will require the support of many stakeholders, including mobile network operators, social media and Internet companies.

We presented global guidelines on National Emergency Telecommunications Plans to assist national authorities and policy-makers in developing plans for the effective and efficient use of technologies for all phases of disaster management.

And I think that the best practices presented by Vanuatu, Mexico, Japan and Colombia in the study on Disruptive Technologies will help all of us to maximize the potential of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, robotics and drones.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I think we all treasured the time we spent on the island of Getonia. It was an impressive exercise and gave us a very clear picture of the actions needed to be put in place to cope with a natural hazard and disaster. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster for co-organizing this exercise.

I was also lucky enough this week of have the opportunity of addressing ICT and engineering students from the University of Mauritius, and briefing them on the work we do and the objectives of this conference. It is always so inspiring to meet such committed young people.

Before I hand back the floor I would like to remind you of the competition run by ITU and USTTI to win the chance to participate in a training on emergency telecommunications in Washington DC. Please visit our website at for more information

I would also like you to thank all of you for the time you have taken to evaluate our sessions. Your feedback is extremely important to us and helps us improve our discussions and identify the relevance of the topics discussed. We will compile the results and share them with you in the conference report.

But don't think this is over! We cannot close this conference without one last survey. Here we go!

In closing, I would like to thank all our speakers and the moderators, and all of you for your participation and contribution.

Thank you again to Mr. Jerome Louis for accepting to chair GET-19, and for his guidance and leadership.

I would like to end my closing remarks by thanking Mr Bocus and his team, and all those who have been involved in the organization of this forum: interpreters, the technicians and the many people working behind the scenes to make this event so successful.

A big thank you to my own team. This is my first conference as Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, and I am very grateful for the support provided by my colleagues, both on-site and back at headquarters. It is a great pleasure to lead such a wonderful team.

Last but not least, I would like to invite you all to the next Global Symposium for Regulators, GSR, which will take place in Vanuatu, from 9 to 12 July 2019.

I am pleased to show you a short highlights video.

Now I wish you a safe and pleasant journey home.​