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BDT Director's Speeches

ITU-D Study Group 2, 2019 Plenary
Geneva, Switzerland  25 March 2019

ITU-D Study Group 2


Monday 25 March 2019

Speech by Doreen Bogdan-Martin

Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

Mr Ahmad Sharafat, Chair of Study Group 2,

Vice-Chairs of Study Group 2,

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

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

As at the opening of Study Group 1 last week, I would like to again request that we rise from our seats and observe one minute's silence in honour of our outstanding BDT colleagues, Maygenet Abebe and Marcelino Tayob, who so tragically lost their lives on10 March while on their way to Nairobi for the Steering Committee meeting of the Centers of Excellence. Both were highly respected and beloved colleagues who were an enormous asset to our organization. They will be greatly missed by all, and our hearts go out to their families and friends at this extremely difficult time.

​This is the second meeting of the ITU-D Study Groups for the 2018-2021 cycle, and my first Study Group meeting since I took office on January 1st.

I would therefore like to extend a special welcome to Ahmad Sharafat, Chair of Study Group 2, along with all our Vice-Chairs and our rapporteur and vice-rapporteurs. Let me also extend a warm welcome those attending this meeting remotely.

ITU-D Study Groups serve as a unique neutral platform where experts gather to produce relevant tools, useful guidelines, and good practices for the benefit of all.

They generate innovative ideas and good practices for the benefit of all.

They contribute to a better world by providing innovative and hands-on solutions.

For ITU members, engaging in the work of our Study Groups provides access to a global pool of expertise and resources from which every country can benefit, regardless of its level of development. Our Study Groups allow participants to engage in a continuous learning process, to keep abreast of technological developments, to share information, and to find solutions to challenges faced by different stakeholders in our core study areas.

In my inauguration speech in January, I outlined my main priorities as Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau. I'd like to reiterate these this morning.

I want to lead a BDT that is focused on building more partnerships, with measurable results and positive impact. Empower our Regional and Area Offices to enable them become even more relevant to the communities they serve. Where we strengthen our capacity building efforts and enhance our work on data collection, analysis and forecasting, to support rigorous, evidence-based policy making.

I am committed to making the Development Bureau more efficient, more modern and more innovative in all areas of our work, so that we can respond better to the needs of our members.

What does this mean for the work of our ITU-D Study Groups?

It means making concrete linkages between the work we undertake through our Study Questions and BDT's broader programme of work, Regional Initiatives, projects underway in Member States, and capacity building.

We need to approach our future work in constant innovation, making the very best use of resources through efficiencies and synergies. 

The work of ITU-D Study Groups is crucial in accelerating the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 Under my leadership, we will continue to strengthen our collaboration with the UN system and with other stakeholders on SDGs where ICT can play a key role, in areas such as health, education, gender, agriculture, e-waste and emergency telecommunications.

One good example: in the area of emergency telecommunications, and directly related to Study Group 2 Question 5/2 that you will be discussing over the course of this week. We recently held the Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications, which combined a strong focus on partnership and synergies with very concrete linkages to both the SDGs and the Buenos Aires Action Plan.

The event highlighted the importance of ICT-based early-warning and monitoring systems and showcased and demonstrated the role of disruptive technologies such as big data, Internet of Things, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence in detecting, monitoring and predicting disasters, as well in disaster response. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

This is a very exciting time for us all. As we progress the work of Study Group 2 under the theme 'ICT services and applications for the promotion of sustainable development', keep this in mind: in future, we must be able to show clear links between the activities in the Study Groups and our Resolutions and Regional Initiatives, as well as the four objectives of the ITU Strategic Plan. We must ensure that the efforts you make here are well-coordinated with other ongoing activities, and deliver the goods in terms of national and regional priorities – and always in an inclusive and sustainable manner, and with measurable results.

Management teams are a core element of the work of the Study Groups. I encourage our Member States to continue to support their appointed rapporteurs and vice-rapporteurs, so that they can continue to participate actively in Study Group meetings and fulfil their important duties.

I also encourage all Study Group members to actively contribute to our important work. Whether you represent a Member State or one of our Sector Members, Associates, or Academia, we count on your participation in these meetings and on your constructive input to the process.

Last year was an opportunity for you to organize the work of the Study Questions. I am confident that this year you will begin to concretely address the core issues and achieve some important milestones. Some rapporteur groups have already proposed annual deliverables; I think, going forward, it will be important to focus on regular, high-quality annual outputs, to show that our Study Groups remain at the forefront of the rapid evolution of ICTs, and that their guidelines can applied in a timely fashion to national and regional challenges. 

As you know, in coordination with our Regional and Area Offices, I have initiated the creation of topical clusters to better identify and coordinate local and regional activities on a range of topics such as broadband, cybersecurity, emergency telecommunications, and e-waste – many of which are linked with your Questions.

I am confident that our Study Groups will benefit from this clustering initiative, and I encourage you to talk to our staff locally and in the regions. Remember, too, that the Study Group Secretariat is always available to assist you to make connections where needed.

There are other events to come during the year, starting with the 24th meeting of TDAG, and the Global Symposium for Regulators in July in Vanuatu. I encourage all of you to get involved, participate, and connect your activities to these events wherever possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I know I can count on your enthusiastic participation and constructive inputs during the course of this meeting. In turn, you can rely on the Study Group Secretariat and BDT focal points in headquarters and in the regions to assist you in your work. I wish you all a most stimulating and productive meeting.

Thank you.