Com-ITU CEPT Meeting
Rome, Italy, 7 May 2019
Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau
International Telecommunication Union
Ms Eva Spina, Director General for Planning and Management of Spectrum at the Ministry of Economic Development,
Ms Cristiana Flutur, Co-President of CEPT and Chairman of Com-ITU,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to address you today.
At the end of 2018, we hit a milestone: for the first time, more than half of the world's population – 3.9 billion people - was using the Internet.
But there is still so much to do to ensure that we bring the remaining 3.7 billion online.
In these first few months since I took office, I have identified immense opportunities for collaboration to achieve universal connectivity and advance sustainable development.
But for this to happen, technology has to be made affordable, more inclusive, and safe.
We all have to work together and increase our efforts to bring technology to the people, in every area and every walk of life.
We need to: change the way we do business; we need to look at the regulatory approaches we have been using; to think differently; think creatively; and be more innovative if we are going to really make an impact on connecting the rest of the world.
If we do not connect the other half, it will not be possible for us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals are an agenda for all countries of the world – developed and developing. They promise to 'transform our world', bringing basic services like health care, education, financial inclusion and access to information to the world's poorest and most marginalized people.
To deliver our part, BDT must be “fit for purpose".
What does this mean?
It means a BDT that focuses on results and impact. A BDT that listens to our members to ensure that our actions match our customers' needs and expectations. A BDT that is transparent and rigorous.
How are we going to achieve this?
By focusing on our strategic priorities: building more partnerships, with measurable results and positive impact; strengthening our capacity-building activities; enhancing our work on data collection, analysis and forecasting to facilitate evidence-based policy making; achieving regional relevance; driving a culture of innovation and improve efficiency.
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.
Since January, I have focused on internal collaboration. Collaboration between headquarters and the field and between the three Bureaux and the General Secretariat. (At the Director level, we have established a series of regular meetings to ensure close coordination between the 3 Bureaux.)
One of our achievements in these few months was to cluster our work. We have 11 programmes, 30 Regional Initiatives, and 14 Study Group questions as well as Resolutions. We have the WSIS action lines, and the SDGs. The first thing we did was to cluster our work thematically, connect the dots, and bring it all together. We believe this approach will help us to better cooperate and collaborate with the other Sectors and also advance new approaches of delivery.
We also worked on skills and capacity development. We have been leading a skills assessment exercise to see what skills we need in order to be able to better deliver to our Members.
We have also come up with innovations to foster greater dialogue with you. At the recent Telecommunications Development Advisory Group meeting, we introduced some innovative sessions – breakouts and informal Regional Initiatives sessions – and I was encouraged by the level of participation and enthusiasm. We were able to freely exchange views with our Members and get their perspectives on the vital work we do.
I hope that with your support we will be able to keep this excellent spirit of cooperation and engagement, paving the way towards a modern, forward-looking World Telecommunication Development Conference – WTDC - , that, if Council agrees, will be held in 2021, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As you know the Government of Ethiopia has kindly offered to host WTDC. The invitation will be submitted to Council in June.
During these past months, I have travelled with one aim: to listen to our Members, to their needs and to find ways to better deliver. Listening to our Members is a key prerequisite to develop plans that respond to their needs with impact and sustainable solutions.
I am really pleased to be here at the CEPT meeting. I look forward to listening and to interacting with you to better understand your expectations but also your interests and ideas to advance sustainable development in those countries where it is most needed.
Europe is a very particular region where many countries have achieved significant socio-economic progress and have transitioned from the group of countries receiving help into a group of countries donating and supporting others towards sustainable development. We encourage those able to give support to continue to do that to the countries in your region and outside.
You will hear during your meeting about our discussions yesterday during the Regional Development Forum, where we talked a lot about the Regional Initiatives. These are your initiatives and I was pleased to see the great interest and discussion on the best ways to advance them.
We have in the room the European Commission. We are delighted to be working with them so closely on the European mHealth Hub, as well as the African PRIDA project where ITU is leading the Spectrum Management component.
With that, I would like to conclude, I look forward to seeing many of you at the ITU Council session in June. We have a full agenda and many important topics that are relevant to the work of the Development sector. With that Madame Chair, I wish you the best in your deliberations.