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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

TSAG June 2013

Geneva, Switzerland, 4 June 2013

Opening address

Deputy Secretary General
Directors of the BR and BDT
Mr Chairman, Vice-Chairmen of TSAG,
Dear colleagues and friends,

Welcome to the opening of this first TSAG meeting since WTSA-12. Thank you all for being here.
I would like to again congratulate the Chairman and the Vice-chairmen on their appointment by the Assembly.
Since WTSA we have seen a lot of activity in the T sector.
Just to take one example, the approval of the new ITU-T H.265/HEVC video codec was a landmark that reaffirms ITU’s leadership role in global multimedia standards. Indications are that the standard will follow in the footsteps of its enormously successful PrimeTime Emmy award winning predecessor. Let’s aim for an Oscar this time round!
We have seen progress and new achievements in all of the fields of ITU-T’s increasingly wide field of activity.
I will present the highlights of this short period later today.
WTSA-12 was the best ever attended World Assembly and a great success. It adopted 50 Resolutions, 6 new and 44 revised, and produced the first-ever Resolutions on e-health, software-defined networking (SDN), and e-waste. It re-emphasized and strengthened the ITU-T mandate in areas such as environment, conformity and interoperability, and accessibility, and saw encouragement for greater engagement of academia in our work. It also substantially revised Resolution 44 on Bridging the Standards Gap, and I very much hope that developing-country participation in the work of ITU-T will continue to increase as a result.
The Assembly also made significant changes to Resolution 76 on conformity and interoperability, which I believe puts us on a much better footing to take this programme forward with the strong leadership of Study Group 11.
The consolidation of the current ITU-T structure, keeping to 10 study groups, was important. The recent meeting of SG11 had double the number of participants and a significant output, which shows how the current structure can be made effective.
As discussed yesterday, the decision to create a Review Committee was as a results of the Global Standards Symposium which highlighted that the demarcation between different standards bodies is becoming blurred,  that ICT standardisation no longer applies just to the ICT industry, and that more must be done to integrate the needs of vertical sectors.
The message that better mechanisms are needed to engage vertical market players was also one of the conclusions of the ITU-T’s CTO group at its meeting the day before the GSS.
I believe the Review Committee will provide a crucial framework to create more efficient standardization mechanisms; ones that meet the demands of an increasingly converged industry.
The Review Committee met yesterday for the first time and I believe we have the platform for some important decisions that will help adjust ITU-T’s strategy to meet the challenges we face.
WTSA-12 also added even greater emphasis to bridging the standardization gap with a request to ensure that all new ITU-T Recommendations are accompanied by implementation guidelines.
The leadership teams appointed by WTSA have members from 35 countries, 25 of which are developing countries. I believe this is a good indication of the progress we are making with bridging the standardization gap.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me say a few words about the financial situation:
The additional cost estimates for the full implementation of all the decisions taken at WTSA-12, as estimated by the Budget Committee of WTSA-12, are 720 k CHF annually. This amount is not included in the draft budget for 2014-2015.
Full implementation of the WTSA-12 Resolutions cannot be achieved with the current level of ITU-T resources as all possible efficiency savings have already been made. I have therefore appealed to our membership for voluntary contributions to fund extra activities of ITU-T.
Please give your kind consideration to this request, detailed in TSB Circular 19, in order that we can support ITU-T in fulfilling the ambitious programme agreed at WTSA-12 for the new study period 2013 – 2016.
Voluntary contributions, whether in kind or monetary, can be used to fund specific projects, focus groups or other new initiatives, including any activities which help achieve the objectives of Resolution 44 (“Bridging the standardization gap between developing and developed countries”). I am most grateful to the past contributors to our Bridging the Standardization Gap Fund (Nokia Siemens Networks, Microsoft, Cisco, Korea Communications Commission).
Despite the financial pressure, our membership is increasing, as are the number of participants in our meetings, and consequently the number of requests for fellowships, which unfortunately cannot all be met.
However, this new study period is an opportunity to capitalise on the gains made in recent years, and to continue to meet the increasing demands of the Information Society. We will continue to innovate and strive to offer the best services that we can to facilitate the creation of the standards that power global ICTs.
We have a busy meeting ahead of us with around 80+ documents for consideration. We are fortunate to have such an efficient chairman to see us through the agenda.
With that I wish you all a successful meeting and I look forward to receiving your advice.