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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

APT WCIT-12 Preparatory Meeting

Bangkok, Thailand, 6 August 2012

Opening Address

Secretary General of APT, Toshiyuki Yamada
Chairman, Edgardo Cabarios
Deputy Secretary-General
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be with you here today.

I would like to thank Secretary-General APT and the Chairman for inviting me and my colleagues to this event. I would also like to thank Mr. Amir who has worked very hard to prepare for this and last week’s APT WTSA preparatory meeting.

On behalf of the ITU Secretary General I would like to express our appreciation of the excellent collaboration we have with APT.

This is the first of the final series of regional meetings before WCIT. It is therefore a particularly important meeting as the subsequent regional meetings no doubt will look closely at the outcome of this meeting. I am pleased to see such wide participation and in particular other regions represented here which I am sure will help inter-regional understanding.

This final series of meetings is very important and will hopefully reduce the number of options to be considered at the conference.

ITU Council at its July 2012 meeting decided to make public the proposals submitted to its working group (TD64) and to allow all stakeholders to express their views and opinions on them and any other WCIT-related matter. The website to allow for public comments will be operational before 15 August.

Many countries have already conducted public consultations. Indeed all ITU Member States and all Sector Members have full access to all WCIT-12 documents and can share them within their constituencies. Also they can be translated into other languages in addition to the six official languages so that they can encompass all citizens and ensure the widespread engagement of civil society in the important issues that are being debated in the run up to WCIT-12.

In addition, members as well as many non-members have had an opportunity to comment on, and influence, these proposals, in particular at regional preparatory meetings such as this.

We will have an opportunity to compare the regional proposals at an information event that will be held in Geneva on 8-9 October. This event will be chaired by the nominated chairman of the WCIT Mohamed Al-Ghanin and will be open to all Member States and Sector Members. The intention is to have presented the proposals from each region for each Article in turn.

WCIT has attracted an incredible amount of attention – probably more than any other ITU conference in its long history. Not only does this illustrate the much increased relevance of a global treaty on international telecommunications but also ITU’s role in the sector that affects almost everyone on the planet, as well as economies, businesses and society.

The 1988 ITRs were instrumental in enabling the development of today’s global information society, and the new ITRs should have a positive impact on ensuring its further growth.

Technical, policy and economic challenges to international telecommunications have always been resolved by ITU membership to the benefit of all the world’s users – and I am sure WCIT will be no exception.

The conference will address many issues that were not on the table in 1988: misuse of numbering; fraud; security; high data volumes and falling unit prices putting pressure of infrastructure investment; high cost of Internet connectivity in many developing countries; high international mobile roaming charges; climate change and accessibility. Many of these have already been address by this region and others are on this week’s agenda.

Of course Internet related issues are attracting the most attention. ITU’s mandate regarding the Internet is clearly laid down in the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference Resolutions 101, 102, and 133.

The WICT will address these challenges that will affect the development of a fully inclusive information society over the next decades; a society that ensures that all the world's citizens have equitable, affordable and secure access to voice, video and data.

Most of us were not involved in the 1988 conference, but apparently there were many of the fears, concerns, and criticisms at that time that we see again today, and they proved to be unfounded: the 1988 Melbourne conference created the framework that enabled the spectacular growth of telecommunications – including the Internet – over the past 24 years.

With so many of ITU’s membership exerting so much energy on the preparations for WCIT 2012 I am sure it will be equally successful.

I wish you a successful and productive meeting.