Committed to connecting the world

World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 20 November 2012

Address to the First Plenary

Chairman of the Board of TRA,
Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, Director of the BDT, Ambassadors,
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Salam Aleikum, Good morning,

Let me add my welcome to you to this World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly 2012. I am very pleased to see we have such a good participation. We have around 1000 participants registered for this Assembly and over 100 countries represented. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the United Arab Emirates for offering us such wonderful facilities here in the spectacular city of Dubai. I would also like to thank our friends of TRA for the excellent collaboration of the TRA team with the ITU secretariat in preparing for the event.

I would also like to thank our Chairman Mr Mohammed Gheyath for agreeing to take on the chairmanship of this world assembly. I believe the Chairman’s advice in his opening address shows we are in very good hands.

The Secretary-General has spoken of the shining example of Dubai as a symbol of great progress in the Middle-East. A further example is the city of Masdar. This is a real Smart City full of world firsts. Here, UAE is really leading the way. I congratulate everyone involved on the creation of this test bed from which the world has a lot to learn.

AT WTSA-08 in Johannesburg many new initiatives were agreed for ITU-T Sector especially in the area of sustainability. Over the last 4 years, ITU-T has produced many new standards and reports that will aid countries and industry to harness the great power of ICTs especially to become more sustainable and to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Yesterday at the Global Standards Symposium we saw yet again the importance of international standards underlined by global ICT leaders. Again in 2008 WTSA took advantage of the conclusion of the GSS and I am sure we will do the same again this year. The report of the GSS will be presented this afternoon by the Chairman of the GSS.

As the world becomes more and more connected it is clear that all sectors now rely on ICTs to maintain and streamline their operations.

The coordinated development of international standards to ensure global interoperability cannot be conducted in isolation and the GSS highlighted the need to create mechanisms to engage better with vertical sectors and the other leading standards bodies. With convergence, it is clear that this will be a key challenge for us in coming years. So Ladies and Gentlemen

I can reflect, with some satisfaction, on the significant achievements of ITU-T over the last four years, thanks to the many initiatives taken at the last WTSA in Johannesburg in 2008.

These regular WTSAs provide an opportunity for the full membership of the ITU to review and further improve ITU-T’s role as the only truly global ICT standardization body, and I am confident that WTSA-12 will consolidate these gains.

WTSA is our chance to further streamline the structure of our standards work and make sure that it meets the demands of today’s fast paced information society. ITU as the only UN Agency involved in ICT standardization is in a strong and unique position to take responsibility in shaping this new period of ICT development.

As a consequence of the decisions taken in Johannesburg in 2008 we have seen our membership and participation substantially increase. This is the strongest endorsement of what ITU-T offers, and so I would like to take this opportunity to thank our new members and encourage our existing members to continue to make positive contributions that can help ITU in our aim to Connect the World.

ITU-T offers a friendly environment where newcomers are welcomed and all countries have equal rights and all companies have equal rights, no matter how large or small. It is the place to develop global standards in quick response to the needs of our membership, whether from developed or developing countries.

The decisions taken at WTSA-08 initiated a lot of new work in areas such as: optical transport; smart grids; cloud computing; machine-to-machine communications; e-health; intelligent transport systems; accessibility; IPTV; emergency communications; climate change; and cybersecurity; as well as the new membership category of academia, and the new substantially reduced fee for Sector Members from certain countries.

We will look at some of these achievements in more detail later today.

One of the achievements that I am most proud of is the increasing involvement of developing countries participating actively in our work today. We have made great effort to put in place mechanisms that facilitate their participation. The contributions to the Bridging the Standardization Gap fund by Nokia Siemens Networks, Microsoft, Cisco and Korea Communications Commission have greatly facilitated this and I would like to thank them once again and encourage others to contribute to this fund.

And WTSA-12 as well as defining the next period of study for ITU-T will also look to provide us some guidance on how to facilitate an even greater level of involvement in coming years.

It will determine the most important areas to focus on and assign them to the relevant expert groups. The resulting workplan will guide us for the next four years with the various Study Groups and their leaders defined.

As Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau I can assure you that all the staff of the TSB are ready and keenly awaiting the challenge that a new study period will bring us. My staff is here to serve the best interests of our members and I can assure you that we will spare no effort in making this WTSA-12 a successful and enjoyable event.

Thank you. Shukran.