Committed to connecting the world


ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin statement on the visit of UN Secretary-General António Guterres to ITU

"I echo the UN Secretary-General's call for us all to work together to ensure that advancing technology does not advance inequality."

Geneva, 12 June 2024

​​​​Today, we were honoured to host UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the ITU Council. The Secretary-General's message on the urgency of bringing everyone online and the need to use technology for the greater good comes at a critical time in our race to seize the digital moment.

One-third of the world's population — 2.6 billion people — are still not connected to the Internet. As emerging technologies like artificial intelligence reshape the world, the digital promise remains out of reach for far too many. I echo the UN ​Secretary-General's call for us all to work together to ensure that advancing technology does not advance inequality.

Reconciling the challenges and opportunities of digital technologies as they speed ahead is the test before us. I share the UN Secretary-General's confidence that we can count on ITU's experience with technology standards, digital development and bringing all the stakeholders together in helping harness the power of digital for everyone while mitigating the risks. 

Members of our Council and I welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on the state of our digital world and to share updates on ITU's work to bring digital connectivity to all, advance the safe and inclusive use of artificial intelligence, foster a sustainable space economy, expand digital opportunities for women and girls, and broadly to achieve an inclusive, open, sustainable, safe and secure digital future for all.

We are running against time to ensure the development of responsible AI and other emerging technologies, rescue the Sustainable Development Goals, and to close the world's persistent digital divides. The Summit of the Future just over 100 days away and the 20-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which is already underway and to be concluded next year, are opportunities for us to meet these priorities. ITU stands ready to play a lead role in the implementation of the Global Digital Compact when it is agreed by the Summit of the Future.

As we focus on finding a common vision for the future, the success of the recently concluded WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event 2024 and the AI for Good Global Summit stands as testimony to ITU's capacity to bring the AI and digital development communities together – and our unwavering commitment to providing an equal seat at the table for developing countries.

As the UN Secretary-General said, we need to build bridges to create a digital future that will give everyone, everywhere, equal opportunities. That digital future is now. Let's move forward together to make it a future that works for us all. 


Watch the full UN Secretary-General's address to the ITU Council here

Editor's notes:
ITU Council acts as ITU's governing body in the interval between quadrennial Plenipotentiary Conferences. The Council's role is to consider broad telecommunication policy issues to ensure that ITU's activities, policies and strategies fully respond to today's dynamic, rapidly changing telecommunications environment. Learn more 

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