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Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

UNGIS High Level Segment

10 May 2010, Geneva, Switzerland


Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon.

As Chairman of the United Nations Group on the Information Society, I would like to welcome all of you here this afternoon at ITU for the high level segment of the sixth meeting of the Group.

Cloud of Words: UNGIS, WSIS, targets, ITU, UN, system, information...As you all know, the World Summit on the Information Society has been an important landmark in the global effort to eradicate poverty and achieve the UN
Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The WSIS has placed ICTs at the center of the UN Agenda.
The WSIS outcome documents have also assigned an important role to UN Agencies in the implementation and Follow-up.

2010 is an important year as it marks the mid-way point towards our 2015 targets.

We all know that the UN Group on the Information Society is a unique interagency group that was created by the UN Chief Executive Board (UNCEB).

The role of UNGIS is create awareness and demonstrate that ICTs can accelerate the realization of the MDGs but also convey, at the highest level, key new challenges facing us in building a people-centred, inclusive and development oriented Information Society.

WSIS created a very rich mechanism for implementing and following up on the Summit. We are still fine-tuning that model to find the best and most efficient arrangements.

  • Last year, building on the results of the open consultations and building upon the cluster of the WSIS related events we have launched the WSIS Forum which won high popularity and recognition.
  • This year following a three tiered consultation process we ensured that the process is as inclusive as possible and that all Stakeholders working on implementation do get recognition and serve as good examples to follow.
  • I strongly believe that we are on the good path.  However we need to continue to improve.  We need to ensure we are working with the entire UN system and all interested stakeholders.
  • We have significantly improved the WSIS Stocktaking process as valuable tool for monitoring implementation of the WSIS:

    1st by adding to the database a social networking component.

    And 2nd by gradually moving towards analytical reporting. I will give you two examples: The National e-Strategies for Development publication and the WSIS Stocktaking Report.

Because this year is the mid term review. ITU has focused the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report on the progress made so far. I see that there is still some work to be done and remaining 5 years are not much.

Therefore we need to use the occasion of the WSIS Forum as well as sixth UNGIS meeting to take a stock on this what needs to be done. I strongly believe that UNGIS can play an important role supporting the Action Line Process, and we need to make sure that this coordination platform is becoming even more successful, efficient and visible.

In 2009 we dedicated significant efforts in order to reenergize this platform. The following are only few important examples:


  1. Apart from the regular annual meeting we introduced the working level meeting held in October 2009.
  2. Chairs and Vicechairs were in constant contact holding monthly or sometimes weekly coordination conference calls
  3. Responding to the ECOSOC resolution, UNGIS organized focused open multi-stakeholder consultations on the implementation of Part B of the Tunis Agenda: “Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICTs for Development”.  This was held in parallel to the ITU World Telecom. We should discuss if the Group is ready to take over this task.
  4. We are taking a stock of ICT-related projects of UNGIS members
  5. We are mapping the UNGIS members initiatives in the areas of science, technology and innovation as well as the promotion of transfer of technology
  6. We have launched the Joint Initiatives we agreed last year, such as Children Online Protection
  7. We are advancing the work of Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, encouraging UNGIS members to measure progress made towards reaching the WSIS targets.

Having said this all together, am confident that UNGIS can help the UN system play a key role in building the Information Society.

UNGIS is a tool with great potential and we need to make sure we use it.

We need to work together within the system to ensure that all the targets of the WSIS are met by 2015.

To conclude, let’s work together to make UNGIS a model of UN cooperation. Let’s enhance UN system wide policy by making it more coherent, and let’s ultimately contribute to UN Reform.

It is now my great honor and privilege to hand over the Chair to Irina Borkova, the Director General of UNESCO.  As Irina was not able to join us, Mr. Khan will represent her.

I would now like to confirm ITU’s commitment to work on the WSIS and to build UNGIS as an efficient platform for cooperation.