Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

Connect a School, Connect a Community Ministerial Roundtable

25 May 2010, Hyderabad, India

Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a real pleasure for me to join my colleague, Sami Al Basheer, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, to welcome you to this Ministerial Roundtable on ITU’s Connect a School, Connect a Community initiative.

Cloud of words: connect, school, UN, together, roundtable, community, broadband...Let me start by thanking his Excellency Mr A. Raja, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, India, for chairing this session today, participating Ministers and regulators and delegates in the audience.

This Roundtable is an opportunity to share experiences and build momentum for this important initiative to connect schools. I look forward to hearing more from you on what you are doing in each of your countries, and how we share resources and work together towards common goals.

I had the pleasure of launching Connect a School, Connect a Community last autumn at ITU TELECOM WORLD, together with Sami Al-Basheer and Mr. Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General, along with some 300 enthusiastic young people from around the world.

Connecting schools to broadband is an essential part of ITU’s Build on Broadband campaign. By connecting schools, we will be connecting our youth and the communities in which they live. And, we will be working towards our aim of connecting the world by 2015.

By connecting the world to broadband, with all of the new applications and services that these high speed networks will support, we will stimulate growth, innovation and broader development. Through the improved education, health and employment opportunities that result, we will have the chance to finally make real progress towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Broadband is no longer a luxury. It is core infrastructure of the modern economy. Those who have it will prosper, those who don’t will fall further behind. This is a challenge for all of the ITU Membership. And it is of interest to the entire UN community.

For this reason, together with the Director-General of UNESCO, I recently launched a global, top-level Broadband Commission bringing together leading personalities in the sector, to work on common strategies to harness the power of broadband to accelerate progress on the UN MDGs. We will be making our first report to the UN Secretary-General in September of this year at the UN MDG Summit in New York. The Co-Chairs of the Commission are Mr Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and renowned businessman, Mr Carlos Slim Helu.

Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here to share and learn from one another. This is the strength of our Union. I look forward to our discussion, and wish us all success in the common endeavor.

Thank you.