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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

WSIS Forum 2011
UNGIS High Level Segment

16 May 2011, Geneva, Switzerland


Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be with you here this morning for the High Level Segment of the United Nations Group on the Information Society.

Since we met a year ago here in Geneva, a number of key events have taken place that have emphasized the role of ICTs for Development – and notably the 2010 MDG Summit and the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs, which closed last week in Istanbul.

With Mrs Bokova we have established the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which presented its report to the UN SG outlining a common vision of Broadband inclusion for all. The report was noted by the UN General Assembly.

ICTs not only enable rapid progress in meeting the WSIS targets and the Millennium Development Goals, but – in the 21st century – ICTs also represent the single best tool we have for advancing social and economic development.

ICTs have played an important role in the political events taking place across the Arab world this spring. We have also seen a spectacular rise in m-commerce and m-banking – and at the same time increasing cybersecurity threats.

So I think we can all agree on the importance of strong and positive cooperation between UN agencies in keeping ICTs at the top of the UN development agenda.

I am therefore delighted that UNGIS continues to build its strong identity, thanks to excellent collaboration between its members and cooperation between the chairs.

I would hereby like to express my sincere appreciation to UNESCO for efforts dedicated towards chairing UNGIS from 2010 to 2011, and my gratitude to all the vice-chairs for putting UNGIS first. Thanks to you, it has proved possible to turn annual action plans into reality.

This is very good. But we also need to ensure that other agencies get involved in our work as well – and I am counting on your support to encourage increased participation in the coming years, while coordinating substantive policy issues facing the United Nations system’s implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the end of last year, ITU’s four-yearly Plenipotentiary Conference adopted a Resolution instructing me to initiate the consideration at the UN Chief Executive Board for the preparation of the overall review of implementation of WSIS outcomes in 2015.

Accordingly, I have brought up the matter during the first session of the CEB Agenda in April.

The UN Chief Executive Board has tasked UNGIS with organizing an Open Consultation Process on the Overall Review of the Implementation of the WSIS Outcomes – and this is important for us as it demonstrates a strong level of confidence and trust in this body by the CEB.

This Friday, with its first meeting, UNGIS will start this process, and I am looking forward to hearing from all stakeholders who should take the time to contribute to this important exercise, and to join forces in shaping the vision for the WSIS+10 final review.

As the new chair of UNGIS, I reaffirm ITU’s continuing commitment to further work on UNGIS, and I believe that our meeting on Friday will be an important step towards shaping an inclusive process for review.

Thank you.