Ladies and gentlemen,
We live in a world where information and communication technologies – ICTs – have become ubiquitous, and now perform an essential function in education, health, finance, trade, energy and indeed every other sector.
Over the past few months we have also seen the dramatic and catalytic role that ICTs are now playing in modern diplomacy and the political arena – for example with Wiki-leaks, and across the Middle East.
At ITU – the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs – we are also very much aware that ICTs remain the best tool we have for social and economic development, and accelerating progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Increased connectivity, however, brings its own problems, of course, and notably the need to assure global public confidence and security in the use of ICTs – or in short, cybersecurity. Which is why we are all here today.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Cybersecurity has been high on ITU’s agenda for a number of years, and in 2007 one of my first acts as the newly-elected Secretary-General was to launch the Global Cybersecurity Agenda, the GCA, as a global framework for international cooperation.
More recently, we are proud to have forged a strong and highly supportive relationship with IMPACT – the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats.
As the world’s first comprehensive alliance against cyberthreats, IMPACT is the key organization fulfilling ITU’s cybersecurity mandate in an operational sense, providing our 192 Member States with access to expertise, facilities and resources to effectively address cyberthreats, as well as assisting UN bodies in protecting their ICT infrastructures.
Already more than 130 countries are now formally part of the ITU-IMPACT operational deployment, and I would encourage all remaining Member States and UN bodies to join this global endeavour, so that they too may benefit from the services and capabilities provided.
ITU has always been a firm believer in the power of partnerships, and cybersecurity is no exception. As well as the ITU-IMPACT partnership, we are also joining forces with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC – to collaborate globally on assisting Member States in mitigating the risks posed by cybercrime.
We have also signed an MoU with Symantec Corporation, which will provide ITU with expert intelligence reports on current and future trends in ICT security, to be shared amongst all ITU Member States.
Cybersecurity is a crucial issue that affects every government, every business, and every individual online. But we will only be successful in addressing the issue if we work together. If we cooperate and collaborate, and bring all the stakeholders to the table. To make the world online a safer and more reliable place to interact with one another.
ITU and UNODC have taken the lead in fostering dialogue and facilitating cooperation within the UN system, and I encourage you all to take advantage of the good work already done, and to help us do even better still.