Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

Green Standards Week - Opening Ceremony

6 September 2011, Rome, Italy

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here with you today in Rome for the Opening Ceremony of Green Standards Week.

Let me take this opportunity to offer special thanks to Mr Paolo Romani, Minister of Economic Development, along with his staff – and in particular Mr De Luigi and Mr Arpesella. We are very grateful for the continuing support we receive from the Italian administration.
Special thanks must also go to Mr Bernabé, CEO and President of Telecom Italia, which is hosting this event, and to the event sponsors, including Huawei, Alcatel Lucent, Research In Motion, Microsoft and Cisco.
It is particularly appropriate that Green Standards Week should be held here, in Rome, ‘The Eternal City’. Because green standards are all about ensuring continuity, stability and – perhaps most importantly – sustainability.

Green standards are of the utmost importance – in a world where we are rapidly approaching six billion mobile cellular subscribers; a world where more than two billion people are already online; and a world where everything that happens is now directly linked to – and by – information and communication technologies.

If I can be certain of just one thing, it is that ICTs will continue to proliferate. And I suspect that recent forecasts from Cisco, which predict perhaps 50 billion connected devices by 2020, may in fact be an underestimate.
So it is great to be here in Rome this week to help ensure that the massively connected and inter-connected world is a greener, more sustainable world.
Later this morning we will be presenting the Green Applications Challenge Award – and it has been most encouraging to see the wealth of smart and creative ideas which have come in as a result of the launch of this competition.
Let me congratulate Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, for this excellent initiative, along with each and every entry to the competition – the world is big enough for every bright idea!
Over the coming days there will be opportunities to discuss – in a very full programme – ways of improving energy efficiency; smart applications to support future growth while caring for the environment; driving the transition to a low carbon economy; and measuring, monitoring and adapting to climate change.
We are graced with an excellent, high-level group of speakers and participants, and I would like to thank the organizers for putting this event together and the high-level speakers – including a number of Ministers – for their support and encouragement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am particularly interested myself in ‘smart’ technologies, such as smart grids and smart water management, which will be of enormous benefit in helping us to improve efficiency and ensuring we make the most of scarce and valuable resources.
Green ICT standards will help us to achieve the necessary economies of scale which will make such smart technologies both effective and widespread.
They will also help to improve the lives of millions – billions, even – of people, as they go about their daily lives. Look at the benefits which can be achieved with intelligent transport systems, for example, or through the dematerialization and digitalization of many practices and services.
By adopting globally-agreed standards – green standards – we will help to create a smarter, greener, planet; a planet which will be full of opportunity and potential and which will help the next generation reap tremendous rewards.
To take just one quite small example, look at what we are achieving with the universal mobile phone charger, which will not just help to save energy and reduce waste, but will also make life easier, on a day-to-day basis, for the world’s billions of mobile phone users.
I’m sure we are all aware of the leading role played by Telecom Italia in the development of this standard within ITU-T, and let me take a moment here to thank Flavio Cucchietti in particular for his good work.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the full showcase of events here this week, as I have a long-standing commitment to go to the UK later today. But I will look forward very much to seeing the outcomes of these workshops, and to learning more about the active steps we can take to make the inter-connected world a better place for all.
I also look forward to seeing many of you in Geneva next month for ITU Telecom World 2011, which will be the 40th anniversary celebration of this global event for the ICT sector – bringing together, as it does, world leaders at the highest level along with top executives from many of the world’s most powerful ICT players.

Thank you!