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PP-18 coneference

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

World Radiocommunication Conference 2012
Closing Remarks

17 February 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
You have just completed a four-week marathon of debate and discussions. Your days – and nights – have been long and arduous, and the efforts you have put in have been prodigious.
It is quite possible that the extremely cold weather here in Geneva helped us, by keeping delegates inside the conference building most of the time.

I am delighted to see that your hard work has been well rewarded, and that you have achieved excellent results that you can well be proud of.

I wish to express deep satisfaction at the collegial manner in which the Union and its members have worked together, which is the envy of all other international organizations. The foundation of the organization consists of working hand-in-hand, enhancing friendship between nations and peoples, with a very clear approach, without any political, religious or ideological colouring.

The conference has been totally responsive to the expectations of membership, and the outcomes are not just far-reaching, but have been achieved – in the renowned tradition of ITU – leaving all delegates and delegations equally happy with the results.

I salute the remarkable spirit of cooperation of the 165 Member State Delegations and of the private sector representatives participating here.

I particularly wish to congratulate our friends from South Sudan, the very new independent State, which today – 17 February 2012 - signed its first international treaty here in this room.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me now move on to congratulate Mr Tariq Al Awadhi from the United Arab Emirates for his work as Chairman of WRC-12. He has delivered quite extraordinary leadership and we are all grateful for his tireless dedication to the task.

Let me also congratulate the six Vice-Chairmen of the conference for their sterling work: Decker Anstrom from the United States; Eric Fournier from France; Albert Nalbandian from Armenia; Mahiddine Ouhadj from Algeria); Habeeb Al-Shankiti from Saudi Arabia; and Alan Jamieson from New Zealand.

Let me also offer thanks on behalf of us all François Rancy as Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau, and of course to Fabio Leite as Conference Secretary.

They – and the staff of the Radiocommunication Bureau, of course – ensured that there was an excellent preparatory process for WRC-12, including the effective coordination role of the Regional groups.

WRC-12 attracted a record number of more than 3,000 participants, and we were honoured by the presence of former ITU elected officials Richard Butler, Jean Jipguep, Arnold Djiwatampu, Bob Jones and Valery Timofeev, alongside the current team of elected officials.

I would also like to say a special thank you to all of the members of the Radio Regulations Board, who have done – and will continue to do – such important work here at ITU, and especially its Chairman, Victor Strelets, from the Russian Federation.

Let me also say thank you at this point to the Dean of the Conference, Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam, from Cameroon.

Finally I would like to give special thanks to the Chairman, for the calm manner in which he has conducted the work of the Conference, his friendship, his brotherhood and his competence. I congratulate the United Arab Emirates for providing one of their best sons to lead the Conference.

Distinguished colleagues,

WRC-12 has been very important indeed in terms of its achievements. And while I cannot adequately sum up four weeks of intensive efforts in just a few minutes, I would like to highlight the following areas in particular:
  • Mobile broadband requirements were adequately addressed – and the decisions of WRC-12 in this respect are a clear message to governments and industry of the importance placed by membership in the role of wireless in making broadband accessible to all.
  • This conference also addressed the issue of the digital dividend in a very elegant fashion, and this now provides for a great deal of global harmonization of the use of the 700 MHz band for all regions by the services which most need it.
  • Significant attention was paid during the conference to Earth observation radiocommunication applications, recognizing the growing importance of collecting and exchanging Earth observation data.
  • This not only allows the accuracy of weather forecasting to be maintained and improved, but is also crucial in monitoring and predicting climate change – for disaster prediction, monitoring and mitigation; for increasing the understanding, modelling and verification of all aspects of climate change; and for related policy-making.
  • Earth observations are also used to obtain pertinent data regarding natural resources, and this is particularly crucial for developing countries.
  • Finally, observations of the Earth’s surface are used for a wide variety of other applications – for example, in urban development, and in the deployment of utilities, agriculture and security.
  • Other decisions taken by the conference will help improve safety and security for both air and maritime transportation.
  • I would like to particularly thank our brothers from Israel and Palestine who came to the meeting with a positive spirit and managed to reach an agreement in this arena without going to a vote. This Conference will go a long way to contribute to world peace, and I hope that we will continue after the Conference to help our brothers and sisters to live in peace and security.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This has also been a landmark conference for ITU in terms of management and logistics, and let me just give you a few significant numbers which can help sum up the sheer size of this event:
  • The conference handled over 26,000 document files electronically, on top of almost 20,000 Individual Proposal files which were posted.
  • In total we have had almost two million downloads from the ITU WRC-12 website – not including downloads performed using the synchronization tool.
  • We provided webcasts of more than 170 sessions, and registered almost 20,000 accesses to the live feeds – and over 90,000 accesses to the archives.
  • There were 1,255 meetings held during the conference, of which 193 had interpretation – with a total of close to 3,500 hours of interpretation delivered in the six languages of the Union.
  • The translation service handled over 10,000 pages of documentation during the conference.
  • And in terms of network connections, we registered almost 8,000 unique wired and wireless connections throughout the conference, with over 5,700 connections during the peak days.

Let me therefore take this opportunity to thank the ITU logistics and IT staff who have made this possible – interpreters, translators, IT support, document control, meeting organizers, assistants, secretarial support and all the rest.

Many of you may have been largely invisible to the delegates, but your work is fundamental to the success of this conference – so thank you all!

Distinguished colleagues,

In conclusion, let me say what an honour it has been to participate in this conference and how gratifying it is to have seen all participants working here together in a transparent, professional and impartial way in order to serve the interests of Member States – and indeed the entire ICT sector, and in a broader sense, all the world’s people.

WRC-12 has helped to define new and better ways to regulate radio services and applications, and represents a major contribution in making the world a better place for all.

The work done here will make the world a better place to communicate – and that will make the world a better place to live in.

We are fortunate to have had the opportunity, here at WRC-12, to do immediate and lasting good, and I salute your efforts!

In closing, let me also congratulate the conference for creating a draft agenda for WRC-15 which seems very well-balanced in the selection of items, as well as their complexity and their number.

I am confident that ITU-R will continue to excel in its preparatory activities with the support and cooperation of the regional groups.

I am confident, too, that once more it will meet the challenge in 2015 to provide the solutions needed to ensure this Sector, and this Union, keep driving the future of sustainable, global ICT development – for the benefit of all nations and of all humankind.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is now my honour to present the ITU Silver Medal and Certificate to the WRC-12 Chairman, Mr Tariq Al Awadhi, who has done such an excellent job of chairing this Conference.

Thank you.