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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

   ITU WSIS Forum 2012 

Press Conference


14 May 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Members of the press,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me offer you a very warm welcome – it is a tremendous pleasure to be here with you today at the 2012 WSIS Forum Opening Press Conference.

We are honoured by very high-level participation in the WSIS Forum – with more than 40 ministers, top-level participation from NGOs and International Organizations, C-level representatives from the private sector and civil society, and more than 1,200 delegates from over 160 countries.

We are also expecting record remote participation at this year’s WSIS Forum, and let me welcome all remote participants on behalf of ITU and our co-organizers, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP.

This is a clear demonstration that information and communication technologies, ICTs, are very much at the top of national, regional and international agendas.

I would personally like to thank all stakeholders for their very proactive approach to the WSIS Forum – both in terms of their active engagement in the preparatory process and in terms of the tremendous advance contributions we have received.

As a result of this proactive approach, we have been able to put together an exciting and ambitious Forum this year, comprising almost 140 different sessions, being run by over 120 organizations, alone or in partnership.

The sessions this year will be focusing on five key areas: sustainable development; governance of cyberspace and cyberpeace; advancing the green agenda; ICTs for post-conflict reconstruction; and Girls and ICTs.

The outcomes will be used as substantial inputs for other UN processes, such as the upcoming Rio+20 Conference in Brazil next month.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Earlier this morning, it was my privilege to announce the 18 winners of the 2012 WSIS Project Prizes – from the 170 projects which were nominated from over 50 countries.

The WSIS Project Prizes are an initiative that was created in response to requests from participants at last year’s WSIS Forum for a mechanism to evaluate and reward individuals, governments, civil society, local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private sector companies for the success of their efforts in implementing development-oriented strategies that leverage the power of ICTs.

The WSIS Prizes are now an integral part of the WSIS Stocktaking Process – and in this context I am pleased to release the ‘WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2012’ publication, which provides in-depth details and descriptions of the winning projects and their tangible impact on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes.

Tomorrow, we will be launching the ‘WSIS Stocktaking Report 2012’, which will be the 4th edition in the series. This report is real proof of the tremendous efforts undertaken by stakeholders worldwide in implementation work.

The report reflects more than 1,000 ICT-related activities implemented at the international, regional and national level, and reported on through the publicly-available stocktaking database.

Distinguished members of the press,

This year the WSIS Forum plays a particularly important role as we are launching the WSIS+10 Overall Review, which will be carried out according to the Plan of Action endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board when it met here in Geneva last month – with ITU tasked with the leading managerial role for the overall process.

Preparations for this process will start tomorrow morning at the WSIS+10 Plenary, and the whole WSIS Forum will be used as a platform for the preparations and elaboration of the forward-looking outcomes shaping WSIS beyond 2015.

The Forum is expected to generate an Outcome Document, to be published on Friday. This will be a unique multi-stakeholder consensus-based outcome, and will be a joint effort of all session organizers; as such, it strengthens coordination of the implementation process, and helps drive WSIS forward.

Before I close, let me remind you that an integral part of the WSIS Forum is the Exhibition, which this year features more than 25 exhibitors sharing their knowledge and experiences – let me encourage you to go and visit their stands.

And last but not least, let me offer a sincere thank you to the WSIS Forum partners.

In particular, I would like to express our gratitude to the UAE, as the Government Strategic Partner, and Intel, as the Private Sector Strategic Partner for the 2012 WSIS Forum.

We are also grateful to the following partners for their contributions towards specific activities:
  • Belgium – Liège,
  • Kazakhstan,
  • Oman,
  • Poland,
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tanzania,
  • and Zimbabwe.

Thank you.