Committed to connecting the world


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

   ITU WSIS Forum 2012 

High Level Dialogue - The Governance of Cyberspace and Cyberpeace


15 May 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be with you here this afternoon for the High Level Dialogue on the Governance of Cyberspace and Cyberpeace.

I am honoured to be part of this very important panel and to be able to address one of the most important topics of our time – which is the issue of cyber criminality and the illicit use of information and communication technologies, ICTs.

We all recognize the importance of ICTs in the 21st century. ICTs are part of everything we do in the modern world, and will continue to play an ever-increasing role in social and economic development as we move forward.

Already there are more than six billion mobile cellular subscriptions, and more than 2.4 billion people are online. We are also rapidly seeing devices interconnected with one another, and it is predicted that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

For this reasons, ITU is committed to undertake the Least Developed Countries projects with the aim to implement diverse activities and provide concentrated assistance to LDCs in order to help them develop a secure and safe national infrastructure.

Unfortunately, however, hyperconnectivity has not come without risks and disadvantages – and I think we are all well aware of the growing issues of cybersecurity and cybercrime, which already take a huge toll on the global economy:
  • In online fraud, identity theft, and lost intellectual property;
  • On governments, companies and individuals around the world;
  • Inflicting damage on the innocent, on the vulnerable, and on our children.

We need to address these issues, because in the world today everything depends on ICTs – and particularly on the networks which underpin them.

This includes emergency services; water supplies and power networks; food distribution chains; aircraft and shipping; navigation systems; industrial processes and supply chains; healthcare; public transportation; government services; and even our children’s education.

The misuse of ICTs therefore helps undermine trust and presents serious risks for the governance of cyberspace.

We therefore need to act – and we need to act fast – to set up new strategies to ensure cyberpeace at national, regional and international levels.

I am firmly convinced that building an international framework for cybersecurity – with key, high-level principles, such as international cooperation – is vital to ensure cybersecurity and the correct governance of cyberspace.

Governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society are now called upon to develop the implementation of international norms and principles that will lead to a sustainable and proactive culture of cybersecurity, building on national, regional and international efforts.

Promoting access to ICTs and ensuring the right to communicate needs to go hand in hand with ensuring cyberpeace and minimizing the illicit use of ICTs.

However, over many years now, ITU has been using the Global Cybersecurity Agenda to advocate for coordinated multi-stakeholder action at the global level, and is working with members and partners to find better ways of ensuring that cyberspace is a safe and peaceful environment.

A good example of this is the project which has been initiated by the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, together with ITU-IMPACT, to enhance the cybersecurity capacity, capability, readiness, skills and knowledge of the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries, the LDCs.

ITU has made available half a million Swiss Francs for this project, and is looking for partners to make sure that all LDCs will be properly assisted.

I personally hope that we will see strong commitment by all the relevant stakeholders to agree on common standards, international norms, and principles which will enable different players to prevent the illicit use of ICTs and respond appropriately when they are mis-used.

We have the potential for a brighter future than any generation in human history. So let’s seize that opportunity and create a world – a cyber world – where that future can be realized!
Thank you.