Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

   ITU WSIS Forum 2012 

Impact Partners Meeting 

17 May 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be with you here this morning, and I would like to thank Gilbert Noel Ouédraogo, the Minister of Transport of Burkina Faso, for accepting the invitation to co-chair this important meeting with me.

Minister Ouédraogo is here representing President Blaise Compaoré, who took over as the Chairman of IMPACT’s International Advisory Board last October, and we are very grateful for his participation in this shared enterprise.

President Compaoré takes over from former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who served as founding Chairman of the IAB.

As the new Chairman, President Compaoré will guide the activities and direction of the IMPACT IAB, and brings a vast experience in telecommunications and international relations to the role. He will continue to spearhead global efforts to bring governments, industry, academia and international organizations together in the fight against cyberthreats.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Everyone recognizes 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.

But we would not be here together in this room today if we did not also recognize clearly that hyperconnectivity has brought with it risks and disadvantages, too.

We are all 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.

The global nature of cyberthreats poses challenges which can only be addressed through international cooperation by acknowledged experts and representatives from organizations to enhance the global community’s capabilities in dealing with those threats.

And this of course is what ITU-IMPACT is all about.

Distinguished colleagues,

ITU-IMPACT has achieved a lot in a very short space of time – thanks to your expertise and your commitment.

Within the international community, ITU-IMPACT has dramatically increased its role and is now deploying relevant and important services for the 140 Member States who are ITU-IMPACT partners.

The MoU signed in May 2011 enabled IMPACT to act as the implementer of  ITU activities aimed at enhancing cybersecurity in Member States and others, with the expertise, facilities and resources to effectively enhance the global community’s capability and capacity to prevent, defend against, and respond to cyberthreats.

IMPACT is also now assisting the UN Family in delivering services that help several organizations to respond properly to cyber attacks.

Recently, with strong support from the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU-IMAPCT has initiated a project 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 we are looking for partners to make sure that all LDCs will be properly assisted.

IMPACT partners have already made great progress in promoting the ITU-IMPACT endeavour. As global threats continue to grow, and the international community continues to face new challenges, I am convinced that together we will be able to strengthen the capacity of ITU-IMPACT in developing new initiatives, enlarging expertise, and enhancing the security of cyberspace.

I look forward to working together towards a constructive dialogue and receiving your assistance in implementing projects and activities moving forward.

I am confident that IMPACT partners will play a key role in enhancing the collaboration between IMPACT and various stakeholders internationally to improve the quality of services provided to countries.

At a time when IMPACT needs to expand its credibility at the international level, we call upon your support and dedication to better achieve our goals, and assist the global community in implementing new services and projects.

As I said on Tuesday, 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