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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

   UN Commission for Science & Technology for Development (CSTD)

Overall review of the implementation of the WSIS Outcomes (WSIS +10)

22 May 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Distinguished guests,
Dear WSIS Stakeholders,
It is my pleasure to be able to briefly join you for this discussion. Unfortunately, I am not able to stay for the entire duration as I have to catch a plane.

The WSIS+10 review, and the post 2015 WSIS process are extremely important issues to the ITU as well as to all stakeholders.

No one ever would have imagined how the ICT sector has changed our lives since 2005.  Nor would we ever have imagined how applications would develop and revolutionize the way that we do banking, business, education, and even healthcare. 

What about social media?  It is hard to imagine when we finished the WSIS in Tunis in 2005 that Facebook did not exist.  Today there are over 800 million users.  If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the World by population.

Yes the world has changed, and our dreams of “an information society for all, are closer than ever before”.  But with the growth of the industry, new issues have arisen, and new digital divides have been created.  Some of the challenges we are facing are in cybersecurity, child on-line protection, privacy, protection of data, youth inclusion, and multilingualism.

There are new divides being created with women and girls not having the same levels of access.  And also bandwidth divides, with bandwidth not being sufficient or affordable for those in least developed and developing countries.

This is why the WSIS+10 review is so important.  We must identify and address these challenges.

During the Spring 2011 session of the UN Chief Executive Board meeting, I raised the issue of the need to conduct an overall review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes.

The CEB then requested, the UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), under ITU’s leadership, to carry out an open Consultation on the Overall Review, and report back to CEB for endorsement.

The Open Consultation process took place in from May to October 2011, was structured in 6 phases, and benefitted from the participation of all stakeholders - including many of you here.

The open consultation process led to the elaboration of the action plan, consisting of two components:
  1. The first component - proposed expected final outcomes of the overall review process (WSIS+10) including a forward looking document setting the agenda beyond 2015 (negotiated text) as well as series of evaluation reports.
  2. The second component – the proposed preparatory process and meetings within the framework of the overall review up to 2015.  The process builds on close collaboration with CSTD

Following the conclusion of the open consultation process, my own governing body, the ITU Council, took note with satisfaction of the outcomes of the open consultation process and appreciated its multi-stakeholder and inclusive character.  They resolved to support the organization of a high-level event on the Overall Review (WSIS+10) to be held in 2014 in conjunction with the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference. 

UNESCO also reached a decision by its governing body for an event in 2013.  I am sure Amb. Karklins will provide more information.

I had the pleasure of presenting the action plan to the spring 2012 CEB last month here is Geneva.  ITU co-hosted the event with WMO.  The members expressed their full satisfaction and endorsed the document.

During the WSIS Forum last week, topics related to WSIS +10, and WSIS Beyond 2015, were covered in the high level opening segment, plenary sessions, a ministerial round table, action line facilitation meetings, thematic workshops and interactive sessions.

Further to the request of the ECOSOC Resolution (31) on the Assessment of the Progress Made in the Implementation of and Follow-up to the Outcomes of WSIS, I am pleased to report to the CSTD that during the WSIS Forum 2012 we did have Multi-stakeholder consensus on the following: 
  • preliminary indications for a vision beyond 2015
  • templates for the reports of the lead facilitators on the Action Lines
  • templates for the national self-evaluation reporting on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes

This is really a good start and is in-line with the action plan elaborated through the open consultation process. 

As ITU has been tasked by the UN Chief Executives Board to manage this review process, we will do our best, together with all of you to ensure that this process fully corresponds to the real needs of the information society.

We look forward to your discussions here and during ECOSOC, as we lay the ground for the sixty-seventh session of the GA when they consider the modalities for this review process.

I would like to again thank all of you for your engagement and commitment for building a vision for the WSIS review Process, WSIS beyond 2015.

Thank you