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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

   Council working Group on the World Summit on the Information Society   


06 June 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be with you here this morning at the 20th Meeting of the Council Working Group on WSIS.

I would like to begin by giving you a very short briefing on the outcomes of this year’s WSIS Forum, which was held here in Geneva from 14-18 to May. WSIS Forum 2012 proved to be the perfect platform for coordinating the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, in particular the WSIS+10 Overall review on the Implementation of WSIS. I am pleased to announce that the WSIS Forum 2012 concluded in an Outcome Document that is available online.

The Forum attracted more than 1,300 WSIS Stakeholders from more than 140 countries. Several high-level representatives of the wider WSIS Stakeholder community graced the Forum, and more than 35 Ministers and Deputies, Ambassadors, CEOs and Civil Society leaders contributed passionately towards the programme. Among participants there were several senior executives of the private sector and civil society.

I am proud to share with you that ITU ensured remote participation facilities as an integral component of the WSIS Forum, and that over 1,000 stakeholders followed and contributed to the outcomes of the event in a remote manner from all parts of world. The Forum was also followed on social networks through the #wsis hashtag in Twitter and the WSIS Process page on Facebook.

The programme of the Forum consisted of around 150 sessions structured in 20 different types of meetings in 7 parallel streams. Stakeholders not only reported and assessed their own efforts towards the WSIS implementation and follow-up, but also shared their future plans to achieve the targets set in the WSIS+10 plan of action in the WSIS Outcome documents.

As most of you are aware, this year we held a Ministerial Roundtable, where nearly 30 Ministers highlighted their countries’ progress in the implementation of the WSIS goals, while drawing attention to many issues that still need to be addressed. They also emphasized the need for national strategies and further international collaboration towards WSIS +10.

Increasingly, the WSIS Forum provides tangible examples and experience for ensuring that the vision of the WSIS – to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society for all – becomes a reality.

This year, the WSIS Project Prizes were added as a new element to the WSIS Forum, and 18 Project prizes were awarded during the event.

Pursuing the outcomes of the Tunis Agenda, Para 120, the ITU continues to work on the WSIS Stocktaking process providing the means for sharing of information related to the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. The WSIS Stocktaking Report 2012 reflects more than 1,000 recent WSIS-related activities.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to take this opportunity to update you about the WSIS+10 Overall review on the Implementation of the WSIS Outcome.

As instructed by the Council 2011, I presented the WSIS+10 action plan to the spring 2012 CEB session, where the members expressed their full satisfaction and endorsed the document. Consequently, the ITU was tasked by the CEB to play the lead managerial role for the WSIS+10 review process.

I am happy to share that the recent CSTD resolution noted the open and inclusive UNGIS consultation process under the leadership of the ITU, while taking a note of the upcoming 67th session of the UN General Assembly, that is expected to take a decision on the modalities of WSIS+10.

In this context, I would be pleased to report to the UN General Assembly on the results of the open consultation on the overall review of the implementation of the World Summit outcomes and the proposed options for the WSIS+10 preparatory process, which were developed in an open and inclusive format.

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 reported to the CSTD that during the WSIS Forum 2012 we had 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; and
  • templates for the national self-evaluation reporting on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes.

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

As you will recall from our Council session last year, the WSIS+10 action plan calls for a high-level event in 2014.  Council supported this proposal and requested that it be held in 2014 in conjunction with the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference. 

You will also recall that the proposal for a high-level event in 2014 was made to avoid organizing a second Summit in 2015.  All efforts should be dedicated to the MDG Summit in 2015.

I would encourage you during this meeting under the good guidance of our Chair, Mr. Minkin, to brainstorm on the 2014 event, and ways to ensure it is recognized at the next General Assembly session when they decided the modalities for the review process.

But more importantly, I invite you to consider the outcome of the 2014 event.   Should it be a Declaration? A new Action Plan? A proposal for ICTs to be a sustainable development goal? A statement of principles?  I look forward to your ideas.

Thank you.