Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 (WTDC-14)

 Closing ceremony

 Closing Remarks

02 May 2013, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
H.E. Mr. Chin Bun Sean, Secretary of State, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia (MPTC),
Excellencies Secretaries of State, MPTC,
Excellencies Undersecretaries of State, MPTC,
H. E Mr. Chakrya Moa, Chairman of TRC
Mr. Toshiyuki YAMADA , Secretary General, Asia Pacific Telecommunity,
Mr. Brahima SANOU, Director of the BDT,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

What a remarkable Regional Preparatory Meeting in view of the World Telecommunication Development 14 in Sharm el-Sheikh this has been.

In the space of just a few days, you have presented each other with a wide variety of priority areas and topics for the further development of telecommunications in this wonderful part of the World, Asia and the Pacific.

In the short time at your disposal, you have demonstrated a great sense of purpose and dedication, by crafting a strategic framework that will no doubt be a very important and meaningful contribution to the WTDC next spring.

I have followed your debates with great interest. And let me tell you: I was very impressed by the steep learning curve, if I may say so. You have quickly found the key to the secrets of strategic planning, thanks to pertinent interventions and pointed questions. And you you gave it all by breaking out into Ad Hoc Groups when this was necessary. You have not spared yourselves from long hours and tough ground work.

And it was worth it. You cracked it by listening TO each other, debating WITH each other, ultimately AGREEING ON what you can agree, rather than disagreeing on what you can not agree. For that, I am very grateful to all of you.

All of this would not have been possible without thorough preparations. Your own to start with, as you have prepared not less than 35 written contributions. But especially also the preparations by our Host Country, Cambodia. From the warm welcome at the airport to the utterly generous hospitality throughout our long working days here, from rich breakfast buffets during the coffee breaks to spectacular Gala dinners with acrobatic dancers.

Let me wholeheartedly thank the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister and you, Mr. Chairman, for a truly masterful hosting and conduct of the RPM for the Asia-Pacific region 2013. We hope to come back very soon to this country of smiles, human touch and … sense of humour.

As the event is now drawing to a close, let us briefly look at the challenges ahead of us. As we continue to prepare for the next WTDC, I urge you to be resolutely forward-looking and to keep asking yourselves tough questions:

What concrete actions should policy makers take in order to create the right environment that can lead to sustained economic growth grounded in the rich soils of the ICT sector? How can regulatory authorities ensure that regulation moves in tandem with technological advancements?

What can the private sector do in order to contribute to the efforts of government in continuous infrastructure development, particularly broadband? How can ICT transform the productive structures so that they generate more growth, especially in those countries that are less developed within the same region?

How can ICT bring all the potential benefits to countries while we filter out the dirt associated with these technologies such as fraud, spam, and others? What are the new forms of SMART Partnerships that could be forged to benefit countries and their populations?

How can ICT help countries to attain the Millennium Development Goals and post 2015 development challenges? How can ICT help change people’s lives for the better?

These and other important issues will be further discussed at ITU’s next major events in the Asia-Pacific region this coming autumn. We are honoured to have the opportunity to hold ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok from 19-22 November 2013. This will be immediately preceded on 18 November by the one-day Connect Asia-Pacific Summit at the same venue.

These events are a platform for high-level representatives from across this booming region, as well as across the globe, to come together to network, share knowledge, collaborate and create real change. The Connect Summit will present an opportunity for the countries in the region to make a political statement that demonstrates that the private sector, industry, and development partners are open to (ICT) business.

As part of the preparations, ITU will consult with the Membership and support them as they develop bankable projects that will be presented to potential partners and investors at the Summit. A platform will also be provided for bilateral negotiations and concluding win-win agreements. ITU will of course be there to facilitate the exchanges. 

We are expecting Heads of State and Government and I would like to encourage you to ensure participation by your country at the highest level. The feedback that we have received so far indicates that this will be a Summit which can make a difference.

As regards ITU Telecom World 2013, its theme is "Embracing Change in a Digital World", focusing on five key topics: changing user behaviour, shifting industry dynamics,  the need for radical new business models, new technologies and the need for new regulatory and standardization approaches. Creativity, innovation and key regional investment opportunities from countries around the world will be on show within our National Pavilions.

Through all its activities, showcases, debates and conversations – be they in the forum, on the showfloor or at networking events – ITU Telecom World 2013 will have the power to make a real impact, both to the future of the industry and to the future well-being of the world's citizens.

I thank you.