Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

ITU WSIS Forum 2013

 Closing Ceremony

 Closing Speech
17 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As we come to the end of an extraordinary week here in Geneva, I would like to thank you for having joined us for the full five days of the 2013 WSIS Forum.

You have contributed passionately towards enriching the content of the forum, and I am touched to see the commitment and dedication each one of you has put into making it a success.

And what a success it has been.

This year’s forum attracted more than 1,800 WSIS stakeholders from over 140 countries. Many high-level representatives of the wider WSIS stakeholder community graced the Forum with their presence, including more than 60 ministers, deputy minsters and ambassadors, along with CEOs and civil society leaders.

On site participation increased tremendously this year – and we were also joined online by many thousands of remote participants; thanks to each and every one of you.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year’s forum has proven that the WSIS agenda has never been more relevant. We are working together, across all sectors from government to civil society, to achieve progress and to realize our aspirations of a world where everyone is connected and where everyone can benefit from and participate in the digital economy.

This has been a very busy and productive week for all of us. The WSIS Forum hosted more than 150 sessions, including:

  • High-level dialogues;
  • Thematic and country workshops;
  • Showcasing theatres;
  • A ministerial round table;
  • WSIS+10 visioning sessions;
  • World Café style workshops;
  • Interactive sessions;
  • Action line facilitation sessions;
  • WSIS stocktaking sessions; and
  • Meetings of the partnership on measuring ICTs for development.

These sessions covered a huge amount of ground across inter-related yet diverse topics including: ICT infrastructure; cybersecurity; enabling environments; accessibility; capacity building; e-learning; m-health; e-agriculture; and multi-stakeholder approaches to Internet governance.

Indeed, throughout the five days we have enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere for facilitation and exchange and tremendous enthusiasm for building a multi-stakeholder vision of the WSIS process.

High level dialogues with government ministers and representatives from business and civil society examined key strategic issues such as:

  • Women's Empowerment in the Information Society;
  • Smart Climate Change Monitoring;
  • Creating Technology for the Next Three Billion Through Innovation and Development of Technology Standards;
  • Securing Cyberspace in a Borderless World; and
  • How Youth can Shape ICT Policies.

These issues were debated through the overarching theme of the forum, which focused, from differing perspectives, on how ICTs can be a driving force for our post-2015 world.

An exhibition space provided the perfect atmosphere to network, learn and share.

Distinguished delegates,

Along with our co-organizers, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, ITU would like to reiterate that the WSIS Forum is not just a talk shop. Instead it delivers key recommendations and has concrete outcomes.

Indeed, the WSIS Forum 2013 Outcome Document is already available online, compiling the outcomes and recommendations from all the sessions held here this week.

The 2013 edition of ‘Identifying Emerging Trends and a Vision Beyond 2015’ will also be available in the coming days. This publication captures emerging trends identified in each WSIS action line.

In addition, with reference to the outcomes of the WSIS+10 Visioning Track at the 2013 WSIS Forum, we have issued a statement which may serve as an input to further discussions on the Overall Review of the Implementation of the WSIS Outcomes (WSIS+10), including CSTD, UNGA, and membership during the ITU Council.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me say how much I appreciated the participation of so many ministers here at the forum. More than fifty of you have demonstrated that WSIS is close to your hearts and that ICTs remain high on the political agenda and will continue to play a crucial role in tomorrow’s development agenda.

During the week, ministers have encouraged the WSIS process to continue beyond 2015, while emphasizing the importance of the review process. They have also underlined the importance of in-depth evaluation and review, without which it will not be possible to properly define the new vision and objectives for the post-2015 decade.

The outcome of this important meeting is also already available for your reference.

This year’s WSIS Forum also saw the UN Group on the Information Society, UNGIS, endorse a Joint Statement on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. This triggered important discussions on the creation of synergies between the post-2015 and the WSIS+10 processes.

I can proudly say that this years WSIS Forum culminates with strong and renewed commitment and support to the WSIS review process (WSIS+10) – from governments, from the private sector, from civil society, and from international organizations.

Distinguished delegates,

This year’s WSIS Forum has conclusively proved once again that the WSIS process is about commitment, and without constant support it would not be possible to generate the necessary impact or results.

In this context, I would like to invite all of you to contribute to the WSIS Fund in Trust, following the example of several partners who have joined with us in this exercise since 2011.

Let me congratulate them on behalf of all the WSIS stakeholders.

It is my honour to acknowledge our partners and invite them for the Certificate Ceremony, as a token of our appreciation.

Strategic partners:

  • Sultanate of Oman (Government)
  • Intel Corporation (Private Sector)

The forum has also benefited tremendously from contributions from partners for specific activities:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tanzania
  • and Hewlett-Packard

And last but not least, let me also thank the United Arab Emirates for helping us build the Vision for the WSIS Process Beyond 2015.

WSIS+10 Visioning Partner:

  • UAE

Finally, let me thank all the staff who have put such a tremendous effort into making this year’s forum a resounding success – once again you have excelled in your efforts!

Thank you – and I look forward to seeing you all in the same spirit of commitment and enthusiasm next year at the 2014 WSIS Forum and the High Level Event on WSIS+10.

Thank you – and I wish you all a safe journey home.