Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

ITU Telecom World 2013

 Opening Ceremony

 Opening Speech

19 November 2013, Bangkok, Thailand

Her Excellency Patience Goodluck Jonathan, First Lady of Nigeria
His Excellency Mr. Lord Tu'ivakano of Tonga
His Excellency Mr Chon Keat of Cambodia
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a real pleasure and a great honour to be with you here today at the Opening Ceremony of ITU Telecom World 2013.

I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the ITU to the royal government of Thailand for their outstanding enthusiasm, support and commitment in bringing this event to the wonderful city of Bangkok for the second time – following the success of ITU Telecom five years ago, in 2008.

I am especially honoured by the patronage and leadershipof Her Excellency the Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, in supporting this event, and by the presence here today of Your Excellency Group Captain Anudith Nakornthap, Minister for Information and Communication Technology.

I am delighted to be able to extend my gratitude to Air Chief Marshal Thares Punsri, Chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission of Thailand,and Mr Nopparat Maythaveekulchai President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, for their invaluable cooperation in this event.

I would like to acknowledge the generous support of China Mobile, both in its role as partner, sponsor and speaker, here at ITU Telecom World 2013, and in its wider commitment to the activities of the Union. Let me extend a warm welcome here to China Mobile’s President and CEO, Mr Yue Li.

I would also like to thank Ooredoo, and in particular His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Thani, present today as sponsor, partner and showfloor exhibitor here in Bangkok, and assisting the State of Qatar next year in hosting the ITU Telecom event in Doha.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Here in Bangkok, we are at the hub of the ASEAN economic region, at the heart of South-East Asia, connected to the thriving continent of Asia and the global economy.

And this is an ideal standpoint from which to explore the nature and implications of the transformation of our rapidly-changing world.

This is the central focus of this year’s ITU Telecom World event: embracing change in a digital world.

The digital world is happening. It is happening fast, and it is happening right here, right now.

It is an extraordinarily exciting and unpredictable time for the communications sector.

ICTs are the backbone of everything, the engine and infrastructure driving the digital revolution – a revolution which brings tremendous opportunities and challenges to our industry, and ultimately to the world.

  • New technologies are helping us to communicate with each other in different ways, changing our behaviour as consumers, and introducing new and influential players into the ICT industry ecosystem.
  • New technologies are leading to convergence between sectors, calling for new approaches to regulation and standardization, and new evaluations of ethical and legal frameworks.
  • New technologies are bringing us network virtualization, big data, machine-to-machine communication, the Internet of Things, and smart solutions.

These new technologies are empowering each and every one of us as end users at the edge of the network, opening up the world, increasingly enabling anyone, anywhere, to innovate, develop and contribute.

The transformative effects across both developed and developing economies cannot be understated, from fields such as education, health and finance to e-government, transport and manufacturing.

Over the next four days we will explore these topics, and discuss the challenges to all of us – as operators, governments, regulators, technology specialists – and the unprecedented potential to reshape the world for the better.

But let us not forget what lies behind the digital revolution: connectivity, whether mobile or fixed, over broadband networks.

Our duty is to ensure that this connectivity, this levelling technology, is brought to all the world's people. And then put to good use.

And let’s not forget, here in hi-tech Bangkok, that most of the world’s people are still unconnected, without access to the wonders and transformative possibilities delivered by broadband access.

In addressing this issue, we all have a role to play, as fellow stakeholders in the ICT industry:

  • Leaders must have the courage to make a difference, to shape policies and investments that spur long-term social and economic development.
  • Regulators must adapt to the new broadband reality, to an increasingly open environment, and to converging industry sectors.
  • Operators must invest in infrastructure, create new services, and develop new business models.
  • Digital thinkers and visionaries – and indeed each of us, as individuals – must consider the social and ethical impact of this new digital reality.

Distinguished guests,

We are at a tipping point in our global society; a tipping point where the pace of technological innovation has the potential to change the world for good – and for the better.

Our discussions here at ITU Telecom World 2013 are an important part of that change, and I am once again grateful to the royal government of Thailand for hosting this event and making this possible

I look forward to addressing these opportunities and challenges with you over the coming days.

Thank you for your attention.