Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

ITU Telecom World 2013

Forum Opening Conversation

 Panelist Remarks

19 November 2013, Bangkok, Thailand

Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is real pleasure and a great honour to join you for the ‘Forum Opening Conversation’ at ITU Telecom World 2013.

The central theme of this event is ‘Embracing change in a digital world’ – and what a world of opportunity it is.

Since ITU Telecom was last held here in Bangkok, five years ago, mobile cellular penetration in the Asia-Pacific region has grown from 46.6% to 88.7%. The number of Internet users in the region has doubled, from 612 million to 1.27 billion. And there are now 900 million active mobile broadband subscriptions in the region.

The mobile revolution, the Internet revolution and the mobile broadband revolution are driving incredible changes across society, across every aspect of our working lives, across our entertainment and information sources, and across government services and transportation.

Broadband has become an essential pre-requisite for social and economic development throughout the world, connecting the unconnected, and empowering the disenfranchised.

The advances that broadband has made possible – and its potential to improve lives – are truly tremendous. So we must make sure that we connect the disconnected, in every far corner of this region, and in every corner of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we are all aware, the ICT sector is undergoing a major transition.

New technologies; low-cost processing, storage and communication capabilities; software-defined networks; IPv6; data analysis developments: all these and more are transforming the ICT sector.

As end-users, we are changing too: communicating in new and different ways; using, consuming and generating ever more data; becoming producers of content, not just consumers. We are in the driving seat more than ever before.

All this change raises many serious questions – including questions around privacy, data protection and cybersecurity.

  • We need to ensure we have regulatory and legal frameworks which are able to support all stakeholders, including industry, government and individuals alike.
  • We need to develop new business models, enter into new alliances, partner across public and private sectors, and co-operate across nations and across regions.
  • And we need to make sure that all the world's people can benefit from the unprecedented promise of the new digital world.

This is a time when whole communities, whole nations, can leapfrog ahead to enjoy fresh opportunities in education, health, business and government through the power of new technologies.

This is truly a time to embrace the changes – and our debates here at ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok are a unique opportunity to do so.

Thank you.