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Global Symposium for Regulators 2016 (GSR-16)

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao​

GSR-16 : Opening Remarks

12 May 2016, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

His Excellency Yasser ElKady, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Chairman of the Board of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and GSR-16 Chairman;

Eng. Mustafa Abdul Wahed, Acting Executive President of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Egypt;

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to welcome all of you to the 2016 Global Symposium for Regulators.

I would like to start by thanking the Government of Egypt and the National Telecommunication Authority of Egypt (NTRA) for hosting this edition of GSR, held under the auspices of H.E. Abdel Fatah El Sisi, President of the Republic of Egypt. With GSR-16 we are celebrating our long standing cooperation.

GSR has become the world's largest platform for the ICT regulatory community where, every year since 2000, we have come together to discuss policy and regulatory challenges, opportunities and best practices. 

As you know, there are many ways in which ICTs can make the world a better place. In today's world creating the conditions for a data-driven economy to flourish is a must, so getting the regulatory environment right is absolutely vital.

GSR-16 is of particular importance as it is the first Symposium since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise referred to as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ICTs are the foundation upon which economic and social development can grow.

ICTs have incredible potential to improve development outcomes in both the developing and the developed world. All three pillars of sustainable development – economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection – need ICTs as key catalysts, and ICTs will be absolutely crucial for achieving the SDGs

This GSR will allows regulators, policy makers, industry leaders and other key ICT stakeholders to share their views, engage in interactive discussions and identify best practices moving forward, not only in the ICT/telecommunications sector, but also in terms of how ICT/telecommunications interacts with other regulation.

There is no doubt that GSR-16 is the place where we can hold an inclusive dialogue, develop innovative solutions and foster an enabling environment to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The successful Global Dialogue on Digital Financial Inclusion held yesterday confirms today's need for collaboration across the sectors. 

ITU is expanding its horizons to support the timely attainment of the SDGs and this is why the topical subject of digital financial inclusion has been included in the agenda of this year's Symposium.

I would also like to congratulate the Telecommunication Development Bureau. Under the Director of the Bureau, Mr Brahima Sanou, this event continues to grow in influence worldwide and has become the unmissable annual gathering of the global policy and regulatory community.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Before I conclude, let me invite you to three important gatherings, organized by ITU, taking place this year:

The World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS) will be in Botswana from 21 to 23 November 2016. WTIS has evolved to become the main global forum for telecommunications and information society measurement. The event provides a unique platform for ICT data users and producers to meet and share knowledge and best practices, identify business opportunities and enhance cooperation.

I thank you for your attention and wish you a successful GSR: be empowered, be included!