Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

Mobile World Congress
Leadership Summit and Government Mobile Forum

15 February 2010, Barcelona, Spain




Words cloud: mobile, climate, positive, consumption, Copenhagen, succeed...


Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here with you this morning – and in particular to be given an opportunity to say a few words about the most important issue facing every single one of us: building a sustainable future.

My organization, ITU, takes this matter very seriously indeed – especially in the light of the recent Copenhagen conference.

Many of us – all of us here in this room today, I am certain – had hoped that COP15 would deliver a fair, ambitious and binding treaty.

That we achieved less than we had hoped in Copenhagen, is of course a disappointment – and it means that we must now try even harder than before, and use every ounce of our influence to move the debate forward.

So that we go to COP16, in Mexico, with real progress made and with a much better chance of success next time.

By nature, I am an optimist. And as an optimist, I am positive that we can succeed.

So we should look at Copenhagen not as the end of a process, but the beginning of a new era. An era where we are making positive efforts to limit emissions and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The mobile industry has a huge role to play. Some time later this year we will surpass the five billion mark for mobile cellular subscriptions. And we know that mobile phones, like ICTs in general, have a positive effect on the environment – limiting unnecessary travel, for example, or making working practices more efficient.

But we must also do everything we can to ensure that mobile devices – and mobile networks – are themselves as ‘green’ as possible, with reduced energy consumption. Lower consumption of precious raw materials. And less waste. 

New standards being developed within ITU – such as those for the Next-Generation Networks which will deliver the vast majority of mobile backhaul capacity in the future – can reduce network and data centre power consumption by up to 40%.

And the universal charger – which was championed by GSMA and has just been globally standardized by ITU – will deliver a 50% reduction in standby energy consumption, eliminate up to 80,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 13 million tonnes annually.

As the Secretary-General of ITU, the UN specialized agency dedicated to ICTs, I am firmly committed to pursuing every possible avenue which will lead to reduced emissions and a greener planet.

And I am very much aware of the need for partnership and cooperation if we are to succeed. We are therefore being proactive at ITU in reaching out to other organizations which we feel share our values and goals in the area of climate change – and this of course includes bodies such as the GSMA.

Working together – to spread the word and convince both politicians and the general public about the need for ambitious and urgent climate action – we can achieve so much more than we can by working alone.


So let’s not waste any time. Let’s get to work now, in February, because we certainly can’t afford to wait until COP16 is upon us at the end of the year.

Thank you.