Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

ITU Council 2010: Closing Remarks

22 April 2010, Geneva, Switzerland

Cloud of Words: ITU, Council, forward, Councillors, Member, work, Chairman,...

Mr Chairman,
Distinguished Councillors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are coming to the close of the 2010 Session of the ITU Council. We began our debates last week with a very heavy agenda before us. I am very pleased that we have managed to complete this agenda and that we have achieved this in a cordial, friendly spirit throughout our discussions.

We were honoured to have with us for this Council some Ministers, Deputy Ministers, and Ambassadors.

We were also greatly honoured to have as our Chairman, the distinguished Deputy Director General of India’s Department of Telecommunications,
Mr R. N. Jha.

This session of Council was attended by 330 participants representing 46 Member States of Council, 36 Member State Observers, and 4 Sector Member Observers.

Council 2010 held 16  meetings – 10 Plenary Meetings and 6 meetings of the Standing Committee on ADM – without the need for weekend sessions, night sessions, or indeed votes. It is a tribute to the Council Members that we are able to rely on you to direct the management and functioning of the Union in this way, and to consistently reach consensus.

On a personal level, I was also very pleased to see that so many Members agreed on the growing importance of broadband, and to see so many administrations championing their own national broadband strategy. We are especially encouraged by the support shown for ITU’s role in broadband, particularly in terms of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which ITU is establishing with UNESCO, and which will report to the UN 2010 MDG Summit in September. I am so very grateful to President Kagame for agreeing to Chair this Commission. The commission complements our ‘Build on Broadband’ campaign, which is designed to increase awareness on the vital role broadband will play in the 21st century in every country in the world.

I am also pleased to see that the innovative Council working methods we established a couple of sessions ago continue to bear fruit.

This was our third test for Council to work as far as possible in a paperless environment. And I am delighted to see that for a third time it worked again. Reductions in paper this year amounted to over a kilo of paper per delegate, and we can be proud of this achievement.

Working electronically has again allowed the secretariat to expedite time-to-publication and provide Councillors with quick access to documents and reports.

We also hope that Councillors were satisfied with using USB keys again this session.

We were also pleased to see a number of Councillors taking advantage of the laptops which we made available – please remember to return these before you leave.

This year’s session of Council was also enhanced by a number of Information Sessions concerning some of our flagship initiatives, which we hope you found useful. These included presentations of:

  • the ITU Visitors’ Centre, known as the ICTE;

  • the History of ITU Portal;

  • and the results of our latest experiment on remote participation.

In our eight-day session we reviewed 68 input documents, including 26 contributions from Member States. Eight formal texts were adopted on key issues, and I will just highlight a few of these:

  • Continuation of the work of the Council Working Group for the elaboration of the draft strategic plan and the draft financial plan for 2012-2015.

  • Agreement to hold WCIT-12 in November 2012, back-to-back with the WTSA.

  • Agreement on ITU’s role in ICTs and improving Road Safety.

  • Provisional approval  for a cooperation agreement between ITU and CERN.

Council also agreed:

  • On the principles for the future of ITU Telecom. We look forward to PP-10’s endorsement of a revised Resolution 11;

Council also:

  • Approved its four year report to PP on the activities of the Union;

  • Reviewed preparations for WTDC-10 and PP-10;

  • Advanced in its discussions on the creation of an Independent Audit Advisory Committee and I look forward to the results of FinRegs and PP on this issue.

  • Agreed that a group needs to be created to find a way forward in streamlining the Convention and the Constitution – this is a very positive step for the Union.

  • Agreed the continuation of the work on conformance and interoperability testing, taking account of the extensive views expressed by Councillors.

Looking forward, we have a very busy six months ahead of us as I mentioned during the opening
We have the WSIS Forum here in Geneva staring on 10 May. Straight after the WSIS Forum we will be celebrating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in China, to coincide with World Expo 2010. I am pleased to be able to announce to you today that this year the WTISD awards will be going to His Excellency Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia; to Mr Wang Jianzhou, Executive Director, Chairman and CEO of China Mobile; and to Mr Robert Kahn, President and CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.

From 24 May to 4 June, we look forward to seeing you at the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Hyderabad. This is an event of exceptional importance for the Union.

June will also be marked by the final meetings of the Council Working Groups before PP-10.

And of course in October we will all meet in Guadalajara for the Plenipotentiary Conference. I do not need to stress the importance of this event to you. But I can say how much I am looking forward to helping chart the future role of this great organization. PP-10 promises to be a landmark event – and I can  say that what we achieve in Guadalajara will not just affect the future of ITU and ITU’s work: it will affect the lives of everybody on the planet, in one way or another.

On behalf of all the elected officials, I would like to thank you for your support and hard work during this session of the Council, and I look forward to our continued cooperation.

I would also like to thank the Member States which hosted receptions and other social events during the course of Council.

Our gratitude must also go to the ITU staff, without whom these meetings would be impossible. There are many staff that work behind the scenes to make this all happen, so I would like to extend special thanks to the Corporate Governance Team and to the Conferences Department. Let me publicly thank our staff for all their efforts in the preparations, organization and smooth running of Council.

And in particular let me thank the interpreters: your work is absolutely invaluable.

Finally, Mr Chairman, my congratulations to you. You have steered our discussions with skill and ability. It is now my great honour to present you with the ITU Silver Medal and certificate in recognition of your outstanding leadership of the 2010 Session of the ITU Council.

Thank you.