Dear Secretary General of the ITU,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Republic of Bulgaria has 134 years of traditional relations with the International Telecommunication Union dating back to 1880.
This long period of time is marked by the active participation in the ITU activities. A recognition of the role of Bulgaria in the development of global telecommunications is the fact that Bulgaria has the honour to be part of the structure, which is responsible for decision making between the Plenipotentiary Conferences - the ITU Council - and we highly appreciate this international recognition.
The Republic of Bulgaria was among the initiators of one of the most important activities of the ITU relating to Child On-line Protection. The Bulgarian participation in the research groups in the Telecommunication Development sector for the period 2014-2018 is another example of the high reputation of the country in the field of ICTs. An expression of the efficient cooperation between Bulgaria and the ITU is the successful initiative on electronic accessibility to ICT for blind and visually impaired children and adults with visual impairments.
Another recognition of the role of Bulgaria in the implementation of successful international projects came just a few hours ago. We are really honoured that the UNESCO-UN Project 'Women in African History: an E-Learning Tool', supported by the Government of Bulgaria, has been awarded the first ITU-UN Women Gender Equality Mainstreaming – Technology Award in Category 1 'ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women's Social, Political Empowerment and Women's Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development'. The fact that the project was awarded among 360 nominations is really a source of pride.
Bulgaria is a country with a modern telecommunications infrastructure which meets the requirements of today's digital society. In cooperation with the ITU and other international organisations Bulgaria successfully implemented reforms in the telecommunications sector that resulted in a competitive electronic communications market and the introduction of modern information and communication services of high quality. Bulgaria ranks among the top ten countries in the world with the highest speed of fixed broadband connections. Our goal in this regard is, by means of effective cooperation in the ITU Council, to continue the exchange of useful experience and to assist the overcoming of the digital fragmentation between the regions of the world.
Bulgaria has made a successful transition to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting (DVB-T) and we express our willingness to share the useful experience on the implementation and challenges of the process with other interested ITU Members who are facing this process. Digital inclusion is on the Bulgarian agenda and we will continue our efforts to ensure equitable access for all, regardless of territorial boundaries and cultural differences, corresponding to the modern needs of the digital society.
The experience gained allows the Republic of Bulgaria to contribute to the development of telecommunications and the implementation of programs and initiatives in Region "C" of the ITU, as well as to the continuous improvement of the activities of this leading UN agency.
I Thank U all for being committed to connect the world.