Nepal (Federal Democratic Republic of)

H.E. Dr Minendra Prasad RIJAL
Ministry of Information & Communications

22 October 2014

Mr. Chairman

Hon'ble Ministers and Vice/Deputy Ministers
Secretary General Dr. Hamadoune Toure
Distinguished delegates

At the outset, I wish to extend to you all my warm greetings on behalf of the people and Government of Nepal.

I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election as the Chair of the conference and assure you of my delegation's full support in discharging your important responsibilities.

We express our sincere thanks to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for the conference.

We reiterate our full support and commitment for the proposed Vision of ITU and its associated Connect 2020 framework that comprises growth, sustainability, inclusiveness, partnership and innovation.

Mr. Chairman,

Nepal is undergoing a political change. We are in the process of promulgating a new constitution that needs to address the increasing development aspirations of the people in an inclusive manner.

We believe that the transformative potentials of telecommunications, ICTs and broadband connectivity can be leveraged for sustainable development of countries like Nepal. Our experience shows that ICTs, that have intimate link to development agenda, can easily garner political support and priority. Nepal has extensively utilized the huge repository of knowledge and information that ITU has been producing. Nepal's policy, legal, regulatory and  operational frameworks have been largely guided by the global reform trends that ITU has been publishing since 1990s.

Having established a strong policy, legal and, regulatory framework of the telecommunications sector in the late 1990s, we have already begun the process of formulating a comprehensive and coordinated ICT policy and e-strategy. In line with the targets set by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the formulation of the National Broadband Policy, Plan and program for the development of National Broadband Network are in the final stage of completion. We have been closely monitoring the WSIS targets including the outcome of the WSIS+10 process and are committed to achieving its goals.

As of mid July 2014, the overall tele-density stands at about 93 % whereas the Internet penetration is only about 33%. It is realized that we need to make special efforts to increase the internet penetration particularly broadband penetration. It is expected that the implementation of the proposed National Broadband Policy, plan and National broadband networks will help expedite the increase in the broadband penetration and subsequent adoption of e-applications and services in all the sectors of socio-economic development of the country in a sustainable manner.

E-government Master Plan has been developed with the technical assistance of the Government of Korea and is being implemented through projects including but not limited to-development of Government Representative Portal, National Identification System ,e-authentication, EA (Enterprise Architecture),e-Customs, e-Educational Administration System, Immigration Management System ,e-Tax ,e-Procurement, National Unified Code System Development etc.

In line with ITU's new public-private partnership effort to promote broadband school connectivity to serve both students and the communities in which they live, through "'connect a school connect a community' program, Nepal has developed

" ICT in Education Master Plan 2014-2018" aiming at connecting government schools through broadband connectivity among other things. E-Health and m-health strategies has been developed through the technical assistance of ITU and different programs are being implemented. National Emergency Telecommunications Plan ,Guidelines on Erection of Antenna Structures and Protection from Non - Ionizing Radiation from Radio Base stations, Guideline on  prevention and control on Health Hazard due to Wireless Communication,, Vulnerability assessment of the BTS towers and retrofitting guidelines, , National strategy for "Making ICT and Mobile Phones Accessible for Persons with Disabilities" have been prepared and are being consulted with the stakeholders. With the technical assistance of ITU we have also developed the analog to digital switchover roadmap and the process has already begun.

In line with the international best practices, we are continuously aligning our national policies and strategies including legal and regulatory frameworks. In all these efforts, we acknowledge the continuous support and cooperation of ITU and hope that this will be enhanced in the days to come. I also recall our collaboration with multilateral donor agencies like World Bank and Asia Development Bank for the development of Telecommunications/ICT sector in Nepal.

Based on our own experience, we emphasize the importance of linking ICTs with the overarching development goals and further underscore the need for special policy and regulatory interventions at the global, regional and national levels to  to bridge the increasing digital divide as well as ensuring public confidence in the cyber space. This effort requires partnerships and innovation at all levels.

To conclude, I express full commitment of my delegation to engage constructively during the next three weeks. I hope our deliberations will help us develop a roadmap for achieving the Connect 2020 Vision. I wish the conference all success.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.