Mr Chairman, Your Excellency Wonki Min
Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Toure,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Government of Samoa would like to add its voice to those that have already congratulated you, Chairman, on your election to lead this Conference. You have no doubt a mammoth task to accomplish over the next three weeks and I am confident that you will perform it to the best of your ability.
Similarly, allow me to extend my warm regards and that of my delegation to the Government of the Republic of Korea for a hospitable reception in this great country, and in particular the beautiful city of Busan.
Sāmoa maintains a strong commitment to the ITU and believes in its importance in supporting cooperation across national borders on telecommunications and radiocommunications matters.
Sāmoa continues to participate actively in a number of ITU activities and programmes, especially in our Asia-Pacific region, but more in the Development sector. It is my Government's hope that the ITU will continue to play a pivotal role in the development of Telecommunications.
I am pleased to report that Sāmoa has gone through some major reforms in the communication sector which led to the successful liberalization of telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services in order to broaden access. The Government as a result privatized the state owned fixed line operator, and new legislations facilitated the start of competition in the mobile telephone market, which has also been a success. The fast growth in broadband both through fixed line and wireless systems in Sāmoa, has helped in getting internet access to about 95% of the country.
We truly believe that ICT development has been a contributing factor for Samoa graduating earlier this year, from the LDCs group, to developing country status under UN classification.
Just last month, Sāmoa was honoured to host the third UN international conference on Small Island Developing States. This was a huge challenge for us being a small island developing state, but with good broadband and ICT infrastructure plus reliable international connectivity, in addition to cooperation of service providers, we were able to meet the requirements for the UN and the delegates.
Broadband connectivity and cyber security are two of the areas the Government treats as high priorities. The new Crimes Act 2013 includes a whole section on cyber crime, an issue fast becoming a concern to all citizens, especially with more and more people using social media and networks.
In the area of climate change and disaster risk reduction, Samoa recently launched its national siren network to alert its citizens on tsunamis and major disasters like cyclones and earthquakes.
With ITU assistance, Samoa has now developed a national policy for migration to digital television, and targeting implementation in 2017.
For improving international connectivity, we are doing final negotiations for a new submarine cable connection, for implementation within the next 18 months.
The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference is a key event at which we can all help to shape and secure the future role of the ITU and its ability to support the development of telecommunications worldwide.
For the new Connect 2020 Strategic Plan, Samoa is in full support of the vision that highlights the role of ICTs as a key enabler for social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and development, as well as the four key goals that are part of the Strategic Plan.
I am confident in my mind that ITU will remain responsive to the requirements and needs of its Member States especially its small island states members, including LDCs, in seeking to foster the development of telecommunications worldwide as its commitment to connecting the world.
Before I conclude, let me express on behalf of my Government, our gratitude to the Secretary General Dr Toure, who with the support of the management, has guided our ITU ship over the last eight years, through some calm and rough times. We thank you for your courage, leadership and friendship, especially to us smaller island members. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
I wish all member states a fruitful deliberation during this important conference.
I thank you for your attention.