Mr Chairman, Mr. Secretary General, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for this oppertunity to share with the meeting the vision of the Government of the Republic of Suriname. At the last Plenipotentiary in Mexico, we committed ourselves to connect the unconnected. A quick scan on how this intention has materialised in Suriname learns that progress was achieved, but that still a lot needs to be done.
The next hurdle or challenge to overcome is to broaden the access to broadband and providing sustainable and affordable broadband. In this regard we must admit developments are strained. The Government of Suriname has taken the following measures to facilitate the use of broadband which should result in positive effects for the national economy, well-being of the citizens and in a transparent government.
In this we would like to share the following plans:
The digitalization of the Government administration: a national datacenter is being constructed. This datacenter will facilitate the interaction between government entities and the citizen.
Crucial is therefore the modernization of the Government administration which must result in more transparency, efficiency of the services and ultimately in minimizing the gap between the consumer and the government.
For a number of years there were plans to introduce Distance Education. This element is crucial in the long term vision of ICT development in Suriname. This given our topography and the fact that we want to include people living in the hinterland in the national development strategy. It is imperative that we focus on educating not only people living in the coastal areas but ensure that the whole country is covered and that access is nationwide.
In this regard we like to mention the assistance that was received through the ITU for the pilot project National School Connectivity. The ministry of Education together with other national entities created in more than half of the schools at secondary level computer labs, where next to donating devices, free internet was provided to the schools. This will lead to more than 29.000 students having access to modern and high speed Internet and ICT services.
Suriname has also started the process of switchover from analog to digital television. The Government of Suriname underscoring the importance of this process made the decision to launch this process in the interior instead of the capital. So the communities in the interior got the advantage to overcome the lack in access to the advantages of ICT's. It is our intention to finalize the switchover in June 2015.
Suriname supports the ITU's initiatives and partnerships with regard to a safer Internet. Whereas development of this sector leads to tremendous benefits, the negative aspects should also receive equal attention. That is why the development of a national Cybercrime strategy and having the necessary measures in place has our undivided attention. We will make sure that the use of the internet and development of ICT stays positive.
The establishment of a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Suriname in this is crucial. Although stakeholders agreed on the establishment of the CERT, financial commitment was a key issue.
We like to make use of this opportunity to say a special word of thanks to the Secretary General of the ITU, Dr. Hamadoun Touré. He played a pivotal role in the development of the sector in the Caribbean Region and in Suriname. We have fond memories of his interactions and visits to Suriname. We wish him all the success in his new endeavors and are convinced that he will continue to play a role in the development of the global ICT sector.
Suriname continues to count on the support of the ITU in developing the ICT sector to higher levels both nationally but also regionally so that ultimately it leads to a more balanced world.
In closing we would like to thank the government and people of Korea for hosting this conference and for extending the excellent hospitality.
We look forward to fruitful discussions the coming days and hope that by the end of this Plenipotentiary meeting we will have worked out a sound and effective development strategy for the next 4 years.