United Kingdom of Great Britain and Nothern Ireland

H.E. Ms Karen PIERCE
Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UK Mission to the UN and other International Organisations
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)

21 October 2014

Mr Chairman, Honourable Ministers; Ambassadors; Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of the Republic of Korea for hosting the ITU Plenipotentiary conference and for their wonderful hospitality.
The United Kingdom has been a long-term supporter of the ITU. 

And we are proud to play a major part in the development of telecommunications, starting of course with the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and continuing to the latest innovative developments in spectrum technology and space science today.  

The 21st century has seen developments in telecommunications and broadband services that give people more choice, more freedoms and opportunities of all kinds.  They have opened up new avenues for economic growth and social well-being.

There is still an urgent need to tackle the digital divide.  The ITU has a major role to play here, helping to ensure that all parts of the globe are able to benefit from these services. .

The UK believes this is an opportune time for the ITU to focus on what its future should look like and where it can add the most value. The UK believes that:

The Union's Strategic goals should focus on enabling and fostering  the growth and sustained development of telecommunication networks, application and services, including through innovation, development and fair competition, through projects on the ground to support enhanced connectivity and access, and in sharing best practice in policy and regulation to support this essential telecommunication infrastructure, as well as promoting the use of telecommunication technical/ standards information where needed.

The ITU must engage positively and actively with other organisations involved in ICT issues because in the digital ecosystem there are so many actors with different roles and responsibilities and outlooks.  All stakeholders have to play their part and we would like to see international agencies and organisations working hand-in-hand, making the most of their respective expertise for the benefit of all nations and people.   By focussing on where ITU can bring real additional value, the UK believes it will be better placed to deliver its strategic goals effectively and efficiently.

And we would like to see the ITU proactively make its processes and fora open to all stakeholders, and for information to be made publicly, transparently available whenever possible.  This Union has proved on several occasions, in WTPF 2013 for example, that when it welcomes the contributions of all, its outputs benefit greatly. 
Mr Chairman, on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, I would like to assure you of our strong support to ensure the success of the Union and this Plenipotentiary Conference and to wish you well in your important work over the next few weeks.

I look forward to vibrant debate and discussion in this fascinating city, and to agreeing the final outputs of this conference together with all our friends and colleagues in this hall.

Finally, may I remind everyone that the UK will be hosting a reception on behalf of Malcolm Johnson candidature for ITU Deputy Secretary-General at 12.30 tomorrow (22 October) at the Park Hyatt Hotel. I hope to see you all there.

Thank You.