Every end holds a new beginning.

Today we conclude the 20th Plenipotentiary Conference of ITU’s history, but we begin a four year journey to implement and give life to all the decisions that we made here in Dubai. On this journey, we are determined to continue our efforts to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthen the role of ICT in the service of all humanity.

PP-18 is three weeks of intense work, long hours spent debating complex issues, often long into the night (or should I say morning). But for all of you, like for me, PP-18 started quite some time ago.

In my case, it started with my nomination by my country, the United Arab Emirates. I will be forever in debt to my country for granting me the privilege to represent the UAE in this high-level position and the 1st person comes to my mind now is the DG of TRA H.E. Hamad Almansoori who pushed my nomination for the BOD approval. I hope that I have succeeded in my mission to meet this great honor. Thank you!

We often talk about the ITU family. And we are a big, diverse, and happy family. Look around you! We are all brothers and sisters!

That’s why I want to thank all of you for welcoming me in the family, for treating me as one of yours, and for giving me a tough time!

I would to thank H.E, the ITU Secretary-General Mr. Houlin Zhao, thank you for the trust you placed in me - and for your continuous support. We are all happy to see you at the helm of our Union for another four years.

Also, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Management team: Deputy-Secretary-General Mr. Malcolm Johnson; BR Director Mr. François Rancy; BDT Director Mr. Brahima Sanou; and TSB Director Dr. Chaesub Lee - as well as BR Director-elect Mr. Mario Maniewicz, and BDT Director-elect Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin.

To all the Vice-Chairs of Committee 1: H. E. Mr Robert Strayer, H.E Majid Al-Mazyad; H. E. Konstantin Noskov, Ms. Cristiana Flutur; Dr. Ahmad Reza Sharafat; and Mr. Francis Wangusi – thank you for your support.

I met regularly with the Committee Chairs who did such an outstanding job, as we coordinated closely throughout the Conference. I would like to thank  Ms. Nur Sulyna Abdulla, Ms. Sameera Belal, Ms. Seynabou Seck Cisse, Ms. Rim Belhaj, Mr. Stephen Bereaux, Mr. Dietmar Plesse, and their secretaries; Mr. Nikos Volanis, Mr. John Paul Lovato, Mr. Eric Dalhen, Mr. Antoine Dore, Mr. Catalin Marinescu, Mr. Alassane Ba, and of course the Chairs of the numerous Ad-hoc groups! They showed an excellent team spirit, managing their internal discussions to strive for a consensus that preserves everyone’s interests and achieves their integrated visions.

Now I would like to turn to the Secretariat team that has worked with me since the beginning of the year, here in Dubai and also in Geneva. I would like to express my special appreciation to Béatrice Pluchon and Doreen who’s been at my side at every step of the way. I was also most fortunate to have the support of a dedicated ITU team, Elizabeth, Mardjaneh, Sheila, Arnaud, Karin Donetti, Marco, Preetam, Christopher, Max, Patricia, Isabelle, Daniel the photographer, Monika.  They were all there when I needed them to offer their support, they were truly exceptional. What would I have done without you?

I mustn’t forget all those who have been working behind the scene: the interpreters, translators, captioners, photographers, and the entire media, technical, logistic and security teams.

Yes, let’s give them a big round of applause!

Delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

The ICT sector has never been free of challenges. On the contrary! If I have learned one lesson in my journey in this sector - and as the Chair of PP-18 - it is that the need for performance advancement remains relevant, driven by the world around us.

In fact, the only thing that is constant in life is change. That’s why we must always be ready to adapt to developments, and explore ways to increase flexibility and speed our work mechanisms in ITU and other organizations.

As we’ve seen here over the last three weeks, it is also crucial that we achieve greater cooperation between countries and regions.

Let’s join our efforts to support ITU and its humanitarian goals. These goals are in harmony with the essence of humanity and our aspirations for sustainable development and a decent life.

Let us all work together in the four years to come to make ITU stronger - an ITU that will continue to serve the ICT sector and humanity as a whole.

Thank you.

Al Salamou Alaykom.