RCC, Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications

RCC, Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications

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Regional Commonwealth in the field of

Communications (RCC)

Tuesday 23 November 2010
Baku, Azerbaijan

43rd session of the Board

of the communications Administrations Heads

Houlin Zhao

Deputy Secretary-General,
International Telecommunication Union

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

  • It is a great pleasure for me to be with you here in Baku today, for the 43rd session of the Board of the Heads of the Communications Administrations of the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications.
  • I am very grateful to the host of this important event, H.E. Mr. Abbasov, Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan Republic, for having invited me to visit Azerbaijan.
  • This invitation provided an excellent opportunity for me to get acquainted with Azerbaijan, one of the most dynamically developing countries of the CIS region. The country is progressing seriously – I have seen many evidences to this fact since the moment my plane landed, on my way from the airport – roads, property developments, oil derricks.
  • ICT sector in Azerbaijan, including mobile services, broadband, Internet technologies, is also experiencing dramatic growth. And this growth takes place in a competitive environment. It means that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan Republic has chosen the right policy of ICT market regulation and creation of proper conditions for the equitable access for the players to the market.
  • Many initiatives of the Republic of Azerbaijan are directed towards the future of the country and the region – I mean the national satellite programme and the initiative on creation of a super back-bone connecting South-East Asia and Europe, via Azerbaijan. This initiative was presented during ITU TELECOM World – 2009 in Geneva, where Azerbaijan has taken part for the first time with its national Pavilion. I was plased to note that H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, visited the Pavilion, and I was honoured to accompany the President of Zimbabwe to visit the Pavilion.

Distinguished guests,

  • Bearing in mind that I am now at the meeting of the Board of the Heads of the Communications Administration of the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications, I would like to thank the RCC Director-General, Mr. Mukhitdinov, for his invitation. I would take the profit of this opportunity to express my thanks to H.E. Mr. Igor Shchegolev, the Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the RCC Board, as well as the Heads of all RCC Communications Administrations, for your valuable support in my re-election to the post of Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, and to extend to you all on behalf of Dr. H. Touré his gratitude for your support to his second term as Secretary-General of ITU.
  • CIS region is one of the most important regions of the world with vast territory, great economic, technical, human resources, and scientific potential. This region is also a fast-changing region in ICT development. In introduction of new technologies, in mobile technologies in particular, many countries have reached 100% coverage. These are Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan. Belarus, Azerbaijan and some other countires are approaching this index.
  • It is also important to mention the successful outcomes of “Connect CIS” Summit held in Minsk, Belarus in November 2009 as well as the participation of CIS countires (Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine) in ITU TELECOM World 2009 – I really appreciate this.
  • In honour of World Statistics Day – 20.10.2010 – ITU released new data, statistics and analysis in a publication called ‘The World in 2010: ICT facts and figures’. The publication revealed that the number of Internet users worldwide doubled in the past five years, and will surpass the two billion mark in 2010. The number of people having access to the Internet at home has increased from 1.4 billion in 2009 to almost 1.6 billion in 2010.
  • What is particularly interesting is that 162 million of the 226 million new Internet users in 2010 will be from developing countries, where Internet users grow at a higher rate.
  • Nonetheless there is still a significant digital divide between the developed and the developing world. By the end of 2010, 71% of the population in developed countries will be online, compared to 21% of the population in developing countries. In developed countries, 65% of people have access to the Internet at home, whereas this is the case for only 13.5% of people in developing countries – this means that Internet access in schools, at work and public locations in these countries is critical. Regional differences around the world are also significant: 65% of Europeans are on the Internet, compared to only 9.6% of Africans, for example.
  • Broadband has become a major focus recently, with the ITU Secretary-General’s establishment, in partnership with Mrs Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
  • The focus of the Broadband Commission is to explore and encourage ways to rollout broadband to the world, especially to developing countries. The Broadband Commission is co-chaired by Mr Carlos Slim and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
  • The power of broadband to help meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is now widely recognized. The Broadband Commission held successful meetings in Geneva on 11 July and in New York on 19 September, and submitted a report at the second meeting to Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of United Nations, just ahead of the 2010 MDG Summit.

Distinguished guests,

  • As you know, from 24 May to 4 June 2010, in Hyderabad, India, the World Telecommunication Development Conference took place. The Conference identified strategic objectives of the Development Sector for the next four years and adopted Resolution 25 on Regional Initiatives. It is with satisfaction that I can note that regional initiatives of your region approved by WTDC-06 in Doha, Qatar, have been implemented in general or are being completed. I am sure that future cooperation in the region will be successful as well.
  • Please allow me to give you an update from the recent ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, which was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 4 to 22 October.

-Sound strategic and financial plans were approved for the period from 2012 to 2015.

-Many important resolutions were agreed in Guadalajara, including specific resolutions on: Accessibility; ICTs and climate change; Measures to help prevent the illicit use and abuse of telecommunication networks; e-Health, Conformance and interoperability; Emergency communications and humanitarian assistance; Electronic meetings; ITU Telecom Events, and many more.

-Delegates also opened up the way for the participation of academia in the Union’s work, and made it easier for Sector Members from developing countries to participate.

-They also agreed to give free online access to all ITU Recommendations to members of the public – as well as to ITU members of course.

-And last but not least, last minute compromises were brokered on a number of key Resolutions on Internet issues, from IPV6 to Internet governance, which strengthens and underlines our commitment to work with the Internet community in extending the benefits of the Internet to all global citizens.

  • We have made a great deal of progress in the three years since ITU launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda. Indeed, since its launch, this initiative has attracted the support and recognition of leaders and cybersecurity experts around the world. His Excellency Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, and His Excellency Dr Óscar Arias Sánchez, Former President of the Republic of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Laureate, are both Patrons of the Global Cybersecurity Agenda.
  • In 2008, we also launched, within the framework of the GCA, the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, which was established by ITU and other stakeholders as an international collaborative network for action to promote the protection of children online, worldwide. A new phase of concrete activities for ITU’s Child Online Protection initiative marking the transition from strategies to action will encourage the development of national COP centres, awareness campaigns and community forums to create a safe environment for young users of the Internet. The new COP Global Initiative was announced on 17 November 2010 by H.E. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica and ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun Touré, at a ceremony in Costa Rica. It will provide a framework for coordinating existing global efforts and implementing a series of safety training and prevention activities. We invite you to join this effort and to contribute to this fundamental cause that will benefit the future of our children.
  • ITU has also developed toolkits on issues such as Cybercrime and Cybersecurity to assist its Members, especially developing countries.
  • I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation on behalf of the Secretary-General and the Elected officials for the very constructive contributions of RCC Members to PP-10.
  • In 2011, ITU will host WSIS Forum in May and the ITU Telecom World 2011 in October to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ITU Telecom Events. ITU was pleased with the very good participation of RCC Members at Telecom 2009 as well as the WSIS Forum in the past. We are looking forward to your continuous support to the WSIS Forum 2011 and Telecom 2011.

I wish you a successful meeting.