ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014, Busan, South Korea, 20 October to 7 November 2014
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
UK Statement delivered by Ambassador Karen Pierce at the Plenipotentiary Conference on 21 October.
Mr Chairman, Mr Secretary General and distinguished colleagues:
On behalf of the United Kingdom, I would like to add my voice of congratulations to the Government of the Republic of Korea for hosting the ITU Plenipotentiary conference and for their extraordinarily generous hospitality. I’d also like to join other speakers in congratulating the Secretary General for his inspirational leadership. We were grateful in particular for his remarks at the opening plenary on ITU’s support in tackling the Ebola crisis.
Mr Chairman, the United Kingdom has been a firm and long-standing supporter of the ITU.
We are proud to play a major part in the development of telecommunications, from the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 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. Importantly, they have opened up new avenues for economic growth and social well-being.
This means there is urgent need to tackle the digital divide, and many speakers have drawn attention to this in their interventions so far. 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. In particular, I would like to highlight 3 key themes:
Firstly, the ITU’s Strategic Goals should focus on enabling and fostering the growth and sustainable development of telecommunication networks, application and services. Such work includes innovation, development and fair competition; projects on the ground to support enhanced connectivity and access, and sharing best practice in policy and regulation. This will all help support essential telecommunication infrastructure, as well as promoting the use of telecommunication technical and standards information where needed.
Secondly, the ITU should engage positively and actively with other organisations involved in ICT. 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 Lastly, 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, given these goals, the UK has the honour to present the candidacy of Mr Malcolm Johnson for Deputy Secretary General. We believe that his strong record of achievement on behalf of all ITU’s members befits him for this important role working with the new Secretary General.
On behalf 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.