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Representatives of the civil society,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to address the opening of the WSIS+10 High-Level Event. This year we are meeting to take stock of ten years of multi-stakeholder engagement to help ensure that the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines brings benefits to all parts of society in all parts of the world.
We are rapidly approaching 2015, when the United Nations General Assembly will review progress towards achieving both the WSIS targets and the Millennium Development Goals. In this context, I wish to commend the sustained efforts by all stakeholders throughout the recent busy period of consultations leading up to this High Level Event, using the Multistakeholder Preparatory Platform (MPP).
I would like to thank the ITU, and in particular Dr. Hamadoun Touré, for his commitment, active support and generous hosting of this High-Level Event. Let me also extend my warm appreciation to Professor Minkin for having successfully steered the consultation process over the past several months. UNCTAD furthermore values our collaboration with all the other members of the UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), and in particular the other co-organizers of this Event: UNESCO and UNDP.
The question of developing a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society is central to UNCTAD, for several reasons. Firstly, UNCTAD is the lead facilitator of the action line on e-business, a co-organizer of the annual WSIS Forums as well as the MPP, and a vice-chair of the UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS).
Secondly, UNCTAD provides the substantive servicing of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). Since 2006, the CSTD has been mandated by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to serve as the focal point in the system-wide follow-up to the WSIS outcomes and advise the Council thereon.
Last year, the ECOSOC requested the CSTD to collect inputs from all facilitators and stakeholders and to organize a substantive discussion during its seventeenth session in 2014 on the progress made in the implementation of WSIS outcomes. CSTD was furthermore requested to submit, after its eighteenth session in 2015, the results of its 10-year review of progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit, through the Council, to the General Assembly as it makes an overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit in 2015.
I am happy to inform you that the seventeenth session of the CSTD was concluded last month here in Geneva. Its draft resolution on the assessment of progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes recommends to the ECOSOC that the Commission invite further inputs from Member States, all facilitators and stakeholders, as well as organize during its eighteenth session in 2015 a substantive discussion on its 10-year review report on the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit. The CSTD should then report, through the ECOSOC, to the General Assembly as it makes an overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit in 2015.
In a second resolution, on "Science, Technology and Innovation for Development", the Commission recognized, among other things, the importance ICTs for development. It called upon Governments to promote ICTs through a capability-based approach that rests on the foundations of learning, innovation and competence building systems, and by establishing a conducive environment that attracts and supports private investment, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The outcome documents that are to be adopted at this WSIS+10 High Level Event will serve as valuable inputs to the CSTD's work on the WSIS+10 review, and to the overall review to be conducted by the United Nations General Assembly next year.
Ladies and gentlemen
Harnessing ICTs more effectively is essential not only for UNCTAD's mission of delivering prosperity for but also - more generally - for the promotion of sustainable development. It was against that background that UNCTAD in 2013 supported the UNGIS Joint Statement on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, to ensure that the global development agenda adequately harness the benefits of ICTs. Both of the aforementioned draft CSTD resolutions emphasized the importance of ICTs for development and considers that it should be reflected as appropriate in the post-2015 development agenda.
I believe that the key to success in this area lies in treating ICTs as enablers of development. While affordable access is essential, it is not sufficient. We need to keep the sustainable development goals at the centre of the debate and then consider how to best make use of and tailor the application of different ICTs to accelerate progress towards the various objectives. The means are available. We have the knowledge. The challenge for us all is to apply them in ways that help ensure that benefits go not only to the more affluent but to all.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There are several important occasions to celebrate in 2014. This year we are observing the 10th anniversary of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, a global initiative to enhance the availability and quality of official ICT statistics. UNCTAD is a proud founding member of the Partnership, which was launched at UNCTAD XI in Sao Paulo in 2004. I would like to urge all stakeholders to review the Partnership's Final WSIS Targets Review that will be launched during this High Level Event.
I am also happy to tell you that my organization is celebrating its first 50 years of helping developing countries to integrate beneficially into the global economy. You are all cordially invited to join us for the UNCTAD 50 anniversary-event organized next week at the Palais des Nations, in the presence of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me conclude my opening remarks by encouraging you all to make the best use of this Forum and its discussions to identify constructive approaches to advancing the ICT-related development agenda and to build a mutually-beneficial vision beyond 2015.
Thank you for your attention.