Mr. Chairman,
Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished delegates,

First, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus delegation, let me express our thanks and gratitude to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this Plenipotentiary Conference in the beautiful city of Dubai and congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election.

It is being recognized that the use of Telecommunications/Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) plays a key enabling role to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. At the same time, Information and Communication Technologies provide new tools with which we can deal with the various social challenges, such as climate change, efficient use of energy, the reduction of carbon dioxide and the ageing population.

Mr. Chairman,

Broadband accessibility should not be a privilege but a right to every citizen. Concrete steps should be taken to overcome the digital divide by meeting the target of 100% coverage. At the same time, we must create a secure flow of information and operation of networks. The establishment of the National Digital Security Authority, this year, in Cyprus, will serve that purpose.

To achieve a truly digital society, we must also promote digital literacy and skills.  In this effort, we need to make sure that nobody is left behind. Particular attention should be paid to the vulnerable groups of society, people with special skills, the elderly, and the poor. For that reason, several training programs aiming in different groups have been developed and implemented in Cyprus.

These challenges are not ahead of us, they are with us and we need to face them urgently. The ITU needs to maintain its leadership in promoting the information society of the 21st century and bridging the digital divide.

Mr. Chairman,

The Republic of Cyprus could not remain inactive in this digital revolution. The use of telecommunications/ICT in all vital sectors of the economy of Cyprus like education, health, tourism, transport and generally in the exercise of every business activity is of paramount importance to the development of Cyprus into a regional service center.

For example, during the years, we have managed to utilise successfully our strategic location for telecommunication purposes, since we are located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. We have developed an excellent satellite and submarine cable infrastructure, which is not only used to connect the Island with its neighboring countries and the rest of the world, but also to transfer traffic between continents.

Our digital strategy is in line with the ITU’s Strategic goals and global ICT targets.  Taking this opportunity, I would like to renew our commitment in working towards the implementation of the Connect 2020 Agenda and the achievement of the five key goals that are part of the proposed 2020-2023 ITU Strategic plan, namely the goals of Growth, Inclusiveness, Sustainability, Innovation, and Partnership.

In closing, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this Plenipotentiary Conference.

Thank you Mr. Chairman,
And thank you all for your attention.