Honourable Ministers,
your Excellencies,
ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to speak on behalf of the United Kingdom at this important meeting

I would first like to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for their warm hospitality and all the work they have done to make this Conference a success.

As many colleagues here have said, information and communication technology is critically important to delivering the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK is proud to be one of the few countries to meet the UN target to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on overseas development aid and we believe that sustainable development should one of the highest priorities for the ITU.

That’s one reason why we are so proud of Malcolm Johnson and the work he does as Deputy Secretary General, making sure that the ITU is able to deliver effectively for all its members.

This is why we are supporting Malcolm’s re-election for his second term to the position of Deputy Secretary General. We respectfully ask for your votes for his election to this position.

The ITU is a great advocate for the role that telecommunications and ICTs play in delivering the Sustainable Development Agenda.

And we believe the ITU can help ensure that the voices of stakeholders from developing countries, and the particular challenges they face, are heard and understood across the sector.

Telecommunications and ICTs have expanded and developed at a tremendous pace over recent years. The regulatory and standardisation landscape has become broader and more complex than ever before.

It can be more difficult now for countries to navigate this complex landscape and to harness the full benefits of innovation.

And it is not possible for one organisation to tackle every ICT issue by itself.

We need the ITU to forge a modern, strategic role in this 21st century landscape.

That means fully recognising the roles of other organisations working in the field of ICTs, supporting Member States to navigate this new landscape and building collaborative partnerships for the common good.

The ITU is at its best when it opens its doors to other stakeholders and builds a spirit of common purpose. The WSIS process is a great example of that.

The ITU provides an important global platform for stakeholders, including governments, to come together and collaborate on a set of common opportunities and common challenges.

We will only find solutions if we work together and learn from one another.

There is an extensive and important agenda for us all to work on, whether it is:

  • supporting an enabling environment to deliver affordable connectivity
  •  ensuring the efficient use of spectrum that allows for innovation 
  • promoting gender equality in telecommunications and ICTs or 
  • responding to natural disasters, such as the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia or the hurricanes in the Caribbean.

I am confident that with the goodwill and with the friendships that exist across the Union, we will make positive progress over the next few weeks.
And I wish everyone a successful Plenipotentiary Conference.
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