His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Ruler of Dubai Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates;

Your Excellency, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,

Your Excellencies, Ministers of ITU Member States,

Secretary General of ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao,
Elected Officials of ITU,  

Mr. Tareq Al Awadi, Executive Director of Spectrum of the United Arab Emirates;
Distinguished delegates, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I bring to you warm greetings from the Government and the people of the Republic of Vanuatu, and also allow me, to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government and the generous people of the United Arab Emirates, represented by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), for being such a great host for this great event.

It is an enormous privilege and pleasure to address the gathering here today where deliberations and decisions will be made that influence and affect the development of global ICTs. As the head of the Government of Vanuatu and the Minister responsible for ICT, Telecommunication & Broadcasting, I offer you our great respect and appreciation for the joint efforts of ITU and the member states.

Plenipotentiary 2018 or PP-18 will look beyond the next 4 years and establishing the future direction of ITU in a way that contributes to the co-prosperity of all humanity. In this respect, I believe that we will all share views on current common challenges and policy experiences, thereby strengthening mutual understanding and joint efforts to mitigate these experiences.

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are in the fourth industrial revolution and the age of hyper-connected society where cross border activities and connections become stronger than ever. In such a world, ICT sector development is no longer an individual nation's issue. 

The Vanuatu Government recognizes that ICT, broadband access and connectivity are pivotal levers that can catalyse the achievement of all 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda.  Today, the fact remains that there are still many who have little or no access to broadband or ICT, as we speak. In this respect, we look forward to PP-18, to not only discuss technological and industrial development, but also collectively address the opportunities of expanding the infrastructure and e-services in the developing countries - especially for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who are confronted by the global effects of climate change and severe natural disasters and thereby creating the environment conducive for secure and sound utilization of ICT. We believe that through ICT a common platform can be created to enable SIDS collaborate in addressing common issues faced by this vulnerable group of countries. 

Rapid and accelerating advances in digital technology are poised to become at once both the most promising and the most destabilizing drivers of change for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and many parts of the world. Today, commercial and economic aspects of cyber security are more than just marketplace issues – increasingly, national, regional and international security issues are at stake.

Vanuatu, a developing country and a member of SIDS will fulfil its part in contributing in the discussions and look forward to learning from all the best practises shared in these great gathering of minds. In August of this year, Vanuatu successfully hosted, on behalf of the Pacific Island Countries, the Asia-Pacific region Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) for the first time in Pacific region where a diverse range of discussions on the issues of the internet were held. From July 9th to the 12th of 2019, Vanuatu, on behalf of the Pacific, will host the ITU GSR 2019 meeting on our shores and we welcome all member states of the ITU to our beautiful paradise.

Finally, I take this opportunity to thank those who worked diligently to organize and prepare for a successful ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018.