Secretary-General Houlin Zhao,
Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson,
Your Exellency Majed Sultan Al Mesmar,
Your Excellency Hamad Al Mansoori,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to give a short speech on behalf of the German government in front of this distinguished audience.

At first I would like to thank you the delegation of the United Arab Emirates for the very warm and hospital welcome.

Since the last Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014, the German Federal Government has undertaken several key measures to foster digitalization both in Germany and abroad.

Last year, Germany took advantage of its G20 presidency to initiate the first digital ministers’ meeting on G20 level. Thereby, the valuable support and input from the ITU was much appreciated!

We adopted a roadmap for the coming years, we initiated the world-wide platform e- Skills4girls to overcome the digital gender  divide and Ministers agreed to connect all  people with broadband networks by 2025.There are around 380 different projects in more than 75 countries where Germany is currently implementing digital solutions.

On national level, digital issues play a crucial part in Germany’s political program as well. The German government is focusing on digital policies to prepare our country for the future.

Digital policies are put into action in cooperation with the business community, social partners, civil society and academia.

For instance, Germany is actively supporting SMEs, the advancement of digital literacy and the expansion of digital infrastructure.

Almost 30 active German Sector Members, Associated Members and scientific and industrial organizations provide technical know-how to various ITU study groups and support German representatives working actively in the present ITU Council.

To be able to continue these initiatives, Germany has renewed its candidature for the ITU Council.

We firmly believe in solving matters efficiently and in an inclusive consensus amongst all members of the ITU.

We will continue our efforts to mediate between opposing points of view on important, but controversial issues to find workable solutions that are acceptable by all members. 

With respect to Internet Governance, Germany supports the multi-stakeholder approach and advocates an open, secure, reliable and truly global Internet.

We see the Internet as a driving force for innovation and social development, it has to stay free of censorship, discrimination and propaganda.

Germany sees the United Nations Internet Governance Forum as the leading multi-stakeholder forum on promoting international cooperation on the Internet.

Germany will host the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin in November 2019.

Nevertheless, we would like to strengthen the ITU by supporting a financial plan for the next four years, which is balanced without withdrawal from the Reserve Account.

We support the assumption of new tasks by the ITU, as long as they are in accordance with the current mandate of the organization.

We support the implementation of the UNIDROIT space assets protocol by accepting an oversight function towards an independent registrar of space assets. That would be a very useful new, responsibility for the ITU.

The ITU is a neutral, highly respected organization of the UN and its expertise in all matters of world-wide satellite regulation is unquestioned. This makes it the ideal organization to assume such an important role.

The space asset protocol can considerably reduce the costs for financing space assets. Thus it will enable new and small satellite operators to access new markets and compete with the powerful incumbents.

It will provide a big step towards fair competition, since the result will be a more reasonable pricing of satellite services.

Consequently, it will open new possibilities for digital services especially in low-income countries with low population density.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope that we will have fruitful discussions during the coming days and that the Plenipotentiary Conference of 2018 will be a great success!