Mr. Chairman,
Delegates, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 20th Plenipotentiary Conference of our history has come to an end. And after three weeks of hard work, we are happy to see happy faces in this room!

PP-18 is an important success not only for the world of information and communication technology, but for all the people and communities you represent.

PP-18 gives us a new Strategic Plan and a new Financial Plan, with bold and ambitious targets for our Union for the next four years. Growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation, and partnership will guide our strategy and the development of ICT going into the next decade. These principles will guide ITU’s key role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so that no one, anywhere, is left behind.

PP-18 gives us a new leadership team.

I am grateful for the trust and marvellous support you showed me by re-electing me to a second term. You made history by electing Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin as the first woman on the ITU Management team. And I wanted to congratulate the other members of our team, Mr. Malcolm Johnson and Mr. Chaesub Lee for their re-election and Mr. Mario Maniewicz for his election. I look forward to working with all of you!

Dear delegates,

On behalf of the new team, I can assure you that we will do our best to implement the new Strategic Plan and Financial Plan, further improve ITU’s efficiency, transparency, and openness - and deliver our services to meet your expectations and beyond. I am very pleased that the new team has already begun discussing new  efficiency issues. 

We sincerely thank you for your leadership, your encouragement, and your support! And we count on you for the next four years!

PP-18 gives us a new ITU Council. I congratulate the members on their re-election and election and look forward to working with them.

And PP-18 gives us a new Radio Regulations Board.  We now have three women sitting on the Radio Regulations Board.

For the first time in the history of ITU, 4 out of 7 Committee Chairs at the Plenipotentiary Conference were women. I wish to congratulate women on their remarkable achievements at this conference. We are pleased to see that the percentage of women delegates in Dubai was close to 30%, mindful that there is still a lot of progress to be made. I hope this is a tipping point for women in the ITU family and ICT sector.

PP-18 gives us a series of important new Resolutions and revised Resolutions.

We now have new Resolutions on ITU’s role in fostering telecommunication/ICT-centric innovation to support the digital economy and society; on OTTs; on the use of information and communication technologies to bridge the financial inclusion gap; on measures to improve, promote, and strengthen ITU Fellowships; on ITU’s possible role as supervisory authority of the international registration system for space assets under the space protocol; on supporting the further development of the new ITU Journal: ICT Discoveries; and on the Union’s future headquarters premises.

Three weeks ago, I invited you to strengthen our work on small and medium-sized enterprises. I am pleased to see that you also adopted a new resolution encouraging the participation of SMEs in the work of the Union.

I am certain that all these new or revised Resolutions - this new set of tools and guidelines - will help foster inclusive economic growth and ensure that ICT can be a source for good for everyone everywhere.

We have many challenges ahead of us. Far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy. Substantial digital divides still exist within and between countries. We need to continue our efforts to leverage ICT to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that PP-18 supports ITU’s work towards this end.

Ladies and gentlemen,

PP-18 welcomed more than 2,300 participants representing 180 countries. Over 90 Ambassadors and 80 Ministers came to Dubai.

More than 12,000 unique devices were connected to the conference network over the past three weeks.

ITU worked hard with TRA and the Dubai World Trade Centre to reduce the environmental footprint of the conference. We produced 80% less paper than four years ago, and the Dubai World Trade Centre received the ISO twenty-one-two-one certification for Event Sustainability Management Systems in relation to PP-18.

The United Arab Emirates has hosted one of our most memorable Plenipotentiary Conferences, surpassing all our expectations. I would like to acknowledge TRA Director General Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori and his team, including their special PP-18 Committee. For three weeks, Dubai was the ICT capital of the world. Today, it has become ITU’s city for change. So please join me in thanking the UAE and Dubai for everything they did to make PP-18 such a success!

I want to express my deep appreciation to Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and to the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Abdullah and the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, His Excellency Mr. Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas.

Now I would like to thank the delegates, including all those who took part in the regional preparatory meetings. I wish to thank the organizers of the six regional organizations : APT, Arab Group, ATU, CITEL, CEPT, RCC for their wonderful and efficient coordination with members of the regions and for their excellent cooperation among the regional organizations.  Nothing would have been possible without you!

Thanks to our Chairman, His Excellency Majed Sultan Al Mesmar. Mr. Chairman, you were key to bringing this conference to its successful conclusion. It was an honour to be by your side these past three weeks! I know I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say that your tireless efforts to guide us through the whole conference process, in particular through those hot issues, with your magic 10-minute breaks, combined with your strong and skilful leadership and wonderful personality, have played a major role. We were all impressed, and we thank you most sincerely!

Thanks also to the Vice-Chairs of the Conference, and to the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Committees and Working Group of the Plenary. It is also important to recognize all the Ad Hoc Chairs and coordinators of the informal discussions, who played a critical role in helping to deliver consensus. Here again, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to our women colleagues.

Thanks to my fellow elected officials for your cooperation and support. I would like to express my special appreciation to two outgoing colleagues, BR Director François Rancy and BDT Director Brahima Sanou, for their outstanding leadership and their excellent contributions to ITU. I have enjoyed working with them over the last 8 years and wish them all the best in their future!

My special gratitude and appreciation go to all ITU staff, in particular the ITU team who supported the conference here in Dubai and back in Geneva. Your hard work was essential for the good progress of the conference. I am really proud of you! I hesitate to mention any particular individual – they are all good.  I would like to highlight Béatrice who was requested under very special circumstances to step in and I think you will agree with me that she has done a wonderful job.  In addition, she’s a lady !

Thanks to the Administrations who hosted receptions, and to the UAE for the unforgettable day in the desert and for sharing with us the wonders of Abu Dhabi.

Last but not least, I want to thank the interpreters, captioners and translators - as well as the technical, logistic and security teams - who have made our discussions possible.  

Please give them all a big round of applause!

I wish you all a safe journey home and look forward to working with you to build on the progress made here at PP-18 in the months and years to come.

Now I would like to present His Excellency Majed Sultan Al Mesmar with the ITU Gold Medal in recognition of our deep appreciation for all the efforts he has made over a year-long process.

And in just a moment, I will invite all Chairs of the Committees to join me on stage to present them with a Certificate of Appreciation for their wonderful work during PP-18.

Thank you.