The High-Level Strategic Dialogue takes place on 13 May, a day ahead of the 2013 World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum, #WTPF, offering an opportunity to hear top policy pioneers and industry leaders debate hot topics in a low-key setting – in contrast to the more formal procedures of the Policy Forum.
‘Building our Broadband Future’ is a subject very close to my heart. In the first session of the Strategic Dialogue we will explore whether broadband access constitutes a fundamental right, a human right or a civil right, and how best to go about connecting the remaining two thirds of the world’s population who still have no access to the Internet, let alone broadband.
ITU’s latest data show that broadband is still too often the preserve of industrialized countries, with a global average of just ten per cent in terms of fixed broadband penetration worldwide.
This has to change – and indeed will change, with the rapid uptake in new technologies such as mobile broadband – so that developing countries can experience the vital benefits of broadband in areas such as health and education, and participate fully in the digital global economy. And that is precisely what the second session of the Strategic Dialogue will focus on – the power of broadband to drive development, improve people’s lives, and help achieve the MDGs. These are all key messages driving the work of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which we founded back in 2010.
We have a very exciting line-up of top executives and policy pioneers coming to ITU on Monday. With a speaker from every ITU region, the Strategic Dialogue is well-placed to convey a global perspective on the current status and policy directions for broadband deployment around the world. I look forward to hearing – and learning – from many of them about how the benefits of broadband can best be extended to more of the world’s people, and I hope you do too.
I know I speak on behalf of all panellists and key speakers when I say I am looking forward to a very lively debate. See you there!
By Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré has been Secretary-General of the ITU since January 2007; he was re-elected for a second term in October 2010. He has wide professional experience in both the public and private sectors. A national of Mali, Dr Touré is committed to ITU as an innovative, forward-looking organization adapted to meeting the challenges created by the rapidly-changing ICT environment, and to continuing to spearhead ITU towards implementing the resolutions of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Dr Touré is married with four children and two grandchildren.