On the importance of ICTs

UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, WSIS+10 High Level Meeting, 10 June 2014, Geneva, Switzerland

On behalf of the UPU, I wish to join the eminent leaders who spoke before me in emphasizing the important role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the social and economic transformation of the lives of the citizens of the world.

ICTs have, in the recent past, created many opportunities as well as challenges for societies. The use of ICTs has enabled the growth of international trade and commerce, and transformed the lives of millions of people around the world. ICTs and social networking platforms have also changed the political and social order of societies in many countries. ICT is, therefore, a powerful tool that should be developed and harnessed carefully for the good of humanity in the post-2015 development agenda.

I believe that ICTs can be used to bring social and economic equilibrium in society and advance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of national governments and the United Nations. As we look forward to a new era of sustainable development in the coming years, ICTs will continue to play a defining role in societal transformation and achievement of human prosperity.

The UPU has been, and still remains, an important stakeholder in the development of the information society since the first WSIS in 2003. Over the past 10 years, we have represented the sector in policy debates and participated in activities related to the development of e-business and co-facilitated the C 7 e-business action line along with UNCTAD and ITC.

We have not only played an advocacy role for an all-inclusive society, but have also made concrete efforts to achieve these objectives in our policy decisions and our work. The UPU is fully dedicated to this WSIS+10 multi-stakeholder review process. We have recently decided to prioritize our own activities in relation to e-commerce, financial inclusion and trade facilitation, all of which are closely related to information society development. We have dedicated enormous resources to developing a technological solution aimed at enhancing the quality of services provided to our customers and to the citizens of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to emphasize that Posts are important national infrastructures for social, economic and digital inclusion. The UPU represents an industry that employs over six million people around the world. With a network of some 650,000 post offices in urban, rural and remote communities; we provide, on a daily basis, access to physical, financial and digital communication services to billions of people around the world, who would otherwise be excluded from the world information society.

However, more needs to be done if we are to achieve the goals of the WSIS. Lack of internet connectivity is hampering the development of rural communities in many parts of the world. Although the UPU is taking necessary steps to advance the use of ICTs in many rural parts of the world, I call upon all governments represented here to provide the necessary support for postal transformation and modernization of the ICT infrastructure in their countries. This will, no doubt, assist in the realization of the inclusive development agendas in your countries.

The UPU, in collaboration with governments, other UN agencies, international organizations and the private sector, is doing everything possible to assist in the realization of the MDGs and the Sustainable Development Goals. The UPU is now developing its Vision 2020, which will promote all the comprehensive themes of innovation, integration and inclusion, where ICTs will be the driving force and game-changer for the future.

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, the UPU will remain engaged in the noble cause of the WSIS goals and objectives. Thank you for your attention.

WSIS+10 high level panel, front row, right to left: Lakhshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi, ITU Secretary General Hamadoun I. Touré (Photo: ITU)
 

WSIS+10

The WSIS+10 meeting is an annual gathering of stakeholders to further the work on information communication technologies or ICTs since the World Summit on Information Society, a UN event that tool place in 2003 and 2005.

WSIS+10 website link