Nº 6 2013 > ITU at a glance

Protecting the world'’s youngest cybernauts

Protecting the world'’s youngest cybernautsDame Patience Jonathan receiving the ITU Certificate of Honour from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General  As a passionate advocate of the well-
Dame Patience Jonathan receiving the ITU Certificate of Honour from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General
As a passionate advocate of the well-being of women and children, I warmly welcome this opportunity to play a key role on the global stage in the fight to protect our children from unwholesome activities in cyberspace. The security of our children and youth demands — and will always demand — our best efforts, because of their strategic place in the security and prosperity of our collective future. This imposes on us the duty of continually building structures and developing strategies to shield young people from influences that have the potential of compromising the future of coming generations. In this context, ITU has taken a most commendable step to protect the world’s youngest cybernauts by establishing the Child Online Protection initiative.

Remarks from Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan

First Lady of Nigeria, and President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission

Speaking on the occasion of her investiture as the ITU Child Online Protection Champion, at the ITU headquarters in Geneva on 22 July 2013, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan said it was gratifying for her to be appointed to this position, which requires her to work hand in hand with ITU, the oldest agency of the United Nations system, founded in 1865. The following are extracts from her remarks.

The survival of ITU for nearly one and a half centuries is strong testimony of the overwhelming global relevance of the strategic services of this agency. It is also evidence of the corporate responsibility with which ITU has discharged its duties to the world community. ITU has kept people connected and sustained relations around the world, by offering a platform that enables people to stay close, no matter how far they are apart geographically.

The global ITU family has shown commendable resolve to intervene in the worrisome challenge of cyberspace insecurity, especially with regard to our highly vulnerable children. This is right and proper, because a majority of our children and youths are among the top users of cyberspace technology globally. In addition, the future of humanity depends significantly on the quality of children and youths we raise today.

It is evident that advances in information and communication technologies have provided extraordinary advantages to humankind, making life easier and contributing to the development of a well-informed citizenry. But uncontrolled access to the World Wide Web comes with risks to the well-being and safety of children and youths.

For this reason, I pledge to join hands with ITU – through its International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) – to secure the children of the world from the dangers of cybercrimes.

My excitement about this assignment stems from my long-standing passion for the security, welfare and development of vulnerable groups. These especially include women and children in my country, Nigeria, as well as across the African continent. We look on this new platform as an opportunity to extend our protective responsibility to cover all children across the world.

Our sacred duty to protect our young people is in line with the global United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as Nigeria's Child Rights Act of 2003. In this context, I joyfully look forward to working with committed stakeholders around the world, especially the Global Patron for Child Online Protection, Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica.

Through the Child Online Protection initiative, we have the means to put a protective cloak over all children across the world and keep them safe from cyberthreats, enabling our young people to delight in the wonders of technology and innovate to build a better world.

I am happy to note that ITU has already put in place guidelines for different stakeholders – children, educators, industry players and policy-makers – and policies and strategies that the 193 Member States can adopt to protect our children in cyberspace.


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