Nº 4 2015 > Editorial
Mind the Digital Gap
Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary‑General
The last two months have been an extraordinarily productive time for ITU with the 2015 Session of Council, our 150th anniversary celebrations, WSIS Forum 2015, and the 15th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-15) on the theme, “Mind the Digital Gap”. I am confident ITU emerges from Council reinvigorated, and well positioned to adapt to the further transformation of the ICT sector.
The 2015 Session of Council, held 12–22 May, saw the announcement of ITU’s new Global ICT Entrepreneurship Initiative, as well as the approval of the budget and of ITU’s strategic, operational and financial plans. It took a number of important decisions guiding the future direction of ITU, which I am confident will enable ITU to continue to deliver high-quality services in line with the expectations of our membership.
During Council, on 17 May, our 150th Anniversary celebration united nearly 1000 invitees to show their support for the principles embodied by ITU in a celebration of the Union’s illustrious history as the oldest UN organization. The ceremony included interactive demonstrations, the ITU 150 Awards, and video expressions of support from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon and Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft). We commemorated ITU’s longest-standing members, whom we thank for their commitment and dedication to ITU’s work. On behalf of ITU, I should like to thank all our Partners for their generous support.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2015 welcomed a large number of stakeholders, and was attended by some 70 Ministers and 1700 delegates from around the world. The Forum served to measure progress in the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines, with sessions aimed at brainstorming innovation in ICTs.
In June, the TSAG meeting achieved a number of outcomes, including the historic milestone of approving the creation of a new Study Group 20 on the Internet of Things and its applications, including smart cities and communities. June also saw H.E. President Luis Guillermo Solís of Costa Rica inaugurated as ITU Patron for Youth and ICT at ITU Headquarters, and the very successful GSR-15 in Libreville, Gabon, which brought together the global regulatory community to debate the latest regulatory hot topics, preceded by a number of events where participants shared views with leading industry figures. At the Symposium, ITU’s ICT Regulatory Tracker Tool was launched as a powerful tool for the analysis of regulatory developments in ICT, which ITU is bringing to the service of its Member States and regulatory authorities. I personally gained many insights from this fascinating and lively event, which is examined in depth in this edition of ITU News.
We now look forward to a number of key events coming up in a turbo-charged fall, including the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) to revise the Radio Regulations, and Telecom World 2015. Whether you are involved with one ITU Sector or several, we look forward to working with you over the coming months at ITU.