Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

High Level Ministerial Forum on Addressing the Challenges of A Hyperconnected World

H.E. Minister Prof. Dr. Ali Mammad Abbasov,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues and friends,

This year’s theme of the IGF, “Internet governance for sustainable human, economic and social development”, recognizes the potential of the Internet and ICTs in improving peoples’ wellbeing.  The judicious deployment of ICTs has enormous potential to leapfrog sustainable development, and should be fully considered when formulating policies at all levels.

Holding the Ministerial Forum here in beautiful Baku, Azerbaijan is very appropriate. This country is a recognized IT hub in the region, and a good example of providing essential e-government services to its citizens.

The rapid development and growth of the Internet is truly astounding. There are now over two billion internet users, and this number is growing rapidly, especially in the developing world. An estimated six billion people are now mobile phone subscribers.  ICT technologies are becoming important tools for advancing sustainable development, including in areas such as public health, education, agriculture, disaster relief, environmental protection and many others.

While the Internet was born in the developed world, it is maturing in the developing world. This is why the proceedings this week are so important. We must ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page. They should work together to ensure that Internet governance policies are shaped in such a way that both developed and developing countries can benefit from it now, and for generations to come.  

The Internet Governance Forum provides timely capacity building opportunities, especially for developing countries and civil society actors. Such opportunities allow a variety of stakeholders to learn from one another and to build long-standing partnerships that are crucial for development. My Department of Economic and Social Affairs, working with other UN entities, is committed to continuing and strengthening the IGF capacity building activities in the use of ICTs for sustainable development. This includes in helping to increase developing country participation in the IGF. 

Every day we see the benefits that technology brings to our collective human, economic and social development efforts. Of course, this same technology brings many challenges as well. These challenges must be addressed together by all stakeholders in an inclusive and participatory manner. Cybersecurity is one such issue.  The discussions here will help clarify challenges, and build consensus on how to best address them.

Online privacy and the preservation of an open Internet infrastructure available to all is also a major policy topic. It is a topic that can help leverage IGF’s neutral, multi-stakeholder discussion platform. I am confident that we can make considerable progress on finding a consensus in building fair national, regional and international policies on these challenges throughout the week.

On behalf of the United Nations, I thank the Government of Azerbaijan and everyone involved in the organization of the Internet Governance Forum and this Ministerial Forum.  They have provided excellent facilities and logistical and administrative support throughout this busy week.

Thank you.