Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
Press Statement at the Seventh Internet Governance Forum
5 November 2012, Baku, Azerbaijan
H.E. Minister Prof. Dr. Ali Mammad Abbasov,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues and friends,
On behalf of the United Nations, I wish to thank the Government of Azerbaijan, especially H. E. Prof. Dr. Ali Mammad oglu Abbasov, Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, for hosting the Internet Governance Forum. This beautiful country is a regional leader in its use of information and communication technologies, making this setting a fitting host for such a meeting.
Tomorrow we will begin the annual Internet Governance Forum. This is the first time I am attending the IGF, and I am looking forward to the deliberations. I believe that many of the discussions – including on best practices on implementing ICT strategies to achieve sustainable development – will continue through the IGF for the rest of the week.
We are living in a hyper-connected world. There are now over two billion Internet users, and this number continues to grow rapidly, especially in the developing world. This is less than one third of the world’s population. An estimated six billion people are now mobile phone subscribers — an astonishing number which will also grow as the cost of mobile devices goes down and the benefit of ownership goes up.
Indeed, the emerging trend of intensified connectivity points to increased benefits – for business, government, public services and for the daily lives and livelihood of hundreds of millions of people, including those in developing countries.
We must work to ensure that those benefits help accelerate sustainable development in all countries. At the recently concluded United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20), governments agreed that sustainable development must remain our top priority, and that information and communication technologies can be important tools for achieving sustainable development. We must work together in this connected world to reduce economic and social inequality, and to effectively use our scarce resources to promote inclusive growth while preserving the environment for future generations.
My department — and the United Nations at large — is committed to working with Governments and all other stakeholders to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development. This means balancing carefully the progress in the social and economic spheres, while ensuring environmental protection. This integration will be at the core of the current consultation process at the United Nations on a post-2015 development agenda, while ensuring first that implementation of the Millennium Development Goals remains our priority. We are also committed to supporting the implementation of environmentally sound technologies, including Internet and mobile technologies. Such technologies should not only protect the environment, but also serve as the engine of sustainable development. This is an inclusive process that requires the services of all stakeholders. I invite everyone here to engage and participate in this work.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
The United Nations is committed to working with you to ensure a ‘hyper-connected’ society and sustainable development for all. In organizing this Internet Governance Forum, we are also here to listen to your views, perspectives and advice. I wish all participants a productive discussion throughout the week.