Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States
High-level segment of the informal meeting on Improving Connectivity in Eurasia organized by the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan
4 September 2013, New York
Your Excellency, Mr. Vuk Jeremich, President of the 67th Session of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency, Prof. Dr. Ali Abbasov, Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
Ladies and Gentleman,
On behalf of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, I welcome you to this important session on “Improving Connectivity in Eurasia.” I also extend my sincere gratitude to His Excellency, Prof. Dr. Ali Abbasov, Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, for inviting me to this session.
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs – DESA, has enjoyed fruitful cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The 7th Internet Governance Forum, for instance, was held in Baku last November. This event was recognized as marking an important milestone in the development of Internet governance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Information and Communications Technology wields enormous power. It links people around the globe to foster new designs, new ideas and new ways that we think, work and live. It creates a platform where innovations and reforms blossom.
The key word is connection.
Connection fosters empowerment of people, and enables the economy to grow. Indeed, the impact of ICT as a contributor to the world economy is staggering. And, importantly, developing countries, especially emerging economies, are at the forefront of ICT development, with many experiencing the fastest rates of GDP growth in the world.
As more Internet users from developing countries join the online community, the center of the Internet will shift more and more toward the developing world. This shift will significantly influence the future trend of global ICT development.
We will continue to see opportunities for new innovations and efficiencies, which will help fuel the next wave of growth, investment, and prosperity.
ICT has also proved to be a useful tool for development. ICT brings youth engagement in the development process. It is a strong vehicle that helps transport their ideas and voices to the community, district, national, and global level.
ICT empowers young people with the necessary skills to strengthen their confidence and involvement in society.
With the development of ICT, tracking and visualizing information is an excellent way to improve decision making capacity.
ICT is also useful for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. ICT innovations can provide new opportunities for education, for promoting gender equality, improving access to healthcare, and most importantly, in eradicating extreme poverty.
A process is currently underway at the United Nations to formulate a global development agenda beyond 2015. ICT can play a critical role. With the emergence of a global digital economy, however, new technologies have also shown a spotlight on a widening digital divide.
It is essential that a post-2015 development agenda positions ICT as an important area of development. Efforts should not only focus on Internet access expansion, but also on strengthening support for education, enabling good governance, and promoting a people-centred development.
In this connection, I am very interested in learning more about the proposal to establish a Eurasian Connectivity Alliance. This alliance should enhance international and regional cooperation towards connecting people in the Eurasian region via information and communication technologies.
The Alliance is expected to bring together the efforts of many different stakeholders and provide strategic assistance and support to projects such as the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway.
Your collective efforts to build partnerships that will have long-lasting benefits for the world’s most vulnerable populations, are highly commendable. We would be pleased to share with the Alliance our capacity development training programmes and tools – including in the area of e-government, e-participation and open government – to help achieve sustainable development.
I wish you all a fruitful discussion and I look forward to hearing about the positive results and next steps.