Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Opening Statement

Initial Stockstaking Meeting in the Process of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the
Review of the Implementation of the Outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society

Delivered by Mr. Lenni Montiel
Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic Development/DESA

Your Excellency Ambassador Lyutha S. al-Mughairy of Oman,
Acting President of the 69th session of the General Assembly,
Ambassador Janis Maieiks(Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia)
Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh(Permanent Representative of United Arab Emirates)
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to join you at this initial stocktaking meeting.

Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo is away on official travel. He expresses his deep appreciation to the President of the General Assembly for his leadership and he extends his warm congratulations to Ambassador Janis Maieiks and Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh on your appointment as co-facilitators to lead this important intergovernmental negotiation.

He looks forward to supporting you in your critical task.

He has requested me to deliver the following remarks on his behalf.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs is honoured to support the process of the intergovernmental negotiations on the review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.

DESA has long been the Secretariat focal point for ECOSOC and General Assembly deliberations on the information society, and has provided substantive support to deliberations on information and communication technologies for development and on internet governance.

In doing so, DESA has worked closely with the UN system, including regional commissions, UNCTAD, ITU and UNESCO, among others.

With the start of the intergovernmental preparatory process under the General Assembly, DESA stands ready to support the President of the General Assembly, the co-facilitators, and the delegations in New York, in your deliberations and negotiations resulting in an outcome document for adoption at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly, to be convened this December.


You are meeting at a historic moment.

As you are aware, intergovernmental deliberations to define the post-2015 development agenda are entering the final phase and will culminate in September in the adoption of a visionary, transformative development agenda for the future we all want.

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development is just a month away.

In December in Paris, the United Nations Climate Conference is expected to adopt a landmark climate accord.

Information and Communication Technologies, as a powerful enabler of sustainable development, can make great contributions to the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda.

Indeed, the important roles of ICT in development have been highlighted by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, for example, under SDGs 4, 5 and 9 that focus on inclusive and equitable education, gender equality and infrastructure and industrialization.

According to ITU, today, there are more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, compared to 738 million in 2000.

Globally, 3.2 billion people are using the Internet, of which two billion live in developing countries.

ITU figures also indicate that, despite this remarkable progress, four billion people in the developing world remain offline and the promises of ICTs, as envisaged in the Geneva and Tunisia phases of the World Summit on the Information Society, remain largely unfulfilled.

Of the nearly one billion people living in the Least Developing Countries (LDCs), 851 million do not use the Internet.

Behind these figures are lost opportunities and untapped potential of ICT for empowering and advancing sustainable development.

Indeed, while we marvel at the rapid growth in the ICT sector, we must come to firm grips with the widening digital divides.

This intergovernmental process is now tasked to address the challenges.

In the modalities resolution of the General Assembly, this overall review process is expected to take stock of progress, address potential ICT gaps and areas for continued focus, including bridging the digital divide, and harnessing ICT for development.

We hope that in December, by the conclusion of the General Assembly High-level Meeting, Member States will adopt a forward-look, action-oriented, focused outcome document, with clear goals and targets, timelines, and monitoring and follow-up mechanisms.


In the next six months, you will be embarking on a historic mission. Allow me to conclude by reiterating that DESA is ready to support you to achieve an ambitious outcome, together with our colleagues in the UN system.

We look forward to a rich discussion at this initial stocktaking meeting and to a fruitful intergovernmental preparatory process.

Thank you.