Secretary-General, Attending Telecom World 2009, Urges Business Chiefs to Use Wisdom, Political, Policy Priority to Bring ‘ICT’ Tools to Climate Change

6 October 2009

Secretary-General, Attending Telecom World 2009, Urges Business Chiefs to Use Wisdom, Political, Policy Priority to Bring ‘ICT’ Tools to Climate Change

6 October 2009
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, Attending Telecom World 2009, Urges Business Chiefs to Use


Wisdom, Political, Policy Priority to Bring ‘ICT’ Tools to Climate Change


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a round table with Heads of State and chief executive officers (CEOs) attending Telecom World 2009, in Geneva, 6 October:

It is a great pleasure to meet all of you again and thank you very much for your strong commitment to make this world connected through your great power.

Gradually, I have come to realize how much a big power can exercise.  I am not talking about Prime Ministers or Presidents, or Vice-Presidents, or Ministers who have legal institutional power, but the most important power can come from business leaders.  After all, it is the business leaders who can invest their resources, who can make technological innovations happen.

Therefore, this round table with the CEOs will be very important.  I know that this ambitious round table will talk about the current economic crisis, cybersecurity, and the digital divide.  These are all important issues.

But at this time, I would like to know how much and how we can use the power of information and communications technology in addressing climate change.  On top of all these multiple crises, we have the most pressing issue and urgent issue of climate change.  We talked a lot about climate change yesterday, and this information and communications technology can bring great tools.  You are the persons, you are the leaders who have the tools in your hands, and I would like to urge you to use your wisdom, use your political and policy priority right to bring these information and communications technology tools to climate change.

I know the information and communications technology industry itself is part of the problem, causing 2 to 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.  But using these tools, your power, you can reduce at least 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from the other sectors.  That is quite significant.  I know that with further innovations coming you will significantly reduce these problems.

Therefore, you are standing here both as the problems and problem solvers.  So you have answers.  So I would like to use and expect more answers than problems.  This is the basic purpose of our meeting today.  As you know, there was a summit meeting on climate change in New York, September 22nd.

I have been working, directly or indirectly, with the United Nations for more than 30 years.  And now, as Secretary-General, I have seen only one case when and where all Heads of State, more than 100 Heads of State, gathered at one time, at one place.  There have come more numbers of Heads of State over a period, maybe over a period of two weeks or so, people would come and go, come and go, but on September 22nd, you have seen all 101 Heads of State and Government, sitting together, at one place, with all the richest and all the most vulnerable countries and leaders.

They expressed and exchanged their views and, most importantly, demonstrated their political leadership commitment.  At this time, even though we are going through an economic crisis, I believe, and you will believe that, we have resources.  We have financial capacity.  We were able to mobilize $5 trillion to $6 trillion in London to make a stimulus of packages, internationally coordinated.  The United States alone has mobilized more than $1.5 trillion, China, $600 billion, and most European countries, more than $1 trillion.

We have, I think, financial resources, we have technology, we have technological capacity.  What is largely lacking is political will.  Political leaders, they have to demonstrate their leadership.

Business CEOs, you have to demonstrate your leadership, political leadership in your company.  Scientists, science, have provided irrefutable facts.  So science means quite clearly that climate change is happening much, much faster than expected, than we have realized.  And now it is in the hands, in the hands of political leaders, in the hands of business leaders.

The difference between science and political leaders, business leaders, is that science is irreversible, they do not have any choice, it is there.  But you have the choice.  That is good things or bad things.  You can make a good choice, you can make a bad choice.  You have $1 million, you can use this for another policy matter, you can use this money for climate change.  This is a global challenge.

Therefore, please do not look at only your company or your country.  Please look at this issue as a global issue requiring a global leadership role.  Global priority, that is what I would like to really ask for your support and leadership role.  And I hope we will have a good exchange of views, and I am ready to listen to your challenges.

But please, make a wise and good choice for the benefit of humanity.  Thank you very much.

* *** *


*     Reissued to reflect text as delivered.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.