New York

28 November 2012

Secretary-General's remarks at Akash Tablet Event

I am pleased to join all of you for this special event.

I congratulate India on its Presidency of the Security Council during this extremely challenging month.

India is a critical player on security issues … but you are also a leader on development and technology.

Indeed, India is a superpower on the information superhighway.

There is a reason places like Hyderabad are called “Cyberabad”.

But we know technology is not an end in itself.  The key is to empower people to make the most of their own potential.  

Information and communications technologies are engines of economic growth and development and can help transform people’s lives. 

They are great enablers -- helping people communicate across distances, facilitating trade and commerce and providing better access to health care and education. 

Today there are more than five billion people who carry mobile cellular subscriptions – and more than two billion people online.

At health clinics in far-away corners of the world, midwives use mobile phones to save lives.

During humanitarian crises, relief workers use basic technology to provide early warning alerts, map crises and deliver critical aid.

And more and more schools in some of the most impoverished areas are using technology, text messaging and mobile applications to enhance the quality of education and open new doors. 

Our challenge is to leverage the power of technology and bridge the digital divide.

We need to do more to help all children and young people make the most of the opportunities provided by information and communications technology – especially all those who are still unconnected from the digital revolution.

I know that in Hindi, “Aakash” means “sky”.

I want to encourage partners around the world to work with the United Nations to help young people reach for the sky and meet their dreams.

Thank you very much.