I am pleased to greet all participants at the World Summit on the Information Society +10 High-Level Event, an extended version of the annual WSIS Forum. More than 30 United Nations agencies have joined forces with the global multi-stakeholder community at this gathering, a signal of our strong commitment to a preparatory process that has produced two important outcome documents: the WSIS+10 Statement and the Vision for WSIS beyond 2015.
Information and communication technologies have long been recognized as key enablers for bridging the digital divide and achieving the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental balance and social inclusion. ICTs have proven to be instrumental in the delivery of information and services in health, education, trade, commerce and other fields, and have helped bring about increased transparency and accountability. They will also be at the centre of the solutions we need to tackle the threat of climate change.
Notwithstanding the advances made possible by ICTs, there are still great strides to be made. Sixty percent of the world’s population do not have access to the Internet and the vast online resources of information and knowledge. We must do everything in our power to increase access to ICTs and broadband connectivity across the world, including to reach people in remote areas, land-locked countries, small island developing states and the least developed countries. This will empower millions of people and enable us to meet our development goals in the post-2015 era.
I urge you to forge new partnerships and to strengthen our information society. I congratulate you for your commitment to this work, and I extend my best wishes for a successful gathering.