ITU membership recognizes that half of the world’s people are still not using the Internet, and that for those connected, more must be done to ensure that connected life is safe and trustworthy.
These two objectives – connecting the unconnected and building trust in ICT – are fundamental to the fulfillment of ITU’s mission as an organization.
Standardization remains central to ITU’s value proposition.
High-quality international standards; delivered using an efficient, inclusive standardization process; supporting ICT growth and innovation across a wide range of industry sectors; bridging development divides as well as gender divides – this is the ultimate aim of ITU standardization.
Achieving this aim will call for ITU standardization to address the needs of an expanding array of ICT applications. We see this reflected in the growth and evolution of the membership of ITU’s standardization arm (ITU-T).
ITU-T membership has taken a sharp upward trajectory. ITU-T welcomed 45 new members in 2018, including MVNOs and MVNEs, manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, telematics and automotive companies, over-the-top (OTT) service providers, fintech companies, energy utilities, and companies specializing in quantum cryptography and quantum communications.
The global ICT ecosystem is a remarkable feat of engineering and a similarly remarkable feat of international collaboration.
ITU standardization has built trust among the myriad of countries and companies that collaborate to bring cohesion to ICT innovation worldwide. But ICTs are now enabling innovation in financial services, energy, transport, healthcare and smart cities, and Artificial Intelligence is expected to influence almost all aspects of our societies and economies.
The ITU standardization platform, for many years central to building trust in the ICT sector, is now helping the ICT sector to build trust with its many new collaborators.
Facilitating innovation is an essential theme. Here we speak of ‘innovation of ICT’ and ‘innovation by ICT’.
Innovation of ICTs is creating highly reliable, highly flexible ICT infrastructures, such as networks able to meet the requirements of an extraordinarily large number and diversity of ICT applications. These ICT applications – innovation by ICT – have the potential to make an invaluable contribution to our pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs emphasize the importance of partnerships. This is a principle that ITU is pleased to support.
We will continue to empower developing countries to maximize the value of their participation in ITU standardization. We will continue to build bridges between different communities within the ICT industry. We will continue to build bridges between the ICT industry and the many other industries innovating by ICT. And we will continue to offer a neutral platform for ICT stakeholders to build the mutual trust necessary to shared technological advance.
I look forward to our next four years of collaboration in supporting the emergence of a trusted ICT environment able to drive social and economic development in all regions of the world.