Doreen Bogdan-Martin – Keynote 02 2023

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19 June 2023 | 17:00 EEST | Main auditorium | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Keynote


Doreen Bogdan-Martin took office as Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 1 January 2023.

Ms Bogdan-Martin has held leadership positions in the field of international telecommunications policy for over two decades, with a track-record of brokering innovative partnerships to expand digital inclusion and connectivity for everyone around the world. Following her historic election by ITU Member States in September 2022, she became the first woman ever to head the organization, which was first established in 1865 and became a UN specialized agency in 1947.


Video record


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>> DOREEN BOGDAN-MARTIN: Madam commissioner, distinguished colleagues, EuroDIG Friends, I wish I could be there with you in Tampere and you gather to reflect on the future of the Internet. It’s 40 years this year since the transition to transmission control protocol and Internet protocol paved the way for today’s Internet. Yet again, we are standing at an inflection point in tech history. Technological risks dominate headlines, from cybersecurity threats to concerns about fragmentation and the raise of AI.

Not to mention mounting geopolitical tensions, the looming climate crisis and the fact that the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals are failing.

These are trying, unprecedented times for the web and for the world. In the face of so many challenges, let’s not forget that 2.7 billion people worldwide have never, ever used the Internet. I commend EuroDIG for placing the spotlight on young people, the driving force of connectivity globally, mindful that just half of the youth population in least developed countries had Internet access in 2022. The situation is dire. With all this adversity comes opportunity, a chance for us to come together and advocate for a free, open Internet and to harness the power of digital rescue the SDGs. The multistakeholder approach used by EuroDIG underpins ITU’s work to support an Internet we can all enjoy and that’s something that gives me hope.

Our Plenipotentiary Conference last year saw ITU Member States highlight capacity building, information sharing and best be practices among all stakeholders as key to building a multi-lingual, inclusive Internet.

They also identified two clear strategic goals for this decade. Universal connectivity, and sustainable digital transformation.

That means enabling everyone to enjoy a safe, enriching, productive online experience at an affordable cost.

It means empowering communities by bringing schools online through projects like GIGA, the ITU UNICEF initiative to connect everybody school to the Internet.

It means building capacity through partnerships like ITU’s joint project with the European Commission to promote Internet services and skills for everyone worldwide over the next three years.

Bold, innovative partners like these are key to building the digital resilience that we need to take on challenges that are too big for any single entity to tackle alone.

ITU is a knowledge partner of the G20 development group which just acknowledged in its G2023 Action Plan that digital technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.

As the U.N. agency for digital technologies ITU provides a trusted well established global platform for all stakeholders to come together to deliver on the SDGs, I will eliminate digital divides and build an Internet that is affordable, accessible and inclusive for all.

As you embark on this year’s EuroDIG and since you’re in Finland I thought I would leave you with my generation knows what great opportunities technology can present for us. Only together can we close the digital gender gap, create safe digital spaces and ensure an equal future for the benefit of all.

I look forward to working with all of you to build an open, a free, a secure and a safe Internet now for everyone everywhere.

Thank you.