September 27, 2011 - 14:30PM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Good afternoon, the distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Before we start with the opening ceremony, I would like to call upon the Director-General of the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, Ms. Sahle Work Zewde.
Undersecretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations office in Nairobi.
Ms. Zewde will say a few words of welcome and she will be followed by the Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Thomas Steltzer, who will then be opening the meeting.
Thank you very much.
Ms. Zewde, you've got the floor.
[ Applause ]
>>MS. SAHLE WORK ZEWDE: Your Excellency, Honorable Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, friends of the ICT community.
On behalf of the United Nations family in Nairobi, it's my great honor and privilege to warmly welcome you all.
The United Nations office at Nairobi is proud to be hosting this important meeting and we are delighted to see such high level of participation.
I'm also particularly pleased to welcome, once again, His Excellency, Honorable Masahiro Yoshizaki, who serve as a demonstration of Kenya's commitment to this forum.
At the United Nations in Kenya, we were extremely pleased when the Kenyan government expressed interest in hosting the sixth Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi, and are happy that the event takes place here in Gigiri, the only United Nations headquarters in Africa and, indeed, in the developing world.
The Gigiri United Nations complex is home to the headquarters of two global programs, the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, and the U.N. Habitat. In addition to hosting the regional offices of a number of U.N. programs and funds, as well as the country team for Kenya, our complex is also home for a U.N. mandate and components working on Somalia.
The United Nations office at Nairobi, which I had the honor to serve as the Director-General, serves as the administrative hub for the U.N. system and is the representative office of the Secretary-General in Kenya.
The total number of the U.N. staff based here in Gigiri is just under 3,000. We have a unique privilege to work on 140 acres of green and pleasant surroundings, as you have been able to see, bordered to the south and west by natural forests, inhabitants of which are spotted routinely within the compound.
As you can tell, we're extremely proud of our headquarters here and hope that you'll find your stay with us productive and enjoyable.
I wish you a fruitful deliberation and a very pleasant stay in Nairobi.
Now, I would like to give the floor to my colleague, Mr. Thomas Steltzer, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations department of economic and social affairs, to formally open the meeting. I thank you.
>>MR. THOMAS STELTZER: Your Excellency, Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, Honorable Samuel Poghisio, Minister of Information and Communication, honorable ministers, delegates, distinguished experts, ladies and gentlemen, it's my great joy and honor to represent the Secretariat to the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, at this Internet Governance Forum, and I have to say I'm very pleased by the interest this forum has been generating.
On behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General, I would like to thank the government of Kenya for hosting the sixth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, the IGF. This is the first IGF to be held in sub-Saharan Africa. I thank you for your warm welcome and for your gracious hospitality. Thank you very much.
The Internet Governance Forum came out of the Tunis Agenda at the end of World Summit on Information Society in 2006. Since then, it has continued to encourage open and honest exchange through a multistakeholder process as mandated in Tunis.
It has helped government officials, civil society, the private sector, technical community representatives, and U.N. agency leaders to work together to bridge the digital divide and to afford the benefits of the Internet to all.
Moreover, the multistakeholder approach of the IGF provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to be informed and included in defining options and debating choices, and to contribute to other key debates.
Building on the momentum of previous years, and in particular following the success of last year's Annual Meeting in Lithuania, we hope this IGF in Kenya will further define emerging issues in Internet governance and set the path for our way forward.
Indeed, this occasion marks the first meeting of the IGF under its renewed mandate. The decision to renew the mandate was made by the United Nations General Assembly on 20th December 2010 in recognition of the successes the IGF has achieved in its first five years and its continuing relevance to the development of a global information society.
The theme of the IGF 2011 is "Internet as a Catalyst for Exchange, Access, Development, Freedom, and Innovation."
In view of the Internet's impact on transforming the world we live in, this year's forum will focus on the Internet as a medium for positive change and human development. Indeed, the debate at this IGF should be encouraged by the continuing advances in access to the Internet, and the potential for development through innovation, entrepreneurship, and freedom.
Given that Internet governance and the spread of ICTs offer both opportunities and challenges for development, there is a great expectation that the next four days will offer stimulating debate around these challenges and opportunities, as we discuss the main themes of the 2011 IGF.
In particular, the cross-cutting priority session on Internet governance for development will generate discussion on how the Internet can foster sustainable development, freedom, and innovation.
For example, through improved education and knowledge while empowering citizens.
The growth in the number of Internet users worldwide offers an opportunity to use the Internet as a medium to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
In some countries, more than 80% of households have Internet access. Almost all of them through a broadband connection. And many of them through mobile networks.
In Kenya, over 60% of the population uses a mobile phone and there are 4.7 million Internet subscriptions, the vast majority gaining access through mobile devices.
Kenya is known for highly advanced mobile banking services which have brought financial services to much of the population for the first time.
Today, it is estimated that the number of people with access to the Internet in their home has increased from 1.4 billion in 2009 to almost 1.6 billion in 2010.
However, digital divides between developed and developing countries and between urban and rural areas remain prevalent.
Access to ICT and also -- is also limited to disadvantaged populations, as well as persons with disabilities.
The rise in access to the Internet means that the debate for fixed versus mobile access has been eclipsed by more profound issues, such as the need to analyze specific global Internet governance issues relevant to development, and to determine how to promote capacity-building in critical Internet resources, and to foster innovation while addressing cross-border Internet security issues.
We also hope to encourage an open discussion on emerging issues, such as cloud computing services for development, Internet governance in Africa, and digital technologies for civic engagement and social change.
We know that more and better information can bring public value and greater transparency in public life.
Relevant information freely available enriches people's lives and contributes to better governance.
But you also know that the digital literacy is a key element for ensuring better information leading to a more inclusive society, and helping development potential offered by the Internet come to full realization.
Dialogue on managing critical Internet resources center on policy issues affecting global development and, in particular, on examining the issues of deploying new resources.
I hope the debates here will continue to refine our understanding of the appropriate local and international institutional arrangements. Discussion on security, openness and privacy can be addressed in light of the increasing number of young users.
At the same time, international cyber attacks are a growing concern. Cloud governance is an attempt to make the Internet sustainable and serve as a positive international change. I expect that the IGF this year will continue to move the debate forward and use the multistakeholder process of the IGF to secure enhanced dialogue on this issue.
Next June, in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations will convene a summit-level conference on sustainable developments, also known as Rio+20.
At Rio, we will assess progress to date and the remaining gaps in implementation of the Agenda 21 and address new emerging opportunities and challenges.
As part of the Rio+20 process, the IGF can make a significant contribution as discussions around Internet governance have become ever more crucial in setting the ICT agenda and in solidifying the Internet as a catalyst for positive change and supporting sustainable development.
Excellencies, colleagues and friends, we have been given the opportunity to continue the debate on the use of the Internet and the appropriate governance mechanisms for it. I wish to thank the government again for their generosity and to wish you all well in your multistakeholder debates over the next few days.
I would also like this opportunity to express our appreciation to the international donor community for providing the financial support for the IGF project, allowing it to fund several participants from the developing countries to attend the forum as well as the staff of the IGF Secretariat.
I hope that the community of donors will continue and increase its financial support of the IGF project to secure the implementation of United Nations General Assembly resolution 65/141 of December 2010 for a further five years of the IGF, putting it in line with general WSIS review that is expected to take place in 2015.
In accordance with the custom of the IGF, I now have the honor to invite Ms. Alice Munyua, chair of the Internet governance Steering Committee to assume the chair of the meeting on behalf of the host country.
Ms. Munyua, you have the floor.
[ Applause ]
>>MS. ALICE MUNYUA: Your Excellency Honorable Kalonzo Musyoka, our Vice President; Thomas Steltzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Honorable Samuel Poghisio, Minister of Information and Communications; Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications; Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union; honorable Ministers, delegates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor for me to serve as the chairperson of this, the sixth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum. I thank you all for expressing your confidence in me.
We are extremely proud to welcome you to Kenya and to be hosting the first IGF to be held in SubSaharan Africa.
I'm actually counting on your continued and full support of all the stakeholders participating in this meeting over the next three days to make our meeting a great success.
It is now my pleasure to invite Dr. Bitange Ndemo, our Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications, to make introductory remarks.
[ Applause ]
>>DR. BITANGE NDEMO: Your Excellency, the Vice President, Honorable Kalonzo Musyoka; Honorable Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communication; ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Toure; the Ministers present here, heads of delegation, industry representatives, technical community, civil society, Thomas Steltzer, Sahle Work -- I hope I pronounced it right. Ladies and gentlemen. Your Excellency, those seated here today are policymakers from many countries, experts, and other Internet stakeholders. We are meeting here today as well as yesterday from the ministerial meeting that we had to discuss various issues. Among them, access to broadband, mobile Internet, cybersecurity, and privacy, and the cloud computing.
Coming closer to home, we had a very simple strategy where we started dealing with the supply-side issues of Internet. Over the past three years, we have dealt with those issues comprehensively, and we have a very small part yet to finish, especially the last mile.
We have impact on the demand side of issues relating to Internet.
Internet has changed the world. When Abraham Lincoln said in 1860s that democracy, and defined democracy as a government for the people, by the people, little did he know that that would change completely, that the people would, indeed, govern by themselves.
We have seen what has happened with the Arab Spring; that the top-down governance has changed to bottom-up. This is what the Internet has done with respect to governance. And we expect that more would change. Even on an individual level.
Today, whether you are a doctor, teacher, a nurse, you cannot survive without Internet. Teachers must learn how to use Internet so that they can teach students through e-learning methods. Doctors would do the same, because even surgery has gone Internet.
So Internet has become so critical that we have got to meet like this to discuss governance issues relating to Internet.
My coming here was to simply invite my Minister, but before that I want to invite Dr. Hamadoun Toure, who is the head of the ITU, to come and give us remarks. Then I can invite my Minister.
[ Applause ]
>>DR. HAMADOUN TOURÉ: Excellency, Honorable Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President of Republic of Kenya; Ms. Sahle Work Zewde, Director General, United Nations office in Nairobi; Thomas Steltzer, Assistant Secretary-General; honorable members of parliament, Ministers, Ambassadors, Commissioners, members of the civil society, industry leaders, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, let me start by thanking the Kenyan government for its kind invitation to this important event. As Africans, both myself and Mr. Brahima Sanou, the director of ITU's Communication and Development Bureau, who is here with me, take a special interest in working with ITU's African member states and local and regional initiatives. So we are delighted to be here with you today for the opening of the sixth Internet Governance Forum.
We are greatly honored by the presence of Honorable Vice President of government of Kenya.
Let me also congratulate the Kenya Internet governance Steering Committee and its chair, Alice Munyua for their efforts in organizing this event that we can already say it is successful. It is the largest by size. I'm told that there are more than 2,000 delegates already registered for this conference.
I think that this is a good opportunity for us to look back briefly at the origins of the IGF, which was created as an outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005.
Was most wide ranging, comprehensive and inclusive debate ever had on the Information Society. For the first time, governments, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations and civil society all worked together, hand in hand, for the common good.
At the close of the summit in November 2005, we heralded a breakthrough agreement on Internet governance which acknowledged the need for enhanced global cooperation. The IGF was therefore created as a fresh start to pave the way for discussions on a number of issues in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the internet.
Ladies and gentlemen, ITU remains firmly committed to the WSIS process, which has made considerable progress in many areas in advancing the implementation of the WSIS outcomes.
The annual WSIS forum goes from strength to strength, and this year attracted more than 1,150 participants from over 140 countries. More than 1,000 stakeholders from all parts of the world followed the forum through remote participation, and contributed to the positive outcome of the event.
Next year's WSIS forum will be held from 14 to 18 May in Geneva, and I look forward to welcoming you there.
The WSIS process encompasses many important issues, including accessibility, climate change, and cybersecurity. And we are pleased to be co-organizing events on this particular topic here at the IGF in Nairobi.
Accessibility remains a very important issue with an estimated 1 billion people around the world today suffering from some kind of disability. To achieve the goal of equitable communication for everyone, ITU, through standardization and development bureaus, focuses on a series of strategic issues ranging from the rights of the disabled to making technical design centers accessible to providing education and training on accessible ICTs.
We are also very active concerning the biggest issue facing humanity today, which is, of course, climate change. ICTs are crucial in this regard because while they are responsible for 2 to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, they can help reduce emissions in other sectors by 15%. As is so often the case, ICTs once again prove to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
ICT -- ITU plays an important role across all three sectors. Our radio communication sector identifies and protects the necessary frequency spectrum for climate monitoring and disaster prediction, detection and relief. This includes close cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization in the field of remote sensing applications.
Our standardization sector develops standards for energy efficient ICT equipment, notably through ITU Study Group 5 which is working on a set of methodologies for assessing the environmental impact of ICT. This includes a global methodology which ICT companies could use to measure their carbon footprint, as well as to estimate the considerable savings in global greenhouse gas emissions and energy that can be achieved in other sectors through the use of ICTs.
And our development sector continues to help developing countries mitigate the effect of climate change, including the use of emergency telecommunications and alerting systems for disaster relief.
Distinguished colleagues, let me now turn to cybersecurity which I mentioned briefly during yesterday's ministerial forum here in Nairobi.
This was a major area of concern highlighted at WSIS and it was interesting to note that in the six years since then, this has become an ever-increasing subject of importance. Indeed, hardly a day goes by without new reports of cyber attacks on governments, corporations, and individuals. Our concrete response was to launch the Global Cybersecurity Agenda, the GCA, in 2007. This is now on its operational -- in its operational phase with several global initiatives already implemented.
We are also doing important cybersecurity work within ITU standardization sector which provides an international platform for the development of the protocols such as systems and services that protect current and Next-Generation Networks, NGNs. With ITU study group 17 being the lead study group on security and identity management.
On the operational front, we are proud to have forged a strong and highly supportive relationship with impact. The international, multinational -- multilateral partnership against cyber threats, which is the world's first comprehensive alliance against cyber threats. Impact is a key organization fulfilling ITU's cybersecurity mandate in the operational sense in that it provides our 192 member states with access to expertise, facilities, and resources to effectively address cyber threats as well as assisting U.N. bodies in protecting their ICT infrastructure.
As I mentioned yesterday, 136 countries, 50 of them in Africa, are now part of the ITU impact operational deployment which assists member states in improving their cybersecurity through activities and projects, such as facilitating, free of charge, access to the Global Response Center, GRC, and facilitating the establishment of Computer Incident Response Teams, CIRTs.
As of today, some 30 countries have been assessed, and we are now moving to the implementation phase. We have also been working to deliver assistance to U.N. agencies following requests to help them in improving the security in their ICT infrastructures and the services delivered to the constituencies. Assessment and penetration tests were conducted for a number of U.N. specialized agencies, and coordination is currently in progress to provide cybersecurity solutions and capabilities to them.
The MOU signed between ITU and UNODC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, where, for the first time, two U.N. bodies agreed to develop a global approach in assisting member states in elaborating harmonized legal frameworks, also represents another historical step in fighting cybercrime globally.
Let me also briefly mention another very important ITU initiative concerning cybersecurity which is child online protection, or COP in short. With a globally coordinated approach to cybersecurity, we need to recognize the very real dangers being faced by children and young people online who often find themselves in cyberspace alone and unprotected. Often, this is simply because the guardians do not fully understand the risks. We therefore launched the COP initiative at a high-level segment of the ITU council in 2008 as a multistakeholder coalition and the DGC framework. COP was endorsed by heads of states, Ministers, and heads of international organizations from around the world, including Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General.
Since then, we have established an international collaborative network for promoting the online protection of children worldwide, created and published guidelines for all the different stakeholders and published child online protection statistical framework and indicators. With our patron Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, the COP initiative is now working to transform the COP guidelines into concrete activities which will deliver significant national benefits.
Ladies and gentlemen, before I close, let me say once again that ITU has been and will continue to be an active participant in the IGF process. As I mentioned, we have co-organized events on a range of topics such as cybersecurity, including child online protection, accessibility, and climate change. We have also provided funding to support the participation of aspects from developing countries through a generation donation from the Canadian government, and I wish to thank them one more time.
We remain committed to working with all the stakeholders, and we are pleased to be able to offer a forum for open discussion of those issues.
In closing, let me mention two very important events, one taking place at the end of next year and the other taking place just next month.
The event taking place next year is the World Conference on International Telecommunications, or WCIT, which I discussed briefly yesterday at the ministerial forum. WCIT will revise the International Telecommunication Regulations, the ITRs which were last updated a very long time ago, in 1988. Let me emphasize here that ITU's members do not want heavy-handed regulation and a return to the old days of accounting rate and government controlled communications, but we do want harmonization and agreement between members.
There is clearly a need for coordination and consultation between agencies at both the national and international level, including private sector, civil society, and users groups.
If we are to sustain growth in the massively interdependent global digital economy in the 21st century, WCIT needs to find a win/win solution -- solutions for the future development of the whole ICT sector. And of course the event taking place just in a few weeks in ITU, which is ITU telecom world 2011, which marks the 40th anniversary of this landmark event, I expect and hope to see you all there to continue shaping the future of the global ICT sector, which, of course, in the second decade of the 21st century means shaping the future of the world itself.
This meeting, the IGF, brings together a unique, broad mix of stakeholders from all sectors, and let me therefore use this opportunity to issue you with a challenge. A challenge which can be carried through the next year and beyond.
Let us all, each and every one of us, commit to making the world a better place through increased equitable and affordable access to the Internet.
At this crucial time in human history, this is the very least we can do.
Let's make the world a better place for all.
Thank you very much.
>> Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, allow me to welcome Honorable Samuel Poghisio to give his speech and welcome his excellence, the vice president.
>>HON. MR. SAMUEL POGHISIO: Your Excellency, Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, Dr. Kalonzo Musyoka, Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the ITU, Vice President of the European Commission, Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Steltzer, Director-General of the U.N. office in Nairobi, Your Excellency ministers, ambassadors, members of Parliament, Parliamentary secretaries, chair of the 200 2011 IGF U.N. agencies, chief executive officers, industry representatives, civil society representatives, distinguished guests, all our friends, ladies and gentlemen.
I'm, indeed, honored to welcome you all here during this meeting of the U.N. Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi. We feel greatly honored for Kenya to be hosting this important event.
I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to all delegates for accepting our invitation to participate in this year's sixth U.N. IGF meeting in Nairobi.
This being the first time an IGF is being held in a sub-Saharan country, we welcome the development focus of this forum, but also welcome other issues or themes that are equally important and are going to be discussed at this forum.
This forum comes at a time when Kenya is focused on becoming a knowledge economy and creating a new hub of industrial and financial activities on the continent of Africa.
Your Excellency, our vision for the knowledge and Information Society posits sustainable economic development, international competitiveness, improved standards of living, and equitable income distribution among our citizens, in line with our vision of 2030 and the World Summit on Information Society and the Millennium Development Goals.
We are, therefore, implementing various policy initiatives and programs to facilitate the development of ICT infrastructure, in particular, and the sector in the overall.
Your Excellency, Kenya is proud of the enormous growth of the ICT sector.
As we speak, there are 26 million Kenyans who subscribe to a mobile telephone. That represents 20 -- 65% penetration.
The number of Internet users, Your Excellency, is estimated at 11 million, up from 3 million only three years ago at the landing of the undersea fiberoptic cable.
Your Excellency, mobile phones will continue to boost Internet penetration to enhance business efficiency and lay a firm basis for employment creation, particularly among the youth who are involved in the software application development, among other activities.
The faster Internet speeds also pave the way for the launch of e-solutions, which can be applied to the health, education, agriculture, and other sectors of our economy. These indicators prove that a lot of attention needs to be paid to the mobile Internet and also prove that Kenya is closer to the critical mass needed for business and service to thrive.
Through investments in the fiberoptic cables we now have abundant broadband for national development. Kenya is currently connected to three submarine fiberoptic cables, with plans for a fourth cable by France Telecom expected to land later this year or early in the year. Increased access to faster broadband will continue to enhance our e-government initiatives aimed at the available -- valuable government services to all citizens.
We recognize that access to knowledge, information, and communication is crucial in the development of any country, and so we launched the open data portal to further give the ongoing reforms the necessary impetus to make core government development data and information available to the general public and mobile telephony and it will, indeed, enhance access to this open data portal.
We also have several initiatives to encourage the development of local, relevant content.
With all gains we continue to make in the ICT sector, we also are faced with several challenges. Universal access is still a challenge, as it evolves from universal access to telecommunications becoming the integral part to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
While mobile Internet continues to present unique opportunities, there are several challenges, among them the need to strengthen security and privacy to mobile Internet users as the mobile phone becomes not only a communication tool but also a banking tool for many of Kenyan citizens.
In addition, we recognize that cloud computing and social networking are important technologies and tools which need to be appropriately harnessed while also guarding against their abuse.
Your Excellency, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, we have been promoting awareness, development of legislation and enforcement, as well as encouraging development of technologies to protect children online and aiming to adopt legislation for protection of personal information and framework for cybersecurity.
Kenya is currently in the process of finalizing the establishment of our national CIRTs. With these developments and challenges, the Internet and its governance will continue to remain an issue of focus, and only Kenya -- not only for Kenya, but also for our region.
We are therefore very keen to continue to engage in global Internet governance and policy processes, and towards this end, we established the Kenya steering committee on Internet governance which will continue to engage with the various processes of national, regional, and global levels.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, indeed, the IGF multistakeholder model has provided opportunities and a platform for various stakeholders to discuss sometimes quite challenging policy and political issues. We encourage consideration for increased support for the IGF that goes beyond just multistakeholder dialogue to include financial support for its activities as well as support for full engagement of stakeholders from developing countries to ensure relevance and diversity in participation and contribution in order to enrich the global Internet governance policy processes.
The Internet is, after all, a global resource and a key infrastructure for development, so all stakeholders need to provide -- to prove that much-needed support for the sustainability of this model.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, in Kenya, we have set up the Kenya Internet Governance Steering Committee, again, which is a multistakeholder committee to coordinate Kenya's input into the various Internet governance-related policy issues, including, but not limited to, the IGF, ICANN, and others. Kenya will continue to participate actively in all these processes.
I am confident that the -- this year's IGF will be a great success, and wish all of you a very fruitful deliberation, and also ask that you find time to enjoy the beautiful country that Kenya is.
Thank you very much.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, join me in welcoming His Excellency, the vice president, to come and give the keynote address for this opening ceremony. Thank you very much.
>>H.E. KALONZO MUSYOKA: Thank you Minister Samuel Poghisio. Madam Zewde, Director General of the United Nations offices at Nairobi, Assistant Secretary Thomas Steltzer, Secretary-General International Communication Union, Dr. Hamadoun Toure, excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Karibuni Kenya. I'm not sure what you think of that. Probably Greek or Chinese? But that is in our national language the welcome that I wish to issue to you here in Nairobi today.
You will hear words like "hakuna matata." There's absolutely no trouble. So please consider yourselves at home, away from home.
And I'm particularly pleased to be able to join Minister Poghisio and all of the others who have spoken before me in also welcoming you to this sixth United Nations Internet Governance Forum.
This timely forum does provide a good opportunity for I.T. experts from across the world gathered here to take stock of the developments that have taken place in cybersphere in recent years and their implications to the future of the.
Sector. More specifically, the forum will now doubt shed light to ways in which the Internet will become the watershed of ideas that will determine how effectively human capital, talent, skills, and other resources can provide solutions to challenges facing mankind.
That being the case, the theme of the conference "Internet as a Catalyst for Change, Access, Development, Freedom, and Innovation," could not have been pursued at a more opportune moment.
Most critically, given the growth literally in leaps and bounds of the Internet in recent years, it is crucial now, more than ever before, to seek deeper understanding on how best to pursue Internet governance.
I heard from the Assistant Secretary that last year alone, some 300 billion SMSs were actually communicated and I'm sure that that figure could go well into the trillions.
On the overall, I'm delighted that for the last five years since this forum was initiated, the level of engagement among stakeholders in the world of the Internet has been commendable. I therefore have no doubt that this forum will open up new frontiers that will keep the progressive momentum whilst providing generic I.T. interfaces across disciplines and specializations.
It is no longer tenable to underestimate, let alone ignore, the potential of the Internet and related technologies to transformative tools -- as transformative tools that invariably shape the democratic character of any society.
Over the years, the Internet has become an essential tool in propagating social change and transforming economies and development across the board.
The net is a unique information and education resource, and essential, too, for the conduct of commerce, a driver of innovation, and an amazing catalyst for employment.
In certain instances, the Internet has been instrumental in the design and deployment of efficient administrative systems and access to public, as well as official, information.
Similarly, where and when the power of the Internet has been put to cutting-edge use, it has led to the restoration of public trust in political processes.
In my view, therefore, the net is an indispensable facet of modern-day life.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, access to knowledge, information, and communication is critical to the development of any country, and with this in mind, such initiatives as the open data portal can give great impetus to public participation in translating government data and information into a reservoir of development ideas.
This significant development creatively interfaced with mobile telephony can achieve enormous results in record time and to a great majority.
Already, the growth of mobile telephony has greatly improved accessibility to the Internet in Kenya and, indeed, around the world.
The impact continues to have dramatic effects, including the overwhelmingly successful mobile telephony cash transfer platform which has been referred to as M-Pesa, pioneered here in Kenya just a few years ago.
Clearly, the boundaries of mobile telephony have been stretched to -- by innovation to limits that have resounding ripple effects, whose net value by far supersedes imaginable technological possibilities over half a decade ago, the precise point in time when the first Internet governance forum was held.
Therefore, as leaders in Internet technologies, we have no excuse to delay the expansion of space for such services as mobile money and micro-insurance through Internet access. And more so by mobile telephony technology.
In Kenya, we have made some strides -- some call them great strides -- towards making Internet accessibility readily and cost-effectively available to every region in our country.
This has been made possible, as you have heard from Minister Poghisio by installation of three undersea fiberoptic cables along the coast of east Africa. Consequently, fiber connectivity via long distance wireless communication technologies such as WiMax and 3G has increased Internet access tremendously.
Still, I encourage more initiatives and partnership on the use of the Internet for development purposes, and in particular in areas such as healthcare and in education.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, cybersecurity is a multistakeholder issue which requires collaborative and coordination between governments -- collaboration, I beg your pardon, and coordination between governments, regional, and international organizations, industry, technical community, civil society, and other stakeholders.
I call upon all stakeholders to pay special attention to protect children online as well as to develop ways to address other forms of attacks against the integrity of infrastructure, networks, and services of the Internet.
As I conclude, I must commend the Kenya Internet Governance Forum, which is already active in representing Kenya in all Internet governance processes, and I want to particularly congratulate Madam Munyua for this leadership. I request --
>>H.E. KALONZO MUSYOKA: I request all such country-specific fora to consult more in between the scheduled annual events in order to ensure that this forum ultimately achieves more at the point of formal convening such as this.
It's now my pleasure to declare the Internet Governance Forum officially open and wish you fruitful deliberations.
I also join Minister Poghisio in inviting you to not feel restricted here in Gigiri. I know that Madam Zewde will wish to show you around but we still have things that we hold in trust for you, such as the world famous Maasai Mara. You just missed the great wildebeest event which is between the month of July and August, but there's still plenty that you can see around, including interacting with Kenyans, who are as open-minded as I'm sure you all have observed. Thank you very much.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, Your Excellencies. Can we please stay seated while the host government and the dignitaries depart. Thank you. SDS.
>>CHENGETAI MASANGO: Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, we'll just have a 15-minute coffee break, a quick coffee break, and then come back to start the opening session. Thank you.
And could we also try and be on time because we have a lot of speeches to go through. Thank you.
[ Break ]