On 14 March, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao was granted an audience by Their Excellencies the Captains Regent, Mirco Tomassoni and Luca Santolini – the two heads of state of the Republic of San Marino. The following text was adapted from remarks delivered by Mr Houlin Zhao on the occasion of accepting the Republic of San Marino’s Knight of Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of Saint Agatha in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Political Affairs and Justice, H.E. Mr. Nicola Renzi.
I would like to thank the Republic of San Marino for presenting me with this award and thereby honouring the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in all its diversity and history.
It is a tribute to the role that ITU has played in shaping the advances of information and communication technology (ICT) for close to 154 years − from the telegraph to today’s Internet of Things, smart cities, artificial intelligence, 5G and other emerging technologies.
The Republic of San Marino has been an active and effective Member of our Union since 1994, and this year marks its 25 years of membership of ITU. Today, San Marino’s influence on the world of technology stretches well beyond its borders.
Substantial investments in strategic, high-level telecommunication infrastructure have been made over the past few years in San Marino. The cabling of the entire territory in fibre optic is well underway. And work is continuing on the construction of a public infrastructure for the provision of next-generation mobile services for private and commercial users.
San Marino also recently adopted several decrees to facilitate ICT development in the areas of new technologies such as blockchain and others.
These actions are in line with the decision made by ITU Member States at our Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai last November to promote an enabling environment for ICT-centric innovation by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), startups, incubation centres and young entrepreneurs.
I should point out that one of the most important areas of ITU’s work this year will be the international standardization of 5G, with our World Radiocommunication Conference next October in Egypt. There will be other major events, including the WSIS Forum and the “AI for Good Global Summit” that will take place in Geneva in April and May, respectively – as well as ITU Telecom World 2019 in Budapest next September.
Let us work together to facilitate ICT infrastructure development, provide better ICT services to the people, and deliver on the promise of the digital revolution.