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WSIS FORUM (GENEVA, 25-29 MAY 2015) - Policy Statement - GREECE of the Secretary General of Telecommunications and Post of the Hellenic Ministry of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism. Mr. Dimitris TZORTZIS
WSIS FORUM (GENEVA, 25-29 MAY 2015)
Policy Statement - GREECE of the Secretary General of Telecommunications and Post of the Hellenic Ministry of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism. Mr. Dimitris TZORTZIS
Dear Secretary General, Mr. Zhao,
Dear Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Johnson,
Dear Chair, Ms. Gaj,
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be here today as an active participant to the WSIS Forum. I would also like to thank to you all for honouring Greece, for 2nd time, with 159 votes, for the Council. The multistakeholder approach provides, indeed, a unique opportunity for all stakeholders, whether they come from the government, the private sector, civil society or international organisations, to sit together and co-shape an agenda regarding global ICT policies.
The Greek government views this process of policy osmosis as the essence of WSIS and I would like to take the opportunity of my participation to this forum to express my government’s strong commitmentto the principles of participation, transparency, openness and accountability as the core elements of our information society policy. In addition, I would like to stress out our commitment to a model of development that is inclusive and sustainable, technology and innovation focused, with emphasis on the improvement of our people’s well being, education and health.
This approach is founded on the highly skilled and educated workforce Greece has in the area of ICTs. Greece has a vast diaspora of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs in many fields. We consider the ICT industry a key Greek “product”, along with Tourism, Maritime and Agriculture. Actually, in the 21st century, Greece’s Hi-Tech exports have surpassed virgin olive oil by a factor of 5:1. The total ICT ecosystem (SMEs and inno-clusters) contributes with near 2b euros to the Greek economy, with a number of 20,000 scientists involved.
A best practice is the “Synergies” example, which is a network of 5 Industry Associations (development/design centers), in the areas of Aerospace, Microelectronics, Mobile Apps, Bio-Informatics and Gaming, occupying over 8000 employees worldwide: highly skilled scientists, engineers & experts.
ICT policies are for the Greek government a means to an end; not a self-contained policy.
But what is this end, this policy objective we are trying to achieve?
Greece has been and is still going through the most severe crisis in its recent history. However, we strongly believe we can turn this crisis to an opportunity and to unleash the potential of the Greek people and enterprises.
How do we plan to do that?
Our first goalis to deploy the power of the public sectorto influence the Greek ICT market in order to direct it toward a more innovative, sustainable, inclusive and extrovert direction. This means we want to invest in know-how, skills, Greek Intellectual Property, Open Technologies and Education. We want to reduce box-moving and increase capacity building. We will use our public procurement processes in order to support public sector innovation and the development of national, but extrovert, knowledge capital.
Our second goal is to increase transparency in the operation of the private sector in Greece. We are in need for a more open operation of the ICT market. Open to small, innovative and extrovert enterprises that wish to compete both in the Greek and the global market. We implement this by increasing the transparency obligations of companies procuring goods and services to the public sector and by reducing barriers to the entry to digital market (e.g. through the introduction of e-payments incentives, the reduction of barriers in the posting of goods, simplification of licensing processes).
Our third goalis to support the improvement and expansion of digital infrastructures, such as Next Generation Access, following Connect 2020, in order to ensure that there is the basis for development of digital services in the most sustainable and cost-effective manner. In this context, we view as exceptionally important the role of truly independent and transparent regulatory authoritiesand we are working hard on a reform of our regulatory framework to enhance their independence and role.
Our fourth goal is to create a favorable environment for the transfer of knowledge both from Research Performing organisations to the public and private sector, and the other way around. This could be achieved through a holistic online and physical platform, which would bring together the whole ICT ecosystem and assist all stakeholders to create value through business acceleration programs, mentoring, technology transfer and access to financial support (VCs, etc). We envisage a platform that will act as the ITU ICT Hub, where people from Academia, R&D Institutes, SMEs, Entrepreneurs, Innovation clusters, as well as external actors like VCs and other Funding Instruments, connect together in a way of mutual benefit for all. This is an effort that has a global reach and outlook. In this context we position our proposal for the establishment of the ITU-ICT-AGORAplatform, under RI EUR5 of ITU - and once again I would like to thank Mr. Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, who has been a strong supporter of our initiative.
I would like to end my intervention with a clear message on how we believe ICT policies should and could operate around the world: the way to support growth and development is not by slashing wages and destroying the social fabric. Instead, we need to use digital technologies in order to foster productivity, increase sustainability and deepen participation in the Information Society, so that we can build a better future for us and our children.