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A Trusted, Connected Digital Future

Doreen Bogdan-Martin

Candidate for the post of Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union

Doreen’s Vision

I offer my candidacy as Secretary-General of ITU. I envision an organization at the forefront of global efforts to meet connectivity needs and expand digital opportunities for all people. I will work tirelessly to strengthen ITU as an increasingly forward-looking, fact-based, impact-driven, results-focused, transparent, and responsive organization. We will be ‘fit4purpose’ to lead our Members into the digital future.

My vision for ITU has three complementary pillars:

1) Aiming high to achieve universal digital connectivity, that is safe, inclusive, and affordable;

2) Collaborating for impact to transform delivery;

3) Excelling as an institution with integrity and accountability.

Doreen’s Vision Statement is available in these languages:

Aiming High
on universal connectivity

An ITU that enables safe, inclusive, and affordable access to the internet for all by 2030

As Secretary-General, I will ensure that ITU adds transformative value in the mission to bring the unconnected online. Connectivity is central to achieving the UN Common Agenda 2030 – it is the essential catalyst and means of delivery for the targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We must deliver universal connectivity underpinned by resilient and secure networks for the 3.7 billion people still off-line. This is at the heart of my vision for our organization. The work of ITU’s Bureaus on the harmonization of radio spectrum and on the development of international standards for high quality networks and services will be fundamental. So will our work on effective regulatory practices that attract investment and ensure competition. We will be relentless in our pursuit of universal connectivity.

My track record includes:

  • Directing the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development advocating universal, affordable broadband;
  • Brokering major joint initiatives with UN and donor agencies and private sector partners, e.g., ITU/UNICEF school connectivity program (Giga), and Digital Transformation Centers;
  • Leading Equals Partnership Secretariat tackling the digital gender access, skills and leadership divide;
  • Strengthening our regulatory and policy engagements with demonstrated results (e.g., ITU/World Bank Digital Regulation Toolkit and Platform) and data collection and analysis (e.g., launched Measuring Digital Development series and Digital Development Dashboards).

Aiming High
on shaping our digital future

An ITU at the vanguard of thought leadership on new and emerging technologies

As a UN organization, ITU should be a thought leader and reference resource in shaping humanity’s increasingly digital future. As Secretary-General, I will build ITU’s expertise on, and readiness to harness, the best of digital innovation and safeguard against potential harmful impacts. We must be at the vanguard of understanding transformational technologies such as 5G and then 6G, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning. ITU will bring future-oriented design thinking and co-creation to our products and services. I will strengthen advisory services to Members to facilitate responsible deployment of high-speed networks. Stepping up to the future requires leveraging ITU’s ability to convene stakeholders globally and inclusively, integrating voices of developing countries, women and girls, youth, and civil society into our action plans to ensure they have a voice in shaping the digital future.

My track record includes:

  • Launching the design of an International Center for Digital Innovation;
  • Conceiving an ITU-wide Youth Strategy for and by youth including an intersectoral youth task force;
  • Launching Generation Connect Board to drive youth engagement and conceptualizing Global Youth Summit to precede the World Telecommunication Development Conference;
  • Improving coherence amongst programs to ensure they produce useful evidence-based, forward-looking technical and policy guidance.

Aiming High
in building agility and resilience

An ITU ready for challenge and complexity

ITU requires agility to respond to unforeseen world events and adapt to disruptions to the organization itself. The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for urgent strategic preparation, action, and risk mitigation capabilities. It highlights the urgency of connectivity, interoperability of networks and services, efficient spectrum management, and regulatory collaboration within and among governments. As Secretary-General, I will ensure ITU has up-to-date operational readiness and business risk and contingency plans, including to support our Members when needed. I will establish a crisis team that engages in scenario planning, contingency planning and strategic forecasting exercises. We will have ready-response processes and coordinate these with our partner organizations. Our teams will be able to adapt to real needs as they evolve.

My track record includes:

  • Championing COVID response initiatives, policy measures, guidelines, and strategic partnerships to address urgent connectivity challenges;
  • Updating emergency telecommunications guidelines for epidemic preparedness;
  • Creating the Global Network Resiliency Platform (REG4COVID) to compile measures taken to help communities remain connected during the pandemic;
  • Launching CYB4COVID, a platform of cybersecurity resources;
  • Redeploying staff (as BDT Director) and making temporary assignments during the pandemic to support the needs of members and maintain business continuity, staff morale and engagement with Members.

Collaborating for Impact
through partnering with others

An ITU that combines its strengths in partnerships with other organizations to strategic effect

We must capitalize on ITU’s unique combination of public and private sector membership and rich inter-organizational relationships. As Secretary-General, I will continue to pursue effective global partnerships for the organization, as I have done as Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau. We will practice a culture of collaboration, including with outside investors, operators, technology companies, standard setting institutions, development banks, and expert bodies. We will partner with Members, leverage their expertise and resources, mobilize new resources, and pursue new voluntary and in-kind contributions. I will draw on my connections and experience developing partnerships to identify, expand, and deepen ITU’s relationships with key stakeholders – as well as support the regional offices and Bureaus in their partnership endeavors. This will improve our effectiveness, influence, and efficiency.

My track record includes:

  • Brokering 50 new partnerships with the private sector, development banks and donor agencies, attracting yearly commitments of almost USD 15 million to advance digital development;
  • Launching the Road2Addis series of collaborative connectivity dialogues amongst all stakeholders and the Giga school connectivity project with donors and UNICEF;
  • Leading the Connect2Recover initiative focused on action for affordable and reliable connectivity as part of COVID-19 recovery;
  • Co-leading the Digital Development Joint Action Plan and Call for Action with the World Bank, World Economic Forum and GSMA.

Collaborating for Impact
by fortifying from within

An internally coordinated ITU worth more than the sum of its parts

The ITU’s tripartite structure is one of its great assets, allowing for many initiatives on an array of topics to be responsive to countries and situations with differing needs. However, the Bureaus have greater impact with their resources and meet our Members’ needs better when they collaborate. For instance, we can and should make greater use of shared internal platforms and common procedures for ITU meetings and their preparatory processes. Our membership will welcome greater consistency and efficiency. As Secretary-General, I will lead the way looking for opportunities for collaboration among staff and teams across the Bureaus, and support the Bureaus in implementing these.

My track record includes:

  • Pursuing consistently cross-Bureau collaboration throughout my more than 25 years with the ITU;
  • Working closely as BDT Director to engage my fellow Directors in our projects and our work on innovation, youth, digital literacy, and digital cooperation issues;
  • Driving internal collaboration on annual WSIS Forum, gender equality, child online protection, and cybersecurity;
  • Participating in the Coordination Committee of the ITU’s five elected officials.

Collaborating for Impact
to deliver on the ground

An ITU providing value for Members in every region

Our regional presence is key to ITU’s mandate and mission – and has been a guiding aspect of my leadership in the organization. As Secretary-General, I will strive for a coherent, efficient, and expert regional presence that yields rewards in ITU Member countries. To demonstrate measurable and meaningful impact at a regional and national level, I will improve the regional distribution of resources to meet our Members’ needs. I will lead efforts to reduce duplication and improve coordination across the Bureaus. This will enable our regional staff to deliver high quality results faster, better and more transparently. We will be a trusted partner in regional and national projects with other organizations.

My track record includes:

  • Pursuing closer engagement among the regional offices as well as with HQ;
  • Ensuring major subject focus areas have representatives in each region and that we work together as one;
  • Strengthening our engagement with the UN and the UN country teams;
  • Initiating a comprehensive review to strengthen, empower, and increase relevance of ITU regional and area offices;
  • Delivering new tools to support member states, Last Mile Connectivity Solutions Guide, the Smart Village Blueprint, and Emergency Telecommunication Guidelines.

Excelling as an Institution
by sharpening our performance

A superb, efficient, results-based ITU producing clear outcomes

We must manage ITU’s human and financial resources with efficiency, transparency, and accountability. As Secretary-General, I will build on the organization’s results-based approach to professional management and our working methods. We will produce clear and measurable outcomes and communicate our results clearly to our Members, especially our conference outputs. I will hold the General Secretariat and each Bureau to high standards. We will ensure that our staff are the best in class, equipped with cutting-edge knowledge and future-focused thinking. Increasing diversity – geographic, gender, domain knowledge, and youth – in our workforce will help drive a culture of readiness and innovation across the ITU. The ITU will be a learning organization that invests in and supports our people, enabling them to better advise our Members.

My track record includes:

  • Instituting a Project Board to review and approve new projects, monitor and oversee timely implementation of our 70+ project portfolio;
  • Introducing a full Results-Based Management process together with the necessary training, clearly reflected outputs, and KPIs;
  • Creating management dashboards for real-time tracking;
  • Implementing an extensive upskilling program for staff on project management, resource mobilization, communications and results-based management;
  • Creating and supporting a network of BDT Change agents

Excelling as an Institution
by reinforcing governance

An ITU upholding high standards, and having the confidence of its Members and respect of its peers

Under my leadership as Secretary-General, ITU will honor the Constitution and Convention, report effectively and transparently to the Plenipotentiary and Council, bring forward well-considered proposals, and implement their directions and the Strategic Plan. ITU will serve as a well-prepared steward of its mandate, fiduciary responsibilities and resources. We will have the confidence of our Members and the respect of our peer organizations.

We will identify, propose, implement, and monitor measures across the institution that ensure our financial management and preparation systems are robust, and that our reputation is rock solid. As the leader of the ITU, I will ensure ethics is front and center. I will press for an uncompromising focus on integrity, respect, and impartiality at all levels and in every domain.

My track record includes:

  • Directing the Internal Controls Group to tackle weaknesses in governance, ethics and fraud detection, expert recruitment and compliance, financial and procurement procedures, and strengthening overall internal controls and procedures, reporting to Council;
  • Establishing a compliance dashboard within the BDT to track timely implementation of audit and other recommendations;
  • Directing and managing ITU conferences, serving as Secretary to the Plenipotentiary Conference, Secretary to the ITU Council, Principal advisor to ITU Secretary-General, Chair of the Gender Task Force and other roles;
  • Participating actively in the review of Governing Body decisions and tracking to ensure implementation.

My leadership approach and experience align with the vision I have set out above. I have been devoted throughout my more than 25 years with ITU to making meaningful connectivity accessible in all its forms. I have built long-standing relationships with our Members and other UN organizations, as well as with the private sector, financing institutions, civil society, and academia. I will continue to bring team spirit, honesty, openness, and the willingness to listen that will steer the ITU through its responsibilities and challenges. It would be my honor and privilege to serve this organization as its Secretary-General. I ask for your confidence and your support on this important journey.

Learn More about
Doreen Bogdan-Martin

U.S. Department of State

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