"My vision is to lead an effective, efficient, and accountable BDT
focused on addressing the digital development needs of
Affordable and secure connectivity for all
Digital Transformation for fair and inclusive digital societies
Partnering to achieve digital development
Stephen is an effective and experienced organisational leader; an accomplished ICT regulator; a strong advocate for global digital development with a focus on SIDS; and a dynamic member of BDT’s successful team.
The past four years have seen a resurgence in BDT’s influence and achievements, which has brought immense benefits to ITU-D’s membership. As the current Deputy to the Director of the BDT, I have played a central role in the transformation of the BDT, and with my knowledge and proven experience I am ideally positioned to assume leadership of the BDT for the next four years.
As a Bahamian with roots in Trinidad and Tobago, my experience as a successful regulator in two small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean region, have afforded me a keen appreciation for the needs of developing states.
Affordable & Secure Connectivity For Us All
A person without affordable, reliable, and meaningful connectivity cannot participate in a digital world. BDT must advance the development of modern, secure, accessible, and affordable connectivity that reaches the 2.9 billion unconnected by 2030, as required for achieving the SDG targets. Moving forward, each additional connection we achieve will be more challenging than the last. Connecting the remaining unconnected will therefore require ever greater interventions by and collaboration amongst stakeholders to overcome the challenges we face.
As BDT Director I will continue our focus on Member States to support their development of ICT infrastructure and services, utilizing existing as well as new and emerging telecommunications/ICT services, technologies, and business models.
One clear lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic period’s forced acceleration of digital access and use has been an increased awareness of the dangers posed by cyberthreats. The need for the BDT to focus on its work in relation to cybersecurity capacity development and assistance is firmly recognised in the Kigali Action Plan’s fifth thematic priority.
We must, in assisting developing countries to expand their digital footprints, ensure that they are equipped with the policies and tools to protect their digital society. Of key importance is the need to protect critical infrastructure and services, and to protect the most vulnerable members of society, particularly children, in their online activities. Secure digital connectivity must also address the impact of disasters, including pandemics by building digital resilience through solid national plans and innovative recovery strategies for ensuring governance, business, education and social-life continuity.
Is My Goal
As BDT Director I will increase our focus on helping developing member states to develop and implement the tools to protect against all forms of cyberthreats. I will do this by ensuring that our resources and expertise stay at the cutting edge of technology through continuous development, and that they are focussed on the countries with the greatest need. Where appropriate, I intend to deploy BDT’s resources directly to the regions most impacted by these issues to ensure that assistance is available, relevant and knowledgeable about local and regional conditions. Through the ITU-D Study Groups, BDT will also ensure that we keep our experts at the cutting edge of technology so they deliver the best assistance to members.
Digital Transformation for fair and inclusive digital societies
The effective and safe incorporation of digital technologies into our lives will require more than providing access to a broadband connection. We must transform our people, our societies and our governments to meet, leverage and secure the opportunities that digital presents.
As BDT Director, I use the BDT Digital Transformation Wheel, powered by the ICT statistics we collect and the partners we have mobilised through P2C, to create a powerful ecosystem that we will leverage to target and multiply our ability to drive the digital transformation of our member states.
Under my leadership, BDT’s capacity building efforts will be enhanced and re-focussed to remain always relevant and accessible. I will also promote capacity building efforts that effectively leverage the expertise available to BDT through the other Bureaus and the General Secretariat, to ensure that our capacity building represents and reflects One ITU. We will continuously innovate new methods, approaches, and modalities, and will not hesitate to redefine ourselves, while respecting the tried-and-true methods that remain effective.
Enabling environments are essential for allowing sustainable digital development which leads to digital transformation. Working to advance the policy and regulatory environments in our member states to create such environments is a recognised strength of the BDT which must be maintained, while being adapted to meet the more holistic needs of today’s post-pandemic world. The policy and regulatory approaches we promote in Member States must account for the cross-cutting nature of digital technologies, ensuring that our member states are fully equipped to leverage all the opportunities of the digital age.
As BDT Director I will support and strengthen our work to create enabling regulatory and policy environments, through tools and forums such as GSR and the G5 Accelerator. I will also ensure continuous investment in our data and statistics products to ensure that the BDT is always able to provide membership with the critical information for decision making that is reliable, up to date, and customizable based on membership needs.
The digital divide continues to be a barrier to digital transformation and the promise of a thriving digital economy. The unconnected are often not defined by location or even social and economic capacity, but often by age, gender, race, differences in ability or special needs, digital skills, and other social constructs. To create a fair and inclusive digital society, a focus on digital inclusion is a necessity. BDT is already well recognised for much of its work to advance the position of disadvantaged segments of the society in terms of their digital access and use, and we must redouble our focus on this to address the remaining 2.9 billion.
As BDT Director I will continue to advance our digital inclusion efforts to create a fair, equitable and inclusive digital society. Girls in ICT Day and the EQUALS Global Partnership will continue to be cornerstones of our work to close the Gender gap, but we will find ways to enhance these with new innovative advocacy efforts such as the Network of Women in ITU-D and through partnerships with international organisations and advocacy groups.
I will advance and advocate for the principles of youth participation, engagement, and empowerment through Generation Connect, and increase opportunities for employment of youth within ITU, through internships, exchanges, and other programmes for young professionals. I will prioritise BDT’s capacity building programmes and initiatives for youth, and will partner with relevant international, regional and local organisations to enhance the reach of our work.