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ITU Plenipotentiary wraps up with broad agreement on core issues

25 октября 2010

ITU’s 18th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference draws to a close with delegates agreeing on ITU’s essential role in several key areas. ITU’s mandate has been strengthened in bridging the digital divide, strategies to accelerate broadband roll-out, and implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, and extending its involvement in areas such as better use of information and communication technologies to manage climate change and disaster response; conformance and interoperability; and accessibility for persons with disabilitis.

A last minute compromise saw consensus on a number of key Resolutions on Internet issues. The agreements strengthen and underline ITU’s commitment to work with the Internet community and extend the benefits of the Internet to all global citizens.

The Conference also agreed on ITU’s Strategic Plan 2012-2015, and adopted the Financial Plan for the same period. Both will help the Union implement the decisions of the conference during the next four years until the 2014 Plenipotentiary.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré told delegates that the Guadalajara conference had been one of the most challenging in the Union’s 145-year history: “I came to this 18th Plenipotentiary Conference with news of the extraordinary progress that had been made in ICT development in the space of just four years,” he said. “I am absolutely confident that when we meet again, in four years’ time, I will be able to report even more dramatic progress. And that this progress will be very much due to the work that has been done here, by you, in Guadalajara.

“ITU will continue to work with our Member States and Sector Members − and indeed stakeholders across the broader ICT sector − to face the changes in the ICT environment; to cooperate with our membership; and to protect the all-important principle of multilateralism and cooperation among the international community in the modern world,” he said.

The Conference met for three weeks from 4-22 October at the Guadalajara Expo centre under the accomplished chairmanship of Mr Fernando Borjón of Mexico. “Over the past three weeks we have found much common ground and strengthened consensus on many of the fundamentals,” said Mr Borjón. “While negotiations have often been tough, I have been inspired by countries’ and regions’ teamwork, and their willingness to fulfill the promise of access to information and communication technologies for all.”

Mr Borjón went on to praise delegates for their diligence and their staying power, recognizing that many were sitting through weekend and evening sessions from as early as the end of the first week of deliberations. “Plenipotentiary delegates showed openness in achieving consensus on extremely complex issues such as Internet public policy and international telecommunication regulations, as well as granting enhanced participation to Palestine as an ITU observer,” Mr Borjón said. “At the beginning of the conference, we faced a very long and arduous agenda. It is testament to this organization’s strength and spirit of internationalism that we have reached common agreement.”

The conference, which was hosted by Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transport, welcomed a total of 2,022 registered participants and observers from 167 ITU Member States, 42 Sector Members and observer organizations, including over 70 Ministers, 26 Deputy Ministers, and 35 ambassadors, making it the biggest event of its kind ever held in the city of Guadalajara.

It was opened on Monday 4 October by the President of Mexico Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, who was joined by Mr Juan Francisco Molinar Horcasitas, Minister of Communications and Transport, Mr Emilio González Márquez, Governor of the State of Jalisco, Mr Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, Mayor of Guadalajara, and other dignitaries.

Key Resolutions

As the supreme organ of ITU, Plenipotentiary Conferences are held every four years. Key Resolutions taken at this year’s event included:

  • The need for special measures to assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), in keeping with the Hyderabad Action Plan agreed by the World Telecommunication Development Conference in June 2010
  • The broadening of the Union’s membership base by opening Sector membership to academic and research institutions at a reduced annual cost of CHF 3,975
  • A new role for ITU as a global centre for technical conformance and interoperability assessment, testing, promotion and training, designed particularly to assist developing countries
  • The enhanced use of ICTs in tackling climate change
  • The stepping up of ITU’s activities in the area of emergency communications and humanitarian assistance
  • New rules on admission of Sector members from developing countries, including a reduction of fees
  • Measures to help prevent the illicit use and abuse of telecommunication networks through unauthorized calling and routing practices
  • New activities to gather and disseminate information concerning exposure to electromagnetic fields, in cooperation with other specialist organizations
  • The scope and role of the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications, planned for November 2012 to address the potential need for a review of the International Telecommunication Regulations
  • The need to put in place concrete strategies to stimulate deployment of broadband networks, particularly in developing countries
  • Efforts to bridge the standardization gap between developed and developing countries, to help technical experts from the developing world play a more active role in ITU standards development activities
  • Activities to promote digital inclusion for indigenous peoples
  • The decision to make some core ITU technical publications and all technical standards (Recommendations) developed by ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector available online at no charge
  • A new model for ITU Telecom World events, which from 2011 will be held annually, alternating between a fixed venue awarded via competitive bid, and alternative venues awarded via competitive bid, attempting to respect the principle of geographical rotation
  • ITU’s ongoing role in implementing the outcomes and action lines of WSIS
  • Assistance and support to Palestine in rebuilding its telecommunication networks, and enhanced rights of participation as observer in future ITU meetings and conferences
  • The need to assist developing nations with migration to IPv6 addressing
  • The decision to create a group to work on stabilizing the Constitution and Convention of the Union, with a view to creating a single coherent instrument subject to ratification by Member States that would not change at each Plenipotentiary Conference
  • ITU’s ongoing role in organizing the work on technical aspects of telecommunication networks to support the Internet
  • Improved Human Resources management and development within ITU, with a focus on more training and skills enhancement, and with providing ITU staff with clear career paths
  • The overall assessment of implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society
  • The creation of a new Independent Management Advisory Committee

Other discussions focused on:

  • Enhanced cooperation among the membership on international public policy issues related to the internet
  • ITU’s ongoing role in global cybersecurity activities and initiatives
  • Strengthening ITU’s regional presence to enhance the effectiveness of ITU programmes and activities
  • Preparations for the next Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014, which will be held in the Republic of Korea.

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