Bahamas Elected to International ICT Council – CARICOM gains a stronger voice

– CARICOM gains a stronger voice

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is currently hosting its 20th quadrennial Plenipotentiary Conference (October 29 – November 16) at the Dubai World Trade Center in the United Arab Emirates.  Guyana is represented by Public Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes, as are several other CARICOM, Latin American and South American states that have sent emissaries.

In the first week of the conference, the Bahamas was elected to the ITU Council and the Radio Regulations Board which gives the Caribbean a stronger voice in the radio regulations arena, as well as the ability to influence decisions on broad telecommunications policies and strategies.

Representatives of most of the 193 member states of the ITU attended the three-week conference and during the plenary session, they elected a new Radio Regulations Board as well as the ITU Council to serve from 2019 to 2022. The Council is made up of 48 seats comprising representatives from Western Europe, the Americas, Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, Asia & Australasia, and Africa.

The spate of elections in the first week of this conference also included the posts of ITU Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), and Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT).

ITU recorded history by electing the first woman to an ITU leadership position in the Union’s 153-year history. The election of Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the USA to the post of Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) was a major step in the direction of bridging the digital gender divide, said the ITU.

Ms. Bogdan-Martin now sits on the five-person Executive for the next fiscal period (2019-2022). The Executive now comprises:

  • Mr. Houlin Zhao, People’s Republic of China, returned as Secretary-General
  • Mr. Malcolm Johnson, UK, as Deputy Secretary-General
  • Dr. Chaesub Lee, Republic of Korea, as TSB Director
  • Director of ITU’s Radio Communication Bureau

THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION … at a glance

ITU is the United Nation’s ICT body while the Council is its governing body. It comprises 48 member states. The ITU is a globally managed agency of the United Nations that is responsible for the development, management and standardization of information and communication technology (ICT). The ITU collaborates and coordinates the use of satellite orbits and radio spectrum, the interconnectivity of different technologies, and the creation of ICT standards.

The ITU was formed to achieve global interconnectivity through the development and advancement of ICT-based equipment and technologies. ITU interests and activities are distributed through the following key areas:

  • Radio communication Sector (ITU-R): Manages global radio communication, satellite orbits and derived technologies and services, such as wireless communication, broadband Internet, meteorology, TV broadcasting, and cellular communication
  • Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D): Organizes ICT/telecom events, seminars and workshops and works with the industry to develop telecom products and solutions
  • Telecommunication Standardization (ITU-T): Develops, implements and manages telecommunication standards

THE PLENIPOTENTIARY CONFERENCE

The Plenipotentiary Conference is the supreme organ of the ITU which elects its senior officials, the 48 members of its Council, and the 12 members of the Radio Regulations Board. It also determines the direction of the Union and its activities over the following four years.

The ITU Council ensures oversight of the Union’s activities, policies and strategies, manages Working Groups on specific topics set up by Plenipotentiary Conferences or by the Council itself, and prepares the draft ITU Strategic and Financial Plans for presentation to the Plenipotentiary.

COUNCIL MEMBER STATES ELECTED FOR 2019-2022

Region A — The Americas (9 seats) – Argentina; Bahamas; Brazil; Canada; Cuba; El Salvador; Mexico; Paraguay; United States.
Region B — Western Europe (8 seats) – France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Spain; Switzerland; Turkey.
Region C — Eastern Europe and Northern Asia (5 seats) – Azerbaijan; Czech Republic; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation.
Region D — Africa (13 seats) – Algeria; Burkina Faso; Côte d’Ivoire; Egypt; Ghana; Kenya; Morocco; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; South Africa; Tunisia; Uganda.
Region E — Asia and Australasia (13 seats) – Australia; China; India; Indonesia; Iran (Islamic Republic of); Japan; Korea (Rep. of); Kuwait; Pakistan; Philippines; Saudi Arabia; Thailand; United Arab Emirates.

RADIO REGULATIONS BOARD

ITU, through its Radio Communication Sector (ITU-R), and the Radio Communication Bureau, is the global authority responsible for the management of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. With the relentless expansion of wireless services worldwide, there are competing demands for a share of the radio-frequency spectrum to support new applications. The importance and relevance of ITU-R work is therefore increasing every day.

The Radio Regulations Board is a part-time body which comprises 12 members representing ITU’s five regions (see above).

This body approves the Rules of Procedure in application of the Radio Regulations, including those related to the assignment and use of radio frequencies, and the use of satellite orbits. It also serves as an Appeal Board in cases of dispute, and provides advice to World and Regional Radio Communication Conferences.