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SECTION 1 – Study groups

1 Structure of study groups

1.1 Study groups shall observe strictly Nos 214, 215, 215A and 215B of the Convention.

1.2 To facilitate their work, the study groups may set up working parties, rapporteur's groups and joint rapporteur's groups to deal with specific Questions or parts of thereof.

1.3 Where appropriate, regional groups may be set up to study Questions or problems, the specific nature of which makes it desirable that they be studied within the framework of one or more regions of the Union.

The establishment of regional groups should not give rise to duplication of work being carried out at the global level by the corresponding study group, its subordinate groups or any other groups established pursuant to No. 209A of the Convention.

1.4 Joint rapporteur’s groups (JRG) may be established for the study of those Questions requiring the participation of experts from more than one study group. JRGs between study groups in ITU-D may be governed by these procedures. It is preferable to identify such procedures when creating such joint groups, with their terms of reference, with clear identification to whom they should report and where the final decisions will be taken.

2 Chairmen

2.1 Appointment of chairmen and vice-chairmen by WTDC shall be primarily based upon proven competence both in technical content of the study group concerned, and the management skills required. Candidates should represent a broad range of Member States and Sector Members.

2.2 The mandate of the vice-chairman shall be to assist the chairman in matters relating to the management of the study group, including substitution for the chairman at official ITU-D meetings or replacement of the chairman should he or she be unable to continue with study group duties.

2.3 Vice-chairmen may be selected as chairmen of working parties or as rapporteurs.

3 Rapporteurs

3.1 Rapporteurs are appointed by a study group in order to progress the study of a Question and to develop new and revised reports, opinions and recommendations. Rapporteurs may have responsibility for only one Question or topic.

3.2 Because of the nature of the studies, rapporteur appointments should be based both on expertise of the subject to be studied, and the ability to coordinate the work. Elements of the expected work done by the rapporteurs are described in Annex 5 to this resolution.

3.3 Clear terms of reference for the work of the rapporteur should be added to the corresponding Question, by the study group, if so needed.

3.4 One rapporteur and one or more vice-rapporteurs are appointed as appropriate by a study group for each Question. The vice-rapporteur automatically takes over chairmanship when the rapporteur is not available. Vice-rapporteurs may be representatives from Member States, Sector Members and Associates, the latter except for liaison activities.

4 Powers of the study groups

4.1 Each study group may develop draft recommendations for approval either by WTDC or pursuant to section 5 below. Recommendations approved in accordance with either procedure shall have the same status.

4.2 Each study group may also adopt draft Questions for approval by WTDC or in accordance with the procedure described in § 15.2 of section 3.

4.3 In addition to the above, each study group shall be competent to adopt guidelines and reports.

4.4 In cases where the implementation of the results obtained is through BDT activities, these activities should be reflected in the annual operational plan.

5 Meetings

5.1 The study groups and their subordinate groups shall normally meet at ITU headquarters.

5.2 The meetings of the study groups and their subordinate groups studying Questions should take place, to the extent possible, in the ITU-D regions, when invited by Member States or Sector Members, in order to facilitate the attendance of developing countries. Such invitations shall normally be considered only if they are submitted to WTDC, to TDAG or to an ITU-D study group meeting. They shall be finally accepted after consultation with the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) if they are compatible with the resources allocated to ITU-D by the Council.

Regional and subregional meetings offer a valuable opportunity for information exchange and for the development of management and technical experience and expertise. Every opportunity should be taken to provide additional opportunities for experts from developing countries to gain experience by participating in regional and subregional meetings which deal with study group work.

5.3 The invitations referred to in § 5.2 above shall be issued and accepted, and the corresponding meetings outside Geneva organized, only if the conditions laid down in Resolution 5 (Kyoto, 1994) of the Plenipotentiary Conference and ITU Council Decision 304 are met.

5.4 Subordinate groups may benefit from meetings held via teleconference or other alternative arrangements rather than at ITU headquarters or in a region. A request by a rapporteur for such a meeting should be submitted to and approved by the parent study group.

5.5 The dates, place and agenda for meetings of subordinate groups shall be agreed by the parent study group.

6 Participation in meetings

6.1 Member States, Sector Members, Associates and other entities duly authorized to participate in ITU-D activities shall be represented in the study groups and other groups in whose work they wish to take part by participants registered by name and chosen by them as representatives to make an effective contribution to the study of the Questions entrusted to those study groups. Chairmen of meetings may invite individual experts, as appropriate, to present their specific point of view, without taking part in the decision-making process.

6.2 The Director of BDT shall keep up to date a list of the Member States, Sector Members, Associates and other entities participating in each study group.

7 Frequency of meetings

7.1 The study groups shall in principle meet at least once a year during the interval between two WTDCs. However, additional meetings may take place with the approval of the Director of BDT, having regard to the priorities laid down by the preceding WTDC and the resources of ITU-D.

7.2 To ensure the best possible use of the resources of ITU-D and of those participating in its work, the Director, in collaboration with the study group chairmen, shall establish and publish a timetable of meetings well in advance. The timetable shall take account of such factors as the capacity of the ITU common services, document requirements for meetings and the need for close coordination with the activities of the other Sectors and other international or regional organizations.

7.3 In the establishment of the work plan, the timetable of meetings must take into account the time required for participating bodies to prepare contributions and documentation.

7.4 All study groups shall meet sufficiently in advance of WTDC in order to enable the final reports and draft recommendations to be disseminated within the required deadlines.

8 Establishment of work plans and preparation of meetings

8.1 After each WTDC, a work plan shall be proposed by each study group chairman, with the assistance of BDT. The work programme shall take account of the programme of activities and priorities adopted by WTDC.

The implementation of the work plan will, however, depend to a large extent on the contributions received from Member States, Sector Members and Associates, duly authorized entities or organizations, and BDT, as well as on the opinions expressed by participants in the meetings.

8.2 An administrative circular with an agenda of the meeting, a draft work plan and a list of the Questions to be studied shall be prepared by BDT with the help of the chairman of the study group concerned.

The administrative circular must reach the bodies participating in the work of the study group concerned at least three months before the opening of the meeting.

A registration form shall be appended to the administrative circular so that the bodies concerned can announce their intention to participate in the meeting. The form must then be returned to BDT as soon as possible. It shall contain the names and addresses of intended participants, or at least the number of participants expected if their names cannot be provided. This information will facilitate the registration process and the timely preparation of registration materials.

9 Study group management teams

9.1 Each ITU-D study group has a management team composed of the chairman, the vice-chairmen of the study group, the chairmen and vice-chairmen of working parties, the rapporteurs and vice-rapporteurs.

9.2 Study group management teams should maintain contact among themselves and with BDT by electronic means to the extent practicable. Appropriate liaison meetings should be arranged, as necessary, with study group chairmen from the other Sectors.

9.3 The ITU-D study group management team should meet prior to the meeting of the study group, in order to properly organize the coming meeting, including the establishment of a time-management plan.

9.4 A joint management team will be established, chaired by the Director of BDT, composed of the ITU-D study group management teams.

9.5 The role of the joint management team of the ITU-D study groups is to:

  • advise BDT management on the estimation of the budget requirements of the study groups;
  • coordinate issues common to study groups;
  • prepare joint proposals to TDAG or other relevant bodies in ITU-D if the need arises;
  • finalize the dates of the study group meetings;
  • deal with any other issue that may arise.

10 Preparation of reports

10.1 Reports of the study group's work can be of four major types:

  1. Progress reports
  2. Meeting reports
  3. Output reports
  4. Study group reports to WTDC.

10.2 Progress reports

The following list of items is suggested for inclusion in progress reports:

  1. brief summary of the status and expected contents of the output report;
  2. conclusions or titles of reports or recommendations sought to be endorsed;
  3. status of work with reference to the work plan, including baseline document, if available;
  4. draft new or revised reports, guidelines or recommendations, or reference to source documents containing the recommendations;
  5. draft liaison statements in response to or requesting action by other study groups or organizations;
  6. reference to normal or delayed contributions considered part of assigned study and a summary of contributions considered;
  7. reference to submissions attributed to collaborators of other organizations;
  8. major issues remaining for resolution and draft agenda of future approved meetings, if any;
  9. list of attendees at meetings held since the last progress report;
  10. list of normal contributions or temporary documents containing the reports of all rapporteur's group meetings since the last progress report.

The progress report may make reference to the meeting reports in order to avoid duplication of information.

Progress reports by rapporteurs shall be submitted to the study group for approval.

10.3 Meeting reports

Prepared by the study group chairman, the working party chairman or the rapporteur, assisted by BDT, the report shall contain a synopsis of the outcome of the work and emerging trends. It must also indicate items which require further study at the next meeting. The report should also refer to contributions and/or documents issued during a meeting, main results (including recommendations and guidelines), directives for future work (including referral of output reports to BDT for incorporation into relevant BDT programme activities as appropriate), planned meetings of working parties, if any, rapporteur's groups and other groups, and liaison statements endorsed at the study group level. A template for liaison statements is set out in Annex 3 to this resolution.

The report of a study group's first meeting in the study period shall include a list of the chairmen and vice-chairmen of working parties, if any, and of any other groups that may have been created, and of the rapporteur and vice-rapporteurs appointed. This list shall be updated, as required, in subsequent reports.

10.4 Output reports

Such reports represent the expected deliverable, i.e. the principal results of a study. The items to be covered are indicated in the expected output of the Question concerned. Such reports shall be limited to a maximum of 50 pages, with relevant electronic references as needed.

10.5 Study group reports to WTDC

10.5.1 The final report of each study group to WTDC shall be the responsibility of the chairman of the study group concerned, and shall be limited to:

  • a summary of the results achieved by the study group during the study period in question, describing the work of the study group and the outcome which resulted;
  • reference to any new or revised recommendations approved by correspondence by Member States during the study period;
  • the text of recommendations submitted to WTDC for approval;
  • a list of any new or revised Questions proposed for study during the next study period;
  • a list of Questions proposed for deletion.

10.5.2 The preparation of recommendations should follow the general practice of the Union. Examples include the recommendations and resolutions of WTDCs, and of the regional telecommunication development conferences. A recommendation should stand alone. Information may be annexed to the recommendations, in order to accomplish this. A model recommendation is set out in Annex 1 to this resolution.

SECTION 2 – Submission, processing and presentation of contributions

11 Submission of contributions

11.1 Member States, Sector Members, Associates, duly authorized entities and organizations, and the chairmen and vice-chairmen of study groups or other groups should submit their contributions to current studies to the Director of BDT.

11.2 Such contributions should, inter alia, deal with the results of experience gained in telecommunication development, describe case studies and/or contain proposals for promoting balanced worldwide and regional telecommunication development. To the extent possible, contributions should be submitted in a convenient electronic form.

11.3 In order to facilitate the study of certain Questions, BDT may submit consolidated documents or the results of case studies. Such documents will be treated as contributions.

11.4 In principle, documents submitted to the study groups as contributions should not exceed five pages. For existing texts, cross-references should henceforth be used instead of repeating material in extenso. Information material can be placed in annexes or supplied on request as background documentation. A form for submission of documents is set out in Annex 2 to this resolution.

11.5 Contributions should, as far as possible, be submitted to BDT in electronic format and the collaboration between study group members should be, as far as possible, by electronic means. BDT should provide all study group members with appropriate access to electronic documentation for their work, and promote the provision of appropriate systems and facilities to support the conduct of study group work by electronic means in all the official and working languages of ITU.

12 Processing of contributions

a) Documents for action

12.1 Contributions requiring action from the meeting under the terms of its agenda received at least two months before a meeting shall be published and distributed in time for the said meeting.

The Director of BDT shall assemble the documentation and, for those contributions received before the deadline, arrange any translation needed as well as disseminate this documentation to participants in the requested working languages before the date set for the meeting of a study group or other group.

When a document for action is large, and after consultation with the chairman of the study group or other group involved, it may be agreed that the Director shall send out the document without having it translated.

12.2 Documents originating from rapporteur meetings, excluding their output reports, which go to the study group meetings, and which are received not later than one month before the meeting, will be treated according to § 12.1 above.

12.3 Contributions requiring action from the meeting under the terms of its agenda received by the Director less than two months, but at least seven calendar days, before the opening of a meeting, will not be processed in accordance with the procedure outlined in § 12.1 above, and shall be published as "delayed contributions" in the original language only (and in any other working language into which they may have been translated by the originator). In addition, contributions which are not available to participants at the opening of the meeting shall not be considered.

12.4 Contributions requiring action from the meeting under the terms of its agenda received by the Director less than seven days before the opening of a meeting shall be considered as delayed contributions and shall not be entered on the agenda. They shall not be distributed but will be held for the next meeting. Contributions judged to be of extreme importance and urgency might be admitted by the Director in consultation with the chairman at shorter notice, provided that these contributions are available to participants at the opening of the meeting.

12.5 BDT shall not reissue delayed contributions as normal contributions unless the relevant group concerned decides otherwise in cases of special interest and importance. Delayed contributions shall not be incorporated in reports as annexes.

b) Documents for information

12.6 Documents submitted to the meeting for information only and not requiring any specific action under the agenda (e.g. descriptive documents submitted by Member States, Sector Members, Associates or duly authorized entities and organizations, general policy statements, etc.), as well as other contributions considered by the study group chairman, in consultation with the author, as being for information should be published, in the original language only, in a limited number of copies, for consultation. Delegates may ask BDT to provide them with a copy.

Information documents judged to be of extreme importance might be translated if requested by the meeting concerned.

12.7 A list of information documents, with summaries, should be translated to the extent possible.

c) Background documents

12.8 Reference documents containing only background information relating to issues addressed at the meeting (data, statistics, detailed reports of other organizations, etc.) should be available upon request in the original language only and, if available, also in electronic format.

d) Temporary documents

12.9 Temporary documents are documents produced during the meeting to assist in the development of the work.

13 Electronic access

BDT will electronically post all input and output documents (e.g. contributions, draft recommendations, liaison statements and reports) as soon as electronic versions of these documents are available.

Paper versions are to be dispatched as soon as printed to countries that have requested a paper copy; and a dedicated, constantly updated webpage shall be established as far as practicable for the meeting concerned.

14 Presentation of contributions

14.1 Contributions for action shall be relevant, clear, concise and comprehensive.

14.2 A cover page shall be prepared indicating the relevant Question(s), agenda item, date, source (originating country and/or organization, address, telephone number, fax number, and possible e-mail address of the author or contact person), as well as the title of the contribution. Indication should also be made as to whether the document is for action or for information and the action required, if any, and an abstract should be provided. A model of a sheet for submission of a document is set out in Annex 2 to this resolution.

14.3 If existing text needs to be revised, adequate indications should be given to identify the changes proposed.

14.4 Contributions submitted to the meeting for information only (see § 12.6 above) should include a summary prepared by the contributor.

SECTION 3 – Proposals and adoption of new and revised Questions

15 Proposal of new and revised Questions

15.1 Proposed new Questions for ITU-D shall be submitted at least three months prior to a WTDC by Member States and Sector Members authorized to participate in the activities of the Sector.

15.2 However, an ITU-D study group may also propose new or revised Questions at the initiative of a member of that study group if there is sufficient consensus on the subject. These proposals shall be submitted to TDAG for consideration.

15.3 Each proposed Question should state the reasons for the proposal, the precise objective of the tasks to be performed, the urgency of the study and any contacts to be established with the other two Sectors and/or other international or regional bodies. Originators of Questions should use the template/outline provided in Annex 3 to this resolution, in order to ensure that all relevant information is included.

16 Adoption of new and revised Questions by WTDC

16.1 At least two months before a WTDC, TDAG shall meet to examine proposed new Questions and, if necessary, recommend amendments to take account of BDT's general development policy objectives and associated priorities.

16.2 At least one month before a WTDC, the Director of BDT shall communicate to Member States and Sector Members a list of the Questions proposed, together with any changes recommended by TDAG, and make these available on the ITU website.

17 Adoption of proposed new and revised Questions between two WTDCs

17.1 Between two WTDCs, Member States, Sector Members, and duly authorized entities and organizations participating in ITU-D activities may submit proposed new and revised Questions to the study group concerned.

17.2 Each proposed new and revised Question should be based on the template/outline set out in § 15.3 above.

17.3 If the study group concerned agrees by consensus to study the proposed new and revised Question and some Member States, Sector Members or other duly authorized entities and organizations (normally at least four) have committed themselves to support the work (e.g. by contributions, provision of rapporteurs or editors and/or hosting of meetings), it shall address the draft text thereof to the Director of BDT with all the necessary information.

17.4 The Director, after endorsement by TDAG, shall inform Member States, Sector Members and other duly authorized entities of the new and revised Questions by circular letter.

SECTION 4 – Deletion of Questions

18 Introduction

Study groups may decide to delete Questions. In each individual case, it has to decide which of the following alternative procedures is the most appropriate one.

18.1 Deletion of a Question by WTDC

Upon the decision of the study group, the chairman shall include in the report to WTDC the request to delete a Question. WTDC may approve this request.

18.2 Deletion of a Question between WTDCs

At a study group meeting, it may be agreed, by consensus among those present, to delete a Question, e.g. because work has been terminated or because no contributions have been received at that meeting and at the previous study group meetings. Notification of this agreement, including an explanatory summary about the reasons for the deletion, shall be provided by administrative circular. If a simple majority of the Member States has no objection to the deletion within two months, the deletion will come into force. Otherwise the issue will be referred back to the study group.

18.3 Those Member States that indicate disapproval are invited to provide their reasons and to indicate the possible changes that would facilitate further study of the Question.

18.4 Notification of the result will be given in an administrative circular, and TDAG will be informed by a report from the Director of BDT. In addition, the Director shall publish a list of deleted Questions whenever appropriate, but at least once by the middle of a study period.

SECTION 5 – Approval of new or revised recommendations

19 Introduction

After adoption at a study group meeting, Member States can approve recommendations, either by correspondence or at a WTDC.

19.1 When the study of a Question has reached a mature state resulting in a draft new or revised recommendation, the approval process to be followed is in two stages:

  • adoption by the study group concerned (see § 19.3);
  • approval by the Member States (see § 19.4).

This process shall also be used for the deletion of existing recommendations.

19.2 In the interest of stability, revision of a recommendation should not normally be considered for approval within two years, unless the proposed revision complements rather than changes the agreement reached in the previous version.

19.3 Adoption of a new or revised recommendation by a study group

19.3.1 A study group may consider and adopt draft new or revised recommendations, when the draft texts have been prepared sufficiently in advance of the study group meeting so that it is anticipated that the draft texts in the working languages will have been distributed, in either paper and/or electronic form, at least four weeks prior to the start of the study group meeting.

19.3.2 A rapporteur's group or any other group which feels that its draft new or revised recommendation(s) is (are) sufficiently mature, can send the text to the study group chairman to start the adoption procedure according to § 19.3.3 below.

19.3.3 Upon request of the study group chairman, the Director of BDT shall explicitly indicate the intention to seek approval of new or revised recommendations under this procedure for adoption at a study group meeting when announcing the convening of the relevant study group meeting. The announcement shall include the specific intent of the proposal in summarized form. Reference shall be provided to the document where the text of the draft new or revised recommendation may be found.

This information shall be distributed to all Member States and Sector Members and should be sent by the Director so that it shall be received, so far as practicable, at least two months before the meeting.

19.3.4 Adoption of a draft new or revised recommendation must be unopposed by any Member State.

19.4 Approval of new or revised recommendations by Member States

19.4.1 When a draft new or revised recommendation has been adopted by a study group, the text shall be submitted for approval by Member States.

19.4.2 Approval of new or revised recommendations may be sought:

  • at a WTDC;
  • by consultation of the Member States as soon as the relevant study group has adopted the text.

19.4.3 At the study group meeting during which a draft is adopted, the study group shall decide to submit the draft new or revised recommendation for approval, either at the next WTDC or by consultation of the Member States.

19.4.4 When it is decided to submit a draft to WTDC, the study group chairman shall inform the Director and request that he take the necessary action to ensure that it is included in the agenda of the conference.

19.4.5 When it is decided to submit a draft for approval by consultation, the conditions and procedures hereafter will apply.

19.4.6 At the study group meeting the decision of the delegations to apply this approval procedure must also be unopposed. A delegation may advise at the study group meeting that it is abstaining from the decision to apply the procedure. This delegation's presence shall then be ignored for the purposes of this decision. Such an abstention may subsequently be revoked, but only during the course of the study group meeting.

Exceptionally, but only during the study group meeting, delegations may request more time to consider their positions. Unless advised of formal opposition from any of these delegations within a period of one month after the last day of the meeting, the approval process by consultation shall continue. If formal objection is received, the draft shall be submitted to the next WTDC for consideration.

19.4.7 For the application of the approval procedure by consultation, within one month of the adoption of a draft new or revised recommendation by a study group, the Director shall request Member States to indicate within three months whether they approve or do not approve the proposal. This request shall be accompanied by the complete final text, in the working languages, of the proposed new or revised recommendation.

19.4.8 The Director shall also advise Sector Members participating in the work of the relevant study group under the provisions of Article 19 of the Convention that Member States are being asked to respond to a consultation on a proposed new or revised recommendation, but only Member States are entitled to respond. This advice should be accompanied by the complete final texts, for information only.

19.4.9 If 70 per cent or more of the replies from Member States indicate approval, the proposal shall be accepted. If the proposal is not accepted, it shall be referred back to the study group.

Any comments received along with responses to the consultation shall be collected by the Director and submitted to the study group for consideration.

19.4.10 Those Member States which indicate that they do not approve are encouraged to state their reasons and to participate in the future consideration by the study group and its subordinate groups.

19.4.11 The Director shall promptly notify, by circular letter, the results of the above consultation approval procedure. The Director shall arrange that this information also be included in the next possible ITU Notification.

19.4.12 Should minor, purely editorial amendments or correction of evident oversights or inconsistencies in the text as presented for approval be necessary, the Director may correct these with the approval of the chairman of the relevant study group.

19.4.13 ITU shall publish the approved new or revised recommendations in the official and working languages as soon as practicable.

20 Reservations

If a delegation elects not to oppose the approval of a recommendation but wishes to enter reservations on one or more aspects, such reservations shall be mentioned in a concise note appended to the text of the recommendation concerned.

SECTION 6 – Support to the study groups and their subordinate groups

21 The Director of BDT should ensure that, within the limits of existing budgetary resources, the study groups and their subordinate groups have appropriate support to conduct their work programmes as outlined in the terms of reference and as envisioned by the WTDC's work plan for the Sector. In particular, support may be provided in the following forms:

  1. appropriate administrative and professional staff support;
  2. contracting of outside expertise, as necessary;
  3. coordination with regional and subregional telecommunication organizations.

SECTION 7 – Other groups

22 As far as applicable, the same rules of procedure for study groups in this resolution should also apply to other groups referred to in No. 209A of the Convention and their meetings, for example in respect of the for submission of contributions. However, these groups shall not adopt Questions nor deal with recommendations.

Annex 1
Annex 2
Annex 3
Annex 4
Annex 5


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