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Global Symposium for Regulators
Geneva, Switzerland
3-5 December 2001

The worldwide community of telecommunication regulators has called on ITU to be the repository of more specialized and readily accessible data and documentation on regulation and to continue the global dialogue amongst regulators. Regulators also asked that ITU develop guidelines and benchmarks for effective regulation including interconnect models, access charge agreements and a code of conduct.

The second annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) was organized around the theme of ‘effective regulation’ and sought support for affordable and geographically-accessible skill-building for regulatory staff particularly in the legal, economic and accounting fields.

"In many ways regulators are like a lighthouse shining a path of light into a safe and prosperous harbor," says Hamadoun Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. "It should come as no surprise that nearly half of the recognized telecommunications regulatory authorities in the world directly represent their country at the ITU, 51 at last count. In addition, four regulators are ITU sector members. This is a testimonial to the importance of the ITU as a neutral platform for regulators to converge, share and benchmark their experiences at the Global Symposium for Regulators."

The GSR attracted 369 delegates from 72 regulatory authorities and 21 sector members and other organizations representing a total of 102 Member States. The regulators present ranged from long-established agencies like the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the regulatory body of Latvia, which was created into existence only on December 1, 2002.

Anthony S.K. Wong, Director General of OFTA, Hong Kong, China chaired the meeting. Mr. Wong stated in his closing remarks that "regulators are enablers and facilitators. It is not enough merely to create a regulatory body; they must be given the tools needed to develop as effective regulators."

Maya Shankar Verma, chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and a keynote speaker adds, "GSR has proved itself again to be a useful and practical platform for regulators to discuss the pressing issues they are facing and to which they are seeking answers."

The GSR provided the opportunity for regulators to review the functioning of the electronic conference and hotline on the Global Regulators’ Exchange (G-REX), which was implemented as a result of last year’s symposium. G-REX has been well received by regulators. "It promises to reduce communication costs, create regulatory communities of interest and provide international visibility for the regulator," said Audrey Baudrier, of the French regulatory body Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART).

A consensus was reached to open the G-REX component of the conference on an experimental basis to learning institutions and consultants as a way of enriching the discussion. A steering group was tasked with reviewing the subjects presented on G-REX before the year-end and presenting action points to ITU’s World Telecommunication Development Conference to be held in March 2002 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Part of the conference was dedicated to the presentation of country case studies by the agency heads of Anatel, Mr. Renato Guerreiro (Brazil), Peru’s Ospitel, Mr. Jorge Kunigami, the Info-Communication Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Mr. Keng Thai Leong, Morocco’s Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ANRT), Mr. Mostafa Terrab (Morocco) and Mr. Cutherbert Lekaukau from the Botswana Telecommunication Authority. In addition, there were roundtable discussions on the regulators, institutional frameworks for regulation, transparency and fairness, regulatory functions as well as staffing and financing issues.

There was also a call for more case studies from stakeholders in the regulatory process, including private sector vendors, operators and investment banks, on their experiences with regulation. Overwhelmingly, regulators called for regional sub-groupings and regional aggregation of expertise to enhance the credibility and effectiveness of individual regulators’ decisions.

The first day of the symposium was open to the private sector. The remaining two days were reserved for the regulators and policy-makers, offering them the opportunity to discuss experiences, share their concerns and arrive at globally transferable solutions.

The third Global Symposium for Regulators will be held in Geneva in the fall of 2002.




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