Address to the ISO General Assembly
19 September 2007
Mr. Murby, President of ISO,
Mr. Bryden, Secretary-General of ISO,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. May I take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to
ISO on reaching its 60th anniversary.
It is an honor and a pleasure for me to speak here today on behalf of the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), one of your partners in the
World Standards Cooperation (WSC). Given the number of bodies, fora and
consortia involved in standards making these days, cooperation and
collaboration is the key to avoiding duplication of effort, and sharing
resources. We are fortunate to be located close together here in Geneva, and
of course we share a number of goals.
A major achievement earlier this year was the alignment of the IPR policies
of the WSC partners. Guidelines for the Implementation of this Common Patent
Policy and a Patent Statement and License Declaration Form were also agreed.
The move sends a strong message to industry that contribution of the fruits
of research and development (R&D) activity to the standards process can be
done safe in the knowledge that intellectual property rights are respected.
We also held a very successful joint workshop on the fully networked car at
the Geneva Motor Show. It was so successful that we will be running it again
at next year’s Motor Show.
I believe we share two major goals: to out reach to the developing
countries; and to involve universities and students more in our work.
As the only intergovernmental body dealing with telecommunication/ICT
standards, and the only one that is part of the UN family, ITU is blessed
with a membership of 191 governments (or Member States). However,
exceptionally for a UN body, it also has more than 700 business entities as
members (called Sector Members and Associates). Of course we rely heavily on
our industry members for the development of our standards, and in fact it is
the industry participants that in effect adopt all our technical standards,
which are then de facto approved by all 191 Member States.
Nevertheless there is a considerable and growing interest amongst the Member
States from developing countries in our standards work, and we now have the
major objective to bridge the standardization gap. That is to involve
developing countries more in the standardization process, and to extend the
benefits of standardization to developing countries. We will be doing this
through holding workshops in the regions, introducing new collaboration
tools to allow virtual participation in our meetings, organizing more of our
meetings in the regions, and establishing regional groups in cooperation
with the regional organisations.
In October next year ITU will hold its World Telecommunication
Standardization Assembly. The WTSA is the ITU standardization sector’s
highest decision-making body and meets every four years. WTSA will focus on
the structure of the sector, appoint the chairmen and vice-chairmen of our
study groups, and set the priorities for the following four years.
For the first time, the WTSA will be preceded by a one day event (on 20
October 2008) which we will call a “Global Standards Symposium” with a focus
on how to bridge the standardization gap. We will also be discussing how to
further global standards collaboration to achieve this objective. I look
forward to discussing with ISO how it might take part in this important
event and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to attend
as I am sure that the discussions will be of great significance to the
future of standards development.
ITU was given a significant role in the follow-up to the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS) and the ITU standardization sector contributes
considerably to ITU’s actions. ITU is the facilitator of the
multi-stakeholder efforts to implement the WSIS outcomes in the field of
communications infrastructure (WSIS action line C2), including quality of
service, reliability and telecommunication protocols; and in building
confidence and security in the use of ICTs (WSIS action line C5), including
cybersecurity and countering spam. We are also working on other action lines
including the multilingual Internet and many other new technologies to
support access to ICTs by those who are disabled in some way.
It is a very positive time and our members are very enthusiastic about
achieving our key priorities such as:
Much of our current standardization work relates to the development of
standards for Next Generation Networks (NGNs). NGN offers developing
countries the opportunity to jump several generations in technology, and we
are making efforts to ensure their requirements are taken into account, and
to explain the opportunities and challenges NGNs pose.
- bridging the digital divide, including through infrastructure projects,
capacity building and assisting our Member States in developing an enabling
- stewardship of the radio spectrum, through global treaties; the next World
Radiocommunication Conference will be starting here in the CICG next month
with over 2000 delegates;
- adopting international standards to ensure seamless global communications
- building confidence and security in the use of information and
communication technologies (ICTs). This is why ITU has launched the Global
Cybersecurity Agenda to foster a common understanding of the importance of
cybersecurity and bring together all relevant stakeholders to work on
concrete solutions to deal with cybercrime. As part of this effort we now
have on our website an ICT Security Standards Roadmap to support the
security standardization work by identifying existing published security
standards, standards that are in development, and areas where a need for
standards has been identified, both in ITU and other organizations including
ISO and IEC.
- emergency communications to develop early warning systems and provide
access to communications during and after disasters.
NGNs open up all sorts of exciting possibilities for innovation, which is
why we have chosen this title for our first kaleidoscope event with
universities next March. We are offering a considerable prize for the best
papers (thanks to Cisco sponsorship) and the winning paper will be published
in the IEEE proceedings. We are also looking at ways to facilitate
universities participation in our work. I am sure that here again we could
support each others efforts to outreach to universities.
ISO, IEC and ITU have enjoyed a good relationship for many years, and ITU is
committed to continue and develop this relationship. To conclude I look
forward during my four year tenure, to continuing and further developing our
collaboration in the WSC, together with the IEC, and I would like to take
this opportunity to thank ISO and its members for its commitment to the
global standards process and its willingness to collaborate with us to meet
the needs of the global community.
I wish you a very successful meeting.
Thank you for your attention.