Workshop on Telecommunications for Disaster Relief
Geneva, 17-19 February 2003
The ITU-T aims to develop Recommendations that describe and define a telecommunication capability
that will facilitate the use of public telecommunication services and systems by authorities for
communications during emergency, disaster relief and mitigation operations. This capability, referred
to as the emergency telecommunications service (ETS), will enable authorized users organizing and
coordinating disaster relief operations to have preferential treatment for their communications via the
Public Telecommunications networks. Preferential treatment is particularly important because during
disaster events public telecommunication networks often experience infrastructure damage, which combined
with high traffic demands causes severe congestion and overload situations.
This workshop focused on the capabilities that have been identified as "telecommunications for disaster
relief" (TDR). The workshop was developed in response to a requirement identified at the June 2002
meeting of TSAG to make all ITU members aware of this area of work. The participation of the user community
and of other SDOs was sought so that work will proceed on the basis of a broad perspective of overall
requirements and activities in progress. However, as with all work in the ITU-T, there is a need for
the scope of the work to be established by contributions from both Member States and Sector Members.
It is appreciated that not all Member States address the concept of communications for emergency, disaster
relief and mitigation operations in the same manner. The workshop was conceived as a means of establishing
the potential for creating methods and mechanisms whereby such communications in one country could inter-operate
with similar concepts in another country and utilise similar priority and preference schemes. This again
emphasises the need for definitive contributions from Member States setting out their requirements and objectives
for this topic.
The specific objectives for the workshop were:
- Examine potential ETS capabilities operations and requirements that may need to be standardized.
- Improve the understanding of user requirements (e.g. governmental and international aid/humanitarian organisations)
- Provide an overview of technical work planned and underway.
- Examine and summarize the legal, regulatory and policy aspects associated with TDR.
- Prepare an action list for standardization and project management across ITU-T Study Groups.
The workshop was also open to participants who are not members of ITU.
The discussions were held in English only.
The workshop was audio webcast. To listen to the archives, please go to: http://www.itu.int/ibs/ITU-T/dr/index.html