ITU is the United Nations specialized agency
for telecommunications and ICTs and, as such, is the focal point within the UN system for initiatives and activities in
relation to ICTs. One key example of ITU's leading role in international cooperation was the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS), held in two phases in 2003 and 2005. World leaders, policy-makers and stakeholders of all
backgrounds convened to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with the growth of the global information
Strategic Goal One
Maintaining and extending international cooperation among all Member States and with relevant regional organizations for the improvement and
rational use of information and communication infrastructure of all kinds, taking the appropriate leading role in United
Nations systems initiatives on ICTs, as called for by the relevant WSIS outcomes.
The Summit was held under the patronage of the UN Secretary-General, with ITU taking the lead managerial role, in
cooperation with other stakeholders and partners. The Geneva phase in December 2003 resulted in a Declaration of
Principles and Plan of Action, setting out a vision for the future development of the information society. However, key issues in implementation and Internet governance remained unresolved. The Tunis phase in November 2005 resulted in the Tunis Commitment and Tunis Agenda for the Information Society as a clear basis for implementation. As a result of the momentum built during the WSIS, ICTs have moved up the
international agenda for development and are now a key priority for many governments. The integration of ICTs into the
mainstream development agenda will help ensure that progress is made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals by
Implementation of the WSIS
Since the successful conclusion of the Summit, implementation is being carried out by the
full range of stakeholders along eleven Action Lines. ITU plays a vital role as sole Facilitator of the Action Lines
with which it was entrusted - namely, “Information and communication infrastructure” (Action Line C2) to help bridge the
digital divide and “Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs” (Action Line C5). The two WSIS Action Lines for
which ITU is sole Facilitator are closely related with ITU's work towards its strategic goals “Bridging the Digital
Divide” and “Safeguarding Networks” - see Sections 4.2 and 4.4. As a leading facilitating agency together with UNESCO
and UNDP, ITU also ensures overall coordination and plays a central role in the organization of the annual cluster of
WSIS Action Line Facilitation meetings. As a rotating chair of the UN Group of the Information Society (UNGIS), ITU also
leads the collective effort to coordinate UN implementation of the WSIS outcomes.
In February 2007, ITU established a WSIS Task Force under the chairmanship of the Deputy Secretary- General to
ensure the effective coordination of ITU's strategies and activities in relation to WSIS.
Much of ITU's work aims to assist Member States in bridging national and international digital divides in ICT through
the promotion of more extensive and improved infrastructure for universal access. ITU also works to build capacity and
promote an enabling environment, whilst extending access to new and promising ICT applications. ITU continues to take
WSIS implementation very seriously and is fully committed to helping its Member States achieve their WSIS commitments by
Deputy Secretary-General, Chairman WSIS Task Force
World Radiocom Conference
ITU's mandate for international cooperation and collaboration continues. In autumn 2007, ITU
was host to the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07), preceded by the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly (RA-07).
Over 2 800 delegates representing 164 Member States and 101 Observers attended WRC-07 in Geneva, which culminated in the
adoption of revised and updated Radio Regulations to meet the ever-growing demand for radio-frequency spectrum. This
international treaty governs spectrum allocation to meet the global connectivity goals of the twenty-first century.
"2007 was a pivotal year for the Radiocommunication Sector. In addition to the traditional tasks of the Radiocommunication Bureau supporting coordination and notification procedures for space and terrestrial services, we were confronted with a very high workload from the implementation of the RRC-06 decisions on digital broadcasting and the task of preparing the two most important events in the sector, the Radiocommunication Assembly and World Radiocommunication Conference.
It is with considerable satisfaction that I may state that both events proved highly successful, as they took important
decisions securing the future of wireless for many years ahead, which were supported by all the participants."
Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau
WRC-07 also addressed other issues in terrestrial and satellite radio services, including meteorological applications,
aeronautical mobile services, digital broadcasting and emergency communications. It revised the Fixed-Satellite Service
(FSS) Plan for communications, television and the Internet. The revised Plan will facilitate access to spectrum and
orbit resources for FSS systems. WRC-07 also successfully reviewed international regulations relating to maritime mobile
services, including distress and safety transmissions.
Another key outcome of global importance was RA-07's decision to add WiMAX-based technologies to the IMT (3G) set of
wireless standards, paving the way for the deployment of voice, data and multimedia services to stationary and mobile
devices at higher speeds across wider areas. Significantly, this decision opens the door to wireless networks to areas
that are currently too remote or too costly for carriers to reach. “IMT-Advanced” was agreed as the name of the future
generation of mobile broadband (“4G”) radio technologies that could be commercially available as early as 2011, subject
to market demand.