Cairns, Australia, 19 March 2012
Distinguished colleagues and friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be with you today for this third APT preparatory meeting for WTSA-12 hosted by the Australian Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy. ITU Secretariat is pleased to be able to support this event.
I would like to thank APT Secretary General Yamada for his kind welcoming words and his excellent collaboration with ITU. I would also like to thank Seyed Mostafa Safavi for being our Chairman.
The Asia Pacific region is a major contributor to ITU-T. In terms of finance 25 per cent of Member State contributions come from this region and 24 per cent of the total private sector financial contribution to ITU-T.
The number of delegates from Asia Pacific increased by 45 per cent between 2009 and 2011, from 676 delegates in 2009 to 983 delegates in 2011.
I would like to thank all the members of this region for their extraordinary level of commitment to the work of ITU-T.
Last week ITU Secretariat participated in the first meeting of CJK since ITU signed an MoU with the major standards bodies of China, Japan and Korea: ARIB; CCSA; TTA; and TTC; and I was very pleased with the spirit of cooperation in the meeting.
As you know 2012 is a very busy and significant year for ITU.
We had a Telecommunications Standardisation Advisory Group meeting early in January. This was a very significant meeting establishing three new Focus Groups: Innovations and Standards; M2M; and network resilience. TSAG also decided on how to take forward the work of the Focus Groups on Smart Grids and Cloud Computing.
The World Radiocommunication Conference successfully concluded its deliberations in February with the signing of the Final Acts that revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.
Over 3000 participants, representing 165 out of ITU’s 193 Member States attended the four-week Conference, braving the extremely cold weather in Geneva. I am pleased to say we will not have to suffer such weather for the WTSA!
Now we have a series of regional meetings starting here this week, and another TSAG in July, to prepare for the WTSA-12 in Dubai beginning on 20 November.
I am very confident that we will have excellent facilities in Dubai thanks to UAE’s commitment: a fantastic conference centre, excellent weather, a wide choice of superb hotels, in the close vicinity at a very reasonable rate, a clean and safe environment, everything we need to ensure an excellent result.
Of course we also have the second Global Standards Symposium the day before WTSA on 19 November, and the World Conference on International Communications will follow it beginning on 3 December. We will be with you to discuss this conference later in the week.
The Global Standards Symposium is a one-day event where Ministers, Regulators, SDOs, CTOs and CEOs from the different regions of the world will discuss global ICT standards challenges, including e-health, ICT innovation in developing countries and resilience of networks to disasters, with a focus on bridging the standardization gap. The conclusions of the GSS will be presented to the first Plenary of the WTSA-12.
Circular letter No. 251 of 24 January 2012 has invited Member States and ITU-T Sector Members to propose candidates for Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of ITU-T study groups and the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) for 2013. The list of candidates is available here: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/wtsa-12/Pages/candidates.aspx.
Circular letter No. 252 of 15 February 2012 provided, among other items, information on
- Conditions for invitation and admission
- Draft structure of the Assembly
- Items for consideration by the Plenary meeting
- Submission of contributions
- Document distribution
- Tribute to former collaborators in ITU-T activities
ITU-T study groups will meet up to September 2012 and propose a set of new/revised Questions for WTSA-12 to review.
TSAG will meet from 2-4 July 2012. In addition, a virtual meeting of the ad hoc group on working methods will take place on Tuesday, 17 April and Wednesday, 18 April 2012
WTSAs enable ITU, as the only truly global ICT standards body, to review the global situation and adapt our priorities and work accordingly.
The last WTSA in Johannesburg was very significant in many ways: it was the first WTSA where the time limits on chairmanships came into effect so we had many new chairmen and vice-chairmen.
And WTSA-08 identified many new areas of work, such as climate change, cybersecurity, bridging the standardization gap, accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, and conformance and interoperability testing, and decided on a major restructuring of the Sector. It also initiated the new academia membership and the reduced membership fee for companies from certain developing countries.
Following WTSA-08 we prepared an Action Plan on the implementation of the decisions made and have regularly updated it. It is available on our website. I am pleased to report that we are well on the way to fulfilling the mandate given by WTSA-08 with many significant developments over the last three years, and especially in 2011.
My colleague Arthur Levin will give a more detailed presentation including some of the details on process and emerging topics shortly.
Standardization, as APT members are very well aware, is a complex business, and it is getting more complex by the day. But standards are essential for international communications and global trade.
Globalisation requires global standards, and a global standards body like ITU clearly has an increasing role to play. Global standards avoid costly market battles over preferred technologies, and for companies from emerging markets, they create a level playing field which provides access to new markets. They are an essential aid to developing countries in building their infrastructure and encouraging economic development. They can reduce costs for all: manufacturers, operators and consumers, through economies of scale.
I believe that following the decisions of the last WTSA, we have a fairly solid basis for meeting these needs and that this WTSA will be more of a consolidating conference. For example we have already received two contributions to TSAG proposing that the number of Study Groups remains the same.
That said, it is vital given the vast breadth of membership of ITU to regularly examine the ICT environment and understand best how to meet the challenges of the coming years and take into account the needs of all our members whether Member State, Sector Member, academic member, associate, developed or developing country.
In the past ITU members have made admirable decisions ensuring that ITU’s working processes are the most efficient available and that its work areas are the most important in order to meet the Union’s mission – to connect the world.
Decisions made at the last WTSA have taken into account the commercial realities for our members whether they are from rich or poor countries and have heralded a new era of converged communications.
To have maintained the level of credibility and importance that ITU has achieved over so many years is an incredible feat. In today’s complex ICT environment it is even more remarkable.
The reason for this is ITU’s historic ability to absorb and embrace the need for change, and always being willing to take on new challenges.
Much of the success for the last WTSA was due to the significant contribution and proposals from APT, and I am sure that your deliberations this week will again contribute to ensuring another very successful WTSA in Dubai this November.