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Welcome and Curtain Raiser for the 1st Regional Preparatory Workshop on WRC-15 and 3rd Saran Memorial Lecture

New Delhi, India, 14 March 2013

Special Address
Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour and pleasure to be with you tonight on the occasion of the Welcome and Curtain Raiser for the 1st Regional Preparatory Workshop on WRC-15 & 3rd P S Saran Memorial Lecture. I would like to thank the ITU-APT Association for taking this initiative and inviting ITU to participate.
Let me extend the apologies and good wishes for the Workshop of my dear friend and colleague François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radio Bureau, who unfortunately was unable to be with you for this event. However, our colleague Philippe Aubineau will be with you to assist you with the workshop. Thank you for extending François your best wishes, which I will be happy to forward to him.
Firstly I would like to congratulate Mr Mehrotra and VNL for its excellent contribution to the green agenda. ITU is doing a lot of work in this area, in particular to reduce energy consumption in the ICT sector, but also raising awareness of the potential of ICTs to reduce green house emissions in our industry sectors. We have a study group dedicated to environment and climate change, which also studies protection from radiation hazards. ITU looks forward to collaborating with the Indian government to address these concerns.
ITU divides the world into six regional groupings. India participates in the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) group. The APT Conference Preparatory Group for WRC-15 (i.e. the APG-15) met for the first time last year in Viet Nam to organize its activities and prepare its work plan for that Conference. The next meeting of APG-15 is planned to be held in July this year, so this workshop is organized at a very appropriate time for the preparation of the APG15-2 meeting.
We are very pleased to see that the WRC-15 Preparation at the national and regional levels has started without delay in order to consider regulatory and technical answers to future needs, as identified by the 18 new items on the WRC-15 Agenda, in addition to the other standing items on the Agenda.
This is indeed very much in line with Resolution 80 of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, which resolves to encourage both formal and informal collaboration in the interval between conferences with a view to resolving differences on items on the agenda of a conference.
This Resolution is in response to Resolution 72 of the WRC which resolves to invite the regional groups to continue their preparations for WRCs, including the possible convening of joint meetings of regional groups both formally and informally.
I am particularly proud of the successful of the regional preparatory activities, as I was very much involved in the promotion of this idea and Resolution 72 during WRC-97. These national and regional preparations are indeed now a key element of the success of the ITU Conferences.
Regarding the preparation at the ITU level, the ITU R studies on the WRC-15 agenda items started without delay immediately after WRC-12 with the first session of the Conference Preparatory Meeting held on 20-21 February 2012. Since then, good progresses have been made on several agenda items, which will be reviewed during the workshop tomorrow.
I will not go through them in detail, but let me just refer to some key topics of the WRC-15 agenda items (AI):
The need for additional and harmonized spectrum to facilitate the development of terrestrial (IMT – AI 1.1&1.2) and satellite (AI 1.10) mobile broadband applications, including those for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR – AI 1.3)* – thus highlighting once again the importance placed by our membership on the role of wireless in making broadband accessible to all;
Aeronautical issues will again be addressed for the further development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS – AI 1.5), as well as to support the implementation of wireless avionics intra-communications (WAIC – AI 1.17);
Likewise, maritime issues will be considered further for on-board communication stations (AI 1.15) and a new Automatic Identification System (AIS – AI 1.16), to enable new applications and improve maritime radiocommunications;
The eeds of scientific services will also be addressed, in particular regarding Earth exploration (AI 1.11 & 1.12) and space research services (AI 1.13), as well as for the feasibility of achieving a continuous reference time-scale (UTC – AI 1.14);
Finally, the needs for additional spectrum allocations will be studied to meet the increasing demand for satellite communications (AI 1.6 to 1.9), while ensuring that the regulatory procedures still facilitate a rational, efficient, and economical use of spectrum and orbital resources (AI 7).
This quick overview of the WRC-15 Agenda shows that the main trend influencing the near future of the sector is the increasing development of radiocommunication applications, and the importance of this evolution is very clear, not only for the development of the ICT sector, but also for economic and social development.
The radio frequency spectrum is a common, shared resource that requires and mandates common solutions in order to enable all citizens of the world to benefit from the advantages of interoperability, international roaming, as well as of economies of scale that stem from a worldwide market.
Two consequences can be drawn from this:
First, the need for global coordination to address legacy issues and facilitate the migration of networks using obsolete technologies towards new, harmonized frequency plans for use by mass applications. This will need to be an integral part of the studies at regional level and in the ITU-R study groups in order to achieve consensus on globally harmonised frequency plans;
And secondly, the need to make available “clean” spectrum. This will require a lot of effort from regulators and governments in areas such as spectrum control, conformity and interoperability assessment, adoption of minimum compatibility standards, and protection of scientific applications.
I am confident that, once again, the preparations for the next WRC, with the support and cooperation of the regional groups, and meetings such as tomorrow’s, will ensure that ITU continues to meet the challenges it faces, and continues to provide the solutions needed to drive the future of sustainable, global ICT development – for the benefit of all nations and of all humankind.