ITU

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The treaty signing process explained

 

How many countries signed the treaty on the spot in Dubai?

89, out of a possible total of 144 present and duly accredited.
 

How does this compare with the number that signed on the spot in 1988, when the last treaty was negotiated?

In 1988, 112 countries signed on the spot.

In terms of global population, what number of people are covered by the new treaty and what percentage of the global population?

As of 21 December 2012, the total population of the countries that signed the treaty was approximately 3.8 billion, comprising over 60% of the world’s population.
 

Why do countries choose not to sign on the spot? Does that mean that they disagree with the treaty?

Many countries indicated that they wished to consult with their capitals before signing. This is indeed the normal process for most treaties: Except for those treaties which are concluded under the aegis of ITU it is relatively unusual to sign a treaty immediately after it is adopted.
 

Does this treaty negate the 1988 treaty? Or does that treaty remain in effect for those countries who do not sign the new one?

The 2012 treaty replaces the 1988 treaty for the parties to the 2012 treaty. Non-parties to the 2012 treaty remain bound by the 1988 treaty. Relations between a non-party to the 2012 treaty and a party to the 2012 treaty are governed by the 1988 treaty. It has to be noted that for those signatories of the 2012 treaty, the latter shall apply provisionally as from 1 January 2015.
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So those who are not parties to the 2012 treaty are still covered by the 1988 treaty, if they were parties to that?

Yes.
 

What about countries that did not sign the old treaty, and do not sign the new treaty? How do they manage their international telecommunications?

There are very few countries in that situation.
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How many countries are neither party to the old treaty, nor signatory to the new treaty?

3 countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Nauru and Solomon Islands.
 

What does it mean for a country that is a party to the new treaty in terms of their dealings with a country that is covered only by the old treaty? Is it a disadvantage?

The two parties are bound by the old treaty. Thus, provisions of the new treaty do not apply in their relationship. These include transparency of mobile roaming prices, accessibility, reduction of e-waste, cooperation to combat unsolicited bulk electronic communications, etc. Thus, the citizens of non-parties may not benefit from those provisions.
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What about a country that is dealing with a country that is not a party to either of the treaties – how does that work?

In that case, there would be no international legal obligations on the two parties.
 

What is meant by the terms signing, ratification and accession?

In a nutshell, the signing is the adoption and the authentication of the text of the treaty, but does not imply, for the ITRs, consent to be bound by the Member State concerned. To be bound by the new treaty, a signatory Member State shall formally notify its consent to be bound by depositing with the ITU Secretary-General an instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval (depending on the national procedure applicable). The accession is the procedure by which a non-signatory Member State notifies the ITU Secretary-General of its consent to be bound by the treaty.
 

​​If a country has not already signed, can it sign at a later date?

No, the treaty is not open for signature after the closure of the Conference. However, a country can accede at any time.
 

When does the treaty come into effect?

1 January 2015 between the Member States having notified the ITU Secretary-General prior to such date of their consent to be bound. However, the new treaty shall apply provisionally, as from 1 January 2015, in respect of any Member State that has signed the new treaty. Such provisional application takes effect if the Member State in question did not oppose it at the time of signature. Furthermore, if the Member State fails to notify the ITU Secretary-General of its decision concerning its consent to be bound prior to 31 December 2017, that Member State shall be deemed to have consented to be bound by the new treaty.
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Do governments have to do anything at a national level before the treaty becomes binding on them?

That depends on the existing national laws. Most countries have to launch the internal process of ratification, approval, acceptance or accession. Some countries may have to adapt laws or regulations to comply with the provisions of the new treaty - others may not need to make any changes.
 

What does this outcome mean for companies from member states that did not sign the treaty, who are operating in countries that did sign?

As stated under Question 10 above, Member states that are not bound by the new treaty do not have any obligation to impose its provisions on their companies. Thus they would not be obliged to apply provisions such as transparency of mobile roaming prices, accessibility, reduction of e-waste, cooperation to combat unsolicited bulk electronic communications, etc.