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Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón opens ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara
 
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa
 
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa,
President of Mexico
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Photo credit: ITU/V. Martin
From left to right: Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, Mayor of Guadalajara; Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau; Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General of ITU; Juan Francisco Molinar Horcasitas, Mexico’s Minister of Communications and Transport; Emilio González Márquez, Governor of the State of Jalisco; Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU; Ambassador Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau; and Valery Timofeev, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau.

It was a moment of pride for ITU as Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa opened the Union’s 18th Plenipotentiary Conference on 4 October 2010 at the Guadalajara EXPO Center. The conference kicked off with a video entitled “Mexico in your Senses”, taking participants on a fascinating virtual tour of a land of beauty.

Accompanying the President were Juan Francisco Molinar Horcasitas, Minister of Communications and Transport; Emilio González Márquez, Governor of the State of Jalisco; Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, Mayor of Guadalajara; and Ambassador Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

The Mexican authorities were flanked by ITU elected officials: Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General; Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General; Valery Timofeev, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau; Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau; and Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau.

Participants were addressed by Mr Molinar Horcasitas; followed by a message from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon read by Mr Zhao; then speeches from Dr Touré; Governor González Márquez, and President Felipe Calderón (in that order).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Calderón said the conference could not have been more timely. “The year 2010 is particularly significant for Mexico, which is celebrating 200 years of independence”, President Calderón said. During the last two centuries, the country has built a democracy, putting Mexico on a path of solid economic growth. Mexico is also celebrating a centenary of the revolution for social rights and equality. And as President Calderón said, telecommunications are an indispensable tool to achieve that justice and equality. Telecommunications are being expanded in the country to ensure that all Mexicans participate in the information revolution.

The President then went on to highlight growth in the ICT sector and the major steps being taken by the government to encourage further development of the telecommunications market to offer highquality services to as large a number of users as possible, at low prices. One of the steps is the strategy of the three Cs: coverage, competitiveness and convergence. Outlining this strategy, the President told participants that he had brought forward the date of the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting by six years, from 2021 to 2015. He also described the 20 000 km fibre-optic project that will see the creation of a new backbone network to boost broadband uptake nationwide. The network will be ready in the second half of 2011. Three new satellites will also be launched, mainly to improve security. They will also be used to connect the most remote communities, providing them with telecommunication services.

Dr Touré described how the ICT sector has demonstrated extraordinary resilience and has shown an ability to withstand external shocks in a way that the financial sector failed to do. “Not only that, the ICT sector has reliably churned out new technologies that leave one wondering whether some day our scientists will run out of ideas. When terrestrial networks are knocked down by disasters, satellite communications take over and ensure continuity of service. Following the birth of Wi-Fi and WiMAX, came LTE with its Pico-cells, and now cloud computing reigns supreme! This is how it should be — because technology is all about innovation and continuous creativity. So ITU must continue to remain at the heart of the ICT sector, as we embrace a new era of converged applications and services,” Dr Touré commented.

Mr Zhao delivered Mr Ban’s message, in which he underlined the significance of the work of the conference in developing the next generation of communication networks, ensuring cybersecurity, and putting the power of ICT networks to good use in disaster relief and mitigation. This work, he said, is vitally important to all people everywhere.

The opening ceremony ended with President Calderón franking a commemorative stamp for PP-10. Fernando Borjón, Technological Development Coordinator with the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport, chaired the Guadalajara Conference. The results of the elections held at the beginning of the conference are given on pages 6–9. A full report on the conclusions of the conference will be published in the November 2010 issue of ITU News.

    Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré,
Secretary-General of ITU
Houlin Zhao
Houlin Zhao,
Deputy Secretary-General of ITU
Malcolm Johnson
Malcolm Johnson,
Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau
François Rancy
François Rancy, Director Elect,
Radiocommunication Bureau
Brahima Sanou
Brahima Sanou,
Director Elect,
Telecommunication Development Bureau

Election results: ITU management team for 2011–2014

Dr Hamadoun Touré, Houlin Zhao and Malcolm Johnson re-elected

With an overwhelming vote of confidence, the Conference re-elected Dr Hamadoun Touré as Secretary-General of ITU; Houlin Zhao as Deputy Secretary-General; and Malcolm Johnson as Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) for another four years. All three were first elected to these posts at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, in November 2006 and took office on 1 January 2007. All three were sole candidates for the posts.

Dr Touré (Mali) was re-elected with 151 votes out of 157 countries present and voting. Addressing the conference after his re-election, Dr Touré “put a special emphasis on broadband access as well as continuing to ensure that cybersecurity is high on everyone’s agenda.” Dr Touré also pledged to ensure that small island developing States and land-locked countries get special attention. In the past four years, he has placed particular emphasis on building trust and security in ICT networks, harnessing the power of ICT to help mitigate climate change, strengthening ITU’s work in emergency communications, and fostering a global vision of “broadband inclusion for all”.

Houlin Zhao (China was re-elected Deputy Secretary-General with 155 votes out of 157 countries present and voting. Mr Zhao thanked ITU members and, in particular, China, for placing renewed confidence in him. He appreciated the full confidence and respect that the Secretary-General had shown him over the past four years, and promised to continue to do his utmost to assist the Secretary-General and maintain the excellent working relationship they already enjoy during his next four-year term, with a view to strengthening ITU’s leading role in global ICT development.

Malcolm Johnson (United Kingdom) was re-elected Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau with 152 votes out of 156 countries present and voting. Upon his re-election, he said: “I express enormous gratitude for this vote of confidence in my continued leadership of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU–T). I look forward to building on the initiatives of the past four years and maintaining ITU–T’s role as the leading global organization for ICT standardization. As technologies evolve we will meet the demand to quickly produce the global standards that the ICT market needs. I am confident that with the new initiatives to increase participation of researchers and developing countries we will strengthen ITU–T’s position and its major initiatives on broadband, ICT and climate change, accessibility, cybersecurity and interoperability.”

François Rancy, Director Elect of the Radiocommunication Bureau

François Rancy (France was elected Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) in a second ballot, with 90 votes out of 157 countries present and voting, with Fabio Leite (Brazil) obtaining 67 votes. Dr Veena Rawat (Canada), the third contender, withdrew her candidature after the first round of voting. Speaking after his election Mr Rancy told participants: “Rest assured that I will do all my best to meet your expectations. I know that many of our countries will have very difficult choices to make, in the coming years, in the field of radiocommunications. You can be assured that I will do all my best to help you, in particular in the transition to digital television and the transition to future generations of mobile radiocommunications.” These challenges, he said, were not only technical or financial, but were also social and political, adding that ITU will have an essential role to play in responding to them.

Brahima Sanou, Director Elect of the Telecommunication Development Bureau

Brahima Sanou (Burkina Faso) was elected Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) with 81 votes out of 158 countries present and voting. The majority emerged in the third round of voting, with Héctor Olavarría-Tapia (Mexico) obtaining 47 votes and Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid (Saudi Arabia) 29.

Addressing the conference after his election, Mr Sanou said he will build upon the masterful work done by his predecessor, Mr Sami Al Basheer, with whom it had been a privilege to work over the past four years. He pledged his commitment to implement the Hyderabad Action Plan adopted in June 2010 by the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC). “The expansion of ICT access and an emphasis on developing affordable broadband Internet infrastructure and services is needed to bring the wonders of the digital revolution to the whole world. I am committed to working with ITU members to meet this noble aim. We will connect the world.”

Speaking at the end of the elections for ITU’s five top jobs, Dr Touré expressed his happiness with the results and welcomed the new members of his team. He said he looked forward to working with them over the next four years. He then expressed his gratitude to the outgoing Directors of the Radiocommunication Bureau, Valery Timofeev, and the Telecommunication Development Bureau, Sami Al Basheer, and thanked them for their assistance and support over their time served as ITU Directors.

The 12-member Radio Regulations Board

Following the election of the management team, the Guadalajara Conference elected the 12 members of the part-time Radio Regulations Board (RRB), an important body in ITU (see table below for election results). To achieve geographical balance, Board members are elected from ITU’S five administrative regions. Two members are elected from each of regions A, B and C. And three members are elected from each of regions D and E, as shown in the table.

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Forty-eight Member States elected to the Council

Finally, the conference elected 48 Member States to serve on the ITU Council for a four-year period (see table below). Acting as the governing body in the interval between the four-yearly gatherings of the Plenipotentiary Conference, the Council fulfils a huge mandate.

Before this conference, there were 46 seats on the Council. The conference, on the basis of a report from the Council, decided to raise the number of Member States to serve on the Council from 46 to 48. The 47th seat was allocated to the Americas (Region A) and the 48th seat to Asia and Australasia (Region E). Each of the five administrative regions is entitled to a designated number of seats as shown in the table.

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