Albert Nalbandian, Chairman of the Conference Preparatory Meeting for WRC-12
Broadband access to information for everyone, anywhere and at any time – this is ITU’s global mission for the near future.
Responsibility for ensuring the efficient use of the radio-frequency spectrum and interference-free operation of radio systems falls to the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), which has the task of implementing the Radio Regulations.
Circumstances change, and the Radio Regulations have to be updated in an efficient and timely manner. Revising the Radio Regulations is the prerogative of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC).
Today, WRC agendas encompass a wide range of topics, relating both to spectrum (frequency bands in the range from 9 kHz to 3 000 GHz) and to radiocommunication services and applications (from analogue narrowband systems for maritime and aeronautical mobile communications and navigation, to digital wireless broadband access systems for the benefit of a wide range of users of information and communication technologies).
The ITU membership accords increasing importance to the WRC process to improve regulatory procedures, and to provide frequency and orbit resources for new technologies, as well as the technical framework for the operation of services.
Experience with WRCs has shown how regional preparatory work between conferences can help in building consensus on the many agenda items. This process involves both formal and informal cooperation. The inter-conference activity is based on Plenipotentiary Conference Resolution 80 (Rev. Marrakesh, 2002) on “World radiocommunication conference process”, which resolves “to support the regional harmonization of common proposals” and “to encourage both formal and informal collaboration in the interval between conferences”.
Inter-regional information meetings
One of the ways to achieve cooperation in preparing for WRCs is by organizing inter-regional information meetings. This is in line with WRC Resolution 72 (Rev. WRC-07) on “World and regional preparations for world radiocommunication conferences”, which resolves “to invite regional groups to continue their preparations for WRCs, including the possible convening of joint meetings of regional groups formally and informally”.
To help the ITU membership prepare for WRC-12, and in particular to respond to requests of ITU-R members to be informed on progress in the preparations for WRC-12, the Radiocommunication Bureau held a series of information meetings in 2009, 2010 and 2011 on the most important stages of the preparations. The six WRC regional organizations were well represented in these meetings: the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT); the Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG); the African Telecommunications Union (ATU); the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT); the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL); and the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC).
Participants in the 2009 and 2010 meetings were not only informed on progress made in implementing the decisions of the first session of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM), but also exchanged views on:
possible methods to satisfy WRC-12 agenda items on the basis of results of the studies carried out by the competent ITU-R groups;
preliminary positions of ITU-R members formulated on the basis of information from the draft CPM report for WRC-12, prepared by the CPM management team.
The third information meeting was held at ITU headquarters in Geneva on 7 and 8 November 2011. There were 267 participants representing 78 Member States and 25 ITU-R Sector Members, as well as international organizations. This was one of the last opportunities for ITU-R members to discuss WRC-12 issues before the conference.
Over the two days, at six sessions led by recognized experts, participants exchanged views on proposed methods to satisfy each WRC-12 agenda item, on the basis of the CPM report that was approved in February 2011, the report of the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau, and common or individual proposals of ITU Member States.
WRC-12 has a full agenda, with many difficult problems to resolve. The information meetings held by the Radiocommunication Bureau have demonstrated how important all the opportunities are to meet formally and informally, exchange views, explain the complex matters that WRC-12 will deal with, and provide ideas for better preparation for the conference.
For many WRCs now, this preparatory process has been proving increasingly successful within and between the various regional groups. This highlights the great spirit of international cooperation that marks the ITU tradition of consensus building. So let us continue this good practice. The third information meeting showed that there is a clear requirement for such meetings for future WRCs.
Inter-regional information meetings to prepare for WRCs are important and useful for all ITU members. I hope that the meetings held over the past three years have been of assistance to ITU Member States in preparing for WRC-12.