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Landmark decision by ITU Council on proposal for public consultation and
open access to key conference document

Online public platforms will be created to enable multi-stakeholder consultation

Geneva, 13 July 2012 – During its annual session in Geneva, the ITU’s governing body, the Council, debated the issue of making ITU documents publicly available, especially those submitted to treaty-making conferences such as the forthcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) which aims to review and update the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).

The forty eight Member States that make up the ITU Council also discussed the need for open and online consultations with key communities, such as civil society stakeholders.1

In his remarks to Council during the debate, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré noted that “the world is changing, in large part thanks to the growth in telecommunications facilitated by the ITU, and we need to adapt to that changing world. As we have always done since our foundation in 1865”.

Dr Touré noted that “all ITU members have full access to all WCIT-12 documents and can share them within their constituencies.” As well as proposing that ITU should hold open consultations on WCIT-12, he encouraged all Member States to do so too. Dr Touré stressed that while all documents are available in ITU’s six official languages, it is nevertheless “crucial for Member States to prioritize translation into other national languages, so that national level consultations, such as those currently underway in the Netherlands and Kenya, can encompass all citizens and ensure the widespread engagement of civil society in the important issues that are being debated in the run up to WCIT-12”.

Following various proposals moderated by the Chairman of the Council, Mr Ahmet Çavuşoğlu, Head of the Department for International Affairs of Turkey’s Information and Communications Technologies Authority, it was agreed that the latest version of the main conference preparatory document will be made publically available on the ITU website within the coming days. This document is often referred to as TD64, and it gathers together more than 450 contributions that members have submitted during the preparatory process of WCIT-12.

Additionally, the Council unanimously agreed that a publicly accessible page will be established on the WCIT-12 section of the ITU website, where all stakeholders can express their opinions on the content of the latest version of TD64, or any other matter related to WCIT. This open access for inputs was applauded by the Council as an important way for the ITU membership to be able to note the various viewpoints that surround the conference. The Chairman of the Council encouraged all Member States to give due consideration to these inputs in their preparation for WCIT-12.

Referring to the importance of national consultations, Dr Touré said that he encourages “more of this kind of action at the national and regional level as we move forward. As we know, the ITRs in 1988 set the stage for the information society. And I am absolutely convinced that WCIT-12 will set the stage for the knowledge society.”


1 It should be noted that all civil society organizations, of an international nature and who are working on issues related to information and communication technologies are entitled to join the ITU as members. Indeed several such additional entities were welcomed into ITU this year, and their membership fees were waived; this was supported and endorsed by the ITU Council.
 

For more information, please contact:

Paul Conneally
Head, Communication and Partnership Promotion
mobile +41 79 592 5668
email paul.conneally@itu.int 
 
   
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