WCIT-12: ITU Secretary-General urges governments to engage their stakeholders to ensure all voices are heard
Geneva, 16 November 2012
– ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré today called for governments to
engage with a broad range of stakeholders from across industry and civil society
to ensure all voices are heard at the forthcoming
World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) which
in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 3-14 December 2012.
This landmark conference will review the current
International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs),
which serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate global
interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services,
as well as ensuring their efficiency and widespread public usefulness and
The treaty sets out general principles for ensuring the free flow of information
around the world and promoting affordable and equitable access for all.
“ITU Member States are entirely free to determine the size and composition of
their national delegations. We are delighted to see some governments taking a
broad multi-stakeholder approach by including key private sector players and
civil society groups as part of their national representation to the conference
– a trend ITU applauds and encourages,” said Dr Touré.
During the two-week WCIT-12 conference, delegations from ITU’s 193 Member States
will debate revisions to the current treaty to ensure it better meets the needs
of 21st century networks and users. Proposals to the conference
include ways to accelerate the global roll-out of broadband (with an increased
focus on energy efficiency and cutting e-waste); initiatives to further promote
accessibility of technology to persons with disabilities; support for continuing
investment in networks, services and applications; strategies to address high
cost of mobile roaming and taxation of international telecommunications
services; and the need for a harmonious and conducive international environment
that drives future innovation.
As a member of the United Nations family, ITU maintains its commitment to
upholding the fundamental principles of freedom of expression as outlined in
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
Article 33 of
the ITU’s own Constitution
(which takes legal precedence over the ITR treaty). Tunisia, crucible of the
Arab Spring, has put forward a proposal to explicitly include such text in the
revised ITRs. This proposal is supported by many.
In response to a recent open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon jointly
signed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Greenpeace
expressing concern over some proposals, Dr Touré was pleased to
as well as to meet with ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow and her team in
Geneva on 15 November to clarify the WCIT process.
During the discussions, he was able to dispel some widespread misunderstandings,
most notably regarding the nature of
compendium of proposals that constitute the output of the WCIT-12 preparatory
Within ITU, there is a key principle giving any Member State the sovereign right
to make any proposal to the conference. The Member States at the conference
itself will then discuss whether each proposal falls within the conference’s
Dr Touré pointed the ITUC to the full compilation of proposals on the ITU
website; some informally distributed versions prepared by external bodies
currently in circulation have been found to be inaccurate.
He also emphasized the fact that ITU is organizing the WCIT-12 conference at the
behest of its members, which include 193 countries worldwide.
During the course of the meeting Dr Touré extended an invitation to ITUC to
become a Sector Member of ITU.
The current ITRs were last negotiated in
Melbourne, Australia in 1988, and
A FAQ, a comprehensive set of Background Briefs covering the main discussion
topics and a WCIT Myth Buster presentation can be found at:
The main conference preparatory document can be found at:
The current ITRs can be found at:
The main WCIT-12 Newsroom can be found at:
Note to editors:
ITU is unique within the UN family in having some 700 private sector members in
addition to 193 Member States. All have been actively engaged in the WCIT-12
preparatory process, which has been underway for some years. In addition, in
August, ITU set up a public consultation website open to all stakeholders in six
languages. ITU has also held three global briefings (supporting remote
participation from anywhere around the world) open to media, analysts and civil
society, all of which have been well-attended. An extensive compilation of
background materials are available in six languages at:
Official accreditation is essential to attend this UN event.
Accreditation formally closes at 17:00 CET, 23 November 2012.
There will be no accreditation onsite, and strictly no admittance to the venue
without an event badge.
To apply for accreditation, or for more information, please visit:
press accreditation is valid, but UN-accredited media must register in order
to obtain an event badge. Please contact
Journalists and analysts who have already formally accredited for ITU events in
2012 and whose details have not changed since accreditation do not need to
resubmit accreditation credentials, but still need to register for an event
WCIT-12 is organized by ITU and hosted by the Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority (TRA)
For more information on
the event, please contact:
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
Noor M. Shamma
Media Relations Manager
Corporate Communications Affairs
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, UAE
For media accreditation enquiries, please contact:
Soraya Abino Quintana