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Briefing Notes 5 of 16 October
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More general policy statements

The Plenary of today essentially focused on general policy statements. 24 speakers took the floor of which 12 ministers.

The Minister for Information and Communication of Nepal, the Honourable Mr Radha Krishna Mainali told delegates that his country’s planned to install 300 000 telephone lines, to increase capacity for mobile communication up to 10 000 subscribers and to have 20 000 fixed wireless local loop subscriber access to lessen the gap between demand and supply. "To provide due regard to the concept of global village and to become an active member of the village, Nepal has given top priority to international communications" said the Minister. To this end, Nepal will install 1000 V-SAT in rural areas and satellite communications will be enhanced with the installation of a new Standard A earth station. "With the invasion of LEO satellite in the space, WDM fibers under the sea and multimedia network on the ground, the information industry has woken up even a commoner in the village", he added. "I am confident that Nepal together with the world community will be part of the new information age to be achieved through a greater cooperation among the countries", he concluded.

Tanzania’s Minister for Communications and Transport, the Honourable Ernest K. Nyanda, pledged for a clear vision and direction on how to achieve them. "We also require commitment and effective as well as strong partnerships with the industrial countries because we need each other and opportunities are available" he said. "We should therefore strive to create a global network to enable free flow of information, particularly in the areas of education, health and weather because we believe strongly that this will improve the quality of life of our people" he added. He reviewed the progress made in his country since 1994, putting into place a regulatory framework, a policy for the telecoms sector and a modernization programme for the national network with a view to double the capacity. "Tanzania is in search of foreign capital and as a result private investors with a good track record will shortly be invited to take stake in our national telecommunications company" he concluded.

Kenya announces it will quadruple its contribution to the ITU budget from ¼ to 1 unit

The Kenyan Ambassador to the United States, speaking on behalf of the Minister for Transport and Communications, announced today in Plenary that his country would quadruple its contributory share to the ITU budget for the next four years, increasing its class from ¼ of a unit to 1 unit. The Ambassador said that the decision of his government was a clear demonstration of the commitment it had towards the ITU and expressed the value it conferred upon its work. He then outlined the four points which the Kenya Government considered essential for the ITU to realize its mission and objectives:

  1. the ITU must be responsive to members needs and aspirations
  2. ITU must open its doors to the participation of the private sector through building partnerships
  3. the membership of ITU must strive to build a strong financial base of the ITU if ITU is to deliver value to its members
  4. the membership must aim to give this organization a new look and impetus that it deserves and empower it to respond to new challenges

Lebanon pledges an eight-fold increase of its contribution to the ITU budget

Mr Abdul Munhem Youssef, Director-General of Posts and Telecommunications of Lebanon told delegates that his country would increase its contribution to the ITU budget eight-fold, from ¼ of a unit to 2 units. In announcing the decision, Mr Youssef said that his government wanted to be seen as a dynamic country following the reconstruction of Lebanon and wished to participate more fully in the financing of the ITU and other organizations. "We want to resume our rightful and historic place in the community of nations", Mr Youssef stated.

Strategic Policy and Plans

Discussions continued on the draft Strategic Plan for the period 1999-2003. Views were exchanged on whether or not IP networks including Internet should be included in the priorities of the Telecommunication Standardization Sector to reflect the importance of IP in today's telecom networks, consistent with the recent agreement between the ITU and the Internet Society/Internet Engineering Task Force (ISOC/IETF). It was finally decided that the matter would be considered by Working Group 5/3 whose task is to integrate the proposals agreed in principle by Committee 5 into the Strategic Plan and link the Plan with the operational and financial plans of the ITU. The Working Group 5/3 will also look at two proposals:

  1. the proposal according to which ITU should inform other ministries (agriculture, health, education, transportation, industry, commerce, population) of initiatives taken for rural and remote areas and
  2. a proposal aimed at inviting officially key bilateral organizations to take part in the work of the ITU Development Sector given the synergies to derive from such cooperation for sustainable universal access.
  3. a proposal aimed at extending operational planning to the Telecommunication Standardization and Development Sectors to enhance accountability and transparency and link this management tool to the strategic planning and budgeting process.

The proposal to plan for a World Conference on International Telecommunication whose task is to adopt International Telecommunications Regulations gave rise to discussions which could not reach conclusion. The matter will be taken up at a future meeting of Committee 5.

On Recommendation 26 concerning the intervals between World Radiocommunication Conferences, the Committee decided that WRCs could be convened every two to three years so as to give sufficient flexibility to decide according to needs (see Briefing Notes N° 4 of 15 October for details).

The other two ad hoc groups set up yesterday by Committee 5 are:

  • Ad Hoc Group 5/1 under the chairmanship of Canada about the widening of participation by Sector Members in WRCs (Recommendation 15). The Group is due to meet on Monday.
  • Ad Hoc Group 5/2 under the chairmanship of Brazil to consider whether recommendations and standards of the Radiocommunication Sector can be approved by Sector Members and Member States on an equal footing through the alternative process. This Group met at lunch time today and is due to report on Monday.

Committee 5 will meet all day on Monday.

Constitution and Convention

Today, more proposals relating to the recommendations of the ITU-2000 Group were introduced. These proposals show the extent to which delegations have assessed the full implications of the ITU-2000 recommendations in so far as the sovereignty of States is concerned. It was stressed that all of the changes being proposed should be seen in the light of the on-going evolution in telecommunications and information technology.

One recommendation which raised some debate today was the proposal to change the word Member to Member State in the Union’s Convention and Constitution, when referring to countries that are Members of the Union. Similarly, the proposal to introduce the expression Sector Member in the Union’s legal instruments when referring to the private sector was received with much apprehension by certain delegations. The Chairman of Committee 6, who was also the Chairman of the ITU-2000 Group dispelled those fears, explaining that the proposal had been made to avoid the former and rather unfortunate use of the expressions big "M", to refer to countries that are Members of the Union, and "small m" to refer to private sector entities participating in the work of the Union. Besides, there were complexities in translating these unfortunate expressions into certain languages.

The fact that the current membership can work together and reach consensus on often sensitive issues is something which all Members take pride in. There are still fears, though, that some of the recommendations proposed could well endanger the intergovernmental nature of the Union.

An example of this is the proposal which would allow Sector Members nominated by the relevant Advisory bodies to participate in the Finance Committee of the ITU Council (Recommendation 11). Some delegations found it difficult to accept this, especially as membership to this governing body is limited, at present, to 46 countries (out of 188).

The question of including provisions on non-geostationary satellite orbit in the Convention and the Constitution on an equal footing with the geostationary orbit was raised again today. Some countries expressed the concern that any changes to current provisions in radio-spectrum matters may well have significant implications and prefer to proceed cautiously.

The next meeting of Committee 6 will be Monday afternoon. Committee 7 will meet in the morning.


The weekly schedule of meetings can be found at

Each meeting which is open to the press is hotlinked to the related agenda for that day.n

Briefing notes: Previous <=> Next

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