Plenipotentiary Conference 1998 -- Minneapolis USA

Media accreditation

Feature stories

Policy Statements

General Timetable
This week's schedule
Today's programme
Photo material
Frequently-Asked Questions
Practical information
Info for delegates
Last Update



Briefing Notes 9 of 22 October
Previous <=> Next

Mr Robert Jones of Canada re-elected Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau

Mr Robert Jones of Canada was re-elected Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau with 145 votes. With 151 ballots cast, the required majority was 73.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Jones expressed his appreciation for the confidence which delegations had expressed by re-electing him for a second term. "The almost four years of my first term have gone by quickly", Mr Jones said. "Much has been accomplished in the Radiocommunication Sector and in the ITU as a whole but much remains to be done in order to further adapt this important organization to the rapidly changing environment" he added. He pledged his cooperation to the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General elect and thanked his departing colleagues for their wisdom and fruitful cooperation over the past four years and thanked the staff of the ITU for their contribution in achieving the challenging goals established by the Radiocommunication sector.

Mr Jones’s curriculum vitae and platform can be found at and

Mr Hamadoun I. Touré elected Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)

At the second ballot this afternoon, Mr Hamadoun I. Touré of Mali was elected Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau. In the first round, Mr Touré had obtained 54 votes while the incumbent Mr Ahmed Laouyane had 61, Dr K. Mirski of Bulgaria, 28 and Dr A. Yousif of Sudan, 8. The required majority was 76.

Mr Touré’s curriculum vitae and platform can be found at and

Third ballot needed for the post of Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB)

After the withdrawal of Mr P.A. Probst of Switzerland following the first round, three candidates remained. Mr Zhao (China) scored 75 followed by Mr Michel Feneyrol (France) obtained 55 votes and Dr B. Horton of Australia 20.

The third ballot will take place tomorrow morning, 23 October at 09:30

Policy statements

While the ballots were being computed, delegates heard policy statements from H.E. Mr Sam Mpasu, Minister of Information, Malawi, Ms Camella Rhone, Director General, Ministry of Commerce and Technology of Jamaica, Mr Kurt Andersson, Director at of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Sweden, Mr. Tilahuin Kebede, General Manager at the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport and Communications, M. Menachem Oholy, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Communications of Israel, Mr. Mario Paz, Superintendent of Telecommunications of Guatemala, Mr Faraj El-Amari, Chairman of the General Posts and Telecommunications Committee of Libya, Mr. S. D. Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication of Bangladesh, Mr Datuk H. Parman, Director General, Jabatan Telekom Malaysia (JTM) and Mr Emad Elfaloji, Palestinian Minister of Posts and Telecommunications.

Other speakers included the representative of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), Mr Jong-Soon Lee, Executive Director and Mr Emmanuel Ole-Kambainei, Chairman of GMPCS MoU Group.

The following statements delivered today are available on request: Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity.

Strategic Policy and Plans

Committee 5 examined two proposals on the issue of Internet governance: one from European countries and one from Asia-Pacific countries. The success of the Internet has resulted in a growing demand for domain names which has shown the limits of the actual assignment system (especially in the .com domain, where a number of jurisdictional and commercial problems appeared) and the need to set up a new system. Reiterating the fact that the development of Internet must be essentially market-led and driven by private initiative, the European proposal also stressed the need for the future system of registration, allocation and governance of Internet domain names to equitably balance the interests of all stakeholders, in particular businesses and consumers and not to privilege any country or region of the world to the detriment of others.

The proposal also emphasizes the role of governments as being one to provide a clear, consistent and predictable framework, to promote a favourable environment in which global information networks are interoperable and widely accessible to all citizens, to ensure adequate protection of consumer and user interests and to preserve a fair competitive environment among companies or organizations responsible for Internet resources allocation. Against this background, the European proposal requests the Secretary-General to take an active part in the international discussions on Internet governance, to participate fully in related international initiatives and to increase awareness at national level among all interested non-governmental parties, encouraging them to take part in Internet governance entities.

The Asia Pacific proposal highlights the growing need to set new norms and a new framework for the management of Internet given that it has evolved from a network monopolized by a limited number of nations to a worldwide basic telecommunication infrastructure. APT considers that problems such as policy, technology, commercial and service aspects, contents, etc need to be addressed. In a draft resolution tabled at the Conference, the ITU Secretary-General was asked to form and manage an expert team under the ITU to prepare a comprehensive report on how to deal with the challenges for the ITU under the international management system, the dramatic increase in information and communication services provided through the Internet and the many changes the Internet has brought about in the way we produce and obtain information. That report would be submitted to Council as soon as possible for its review and adoption of follow-up measures to facilitate its implementation.

The discussions that followed pointed to a general agreement on the need to involve the ITU in Internet affairs in general and governance issues in particular. Some delegations felt that the problems associated with the domain name issues were only legal in nature whereas others were of the opinion that they were of a policy and regulatory character. Many were considering only the technical aspects, advancing the building out of the GII through spectrum allocation, standards-setting and advocacy and development in developing regions. Others however felt that useful technical work was indeed being addressed already by the ITU but that very important factors which were of a policy nature were being overlooked.

While concerns were also expressed on the possible duplication of work between the ITU and other organizations if careful consideration of what was already well managed was not clearly identified at the outset, others felt that the ITU should be a central point to ensure that Internet remains a global resource not dominated by any organization, entity or country. In any event, most felt that indeed, the ITU had a role to play. A general consensus emerged in favour of the European proposal in that it addressed the fundamental management of the ITU and outlined a broad approach on how governments should become involved in the Internet. Committee 5 therefore decided therefore to take a cautious approach and tasked a working group (5/7) under the chairmanship of Germany to consider the European and Asia-Pacific proposals and a Canadian proposal concerning a possible study on the issues associated with electronic commerce and prepare a draft resolution that would take account of the comments made and the objectives put forward in the discussion. At the request of the US, the working group would possibly dissociate domain names from other Internet issues.

Another resolution on how to cope with the decreased use of the international telex service was submitted by Korea and adopted. The resolution requests the Secretary-General to survey the decrease in the use of the international telex service and investigate the question of when it will become possible for the international telex service to be replaced by new means of telecommunication.

The Committee also adopted a Resolution on telecommunications in the service of humanitarian assistance, following the Valletta Declaration of the World Telecommunication Development Conference held in 1998. The resolution instructs the Secretary-General to work with the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator on the development of practical arrangements for the implementation of the Tampere Convention adopted in June 1998. The aim of the Convention is to provide telecommunication resources for disaster mitigation and relief operations. The Resolution also urges countries to endorse the Convention on Emergency Telecommunications through its ratification, acceptance, approval or final signature.

Finally, Committee 5 decided that the proposal by a group of Arab States to set up a policy and regulatory study group in the Telecommunication Standardization Sector, although valuable, was overlapping with the work already carried out in other parts of the ITU, in particular with Study Group 1 of the Telecommunication Development Sector. The discussions were therefore postponed sine die, leaving it to the co-authors to review their proposal accordingly or to take up the matter in Plenary if considered necessary.

Constitution and Convention

Committee 6 today spent much of the time grappled over the role of the Radiocommunication Advisory Group. The issue was whether or not RAG should simply advise the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau or the entire Sector. Despite backdoor negotiations at coffee break, no consensus could be reached. The discussions are to continue tomorrow.n

Briefing notes: Previous <=> Next

Produced by ITU Press & Public Information Service

English | Français | Español