World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

Istanbul, 8 May 2000 N° 1

9 May issue     

Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey opens World Radiocommunication Conference

    The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2000) was opened today by the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, His Excellency Mr Devlet Bahçeli, at the brand-new Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICEC). Some 1342 participants from 121 countries attended the opening ceremony. In Istanbul, there were as many delegates at the beginning of the Conference as there were at the end of the first week of WRC 97. This large attendance reflects the ever-growing importance of the world of radiocommunications.

    Istanbul itself, a city with such fascinating history and situated at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, is an appropriate reminder of the progress that can be made in terms of the incredible advances in technology, many of which will depend on the outcome of WRC-2000.

    High on the conference agenda are the need for additional spectrum to facilitate the expansion of existing services as well as to foster development of brand-new technologies and applications and questions of regulatory procedures and the equitable use of the spectrum. As some parts of the spectrum become intensively used, the conference is required to ensure that all services can share safely without harmful interference. (For background material on the key issues, see http://www.itu.int/newsroom/wrc2000/presskit/index.html)

    Like previous conferences WRC-2000 has been set a punishing agenda: a significant number of difficult and often conflicting issues within which there are many potential problem areas. Its task has been made all the heavier by the very large volume of documentation - so large in fact that the often talked about paperless society may remain an illusion. Some delegates are already comparing this conference to the marathon World Administrative Radio Conference held in 1979 (WARC-79) because of its extremely full agenda with no less than 21 items to cover the various issues to be tackled. The difference is that WARC 79 lasted seven weeks!

    WRC-2000 should however be helped by the extensive preparations carried out individually and collectively. Proposals were prepared, and re-worked through many iterations. Groupings such as the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL), the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), the Africa Group, and the Arab States Group, have all worked hard to harmonize positions and proposals. (For an overview of the Conference issues, see the press release at http://www.itu.int/newsroom/press/releases/2000/07.html.)

    In his opening address, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, His Excellency Mr Devlet Bahçeli, stated that one of the recent milestones in the telecommunication sector of Turkey had been the establishment of a new Independent regulatory authority which will play a vital role in regulating the telecommunication sector soon to be deregulated. "Turkey will introduce competition by the end of 2003 when the state monopoly will come to an end", Mr Bahçeli said.

    The ITU Secretary-General, Mr Utsumi, paid special tribute to the Turkish Government and its partners for their generous and outstanding support in hosting WRC-2000, which is also the first major ITU conference in the new millennium. "At a time when two big natural disasters have presented enormous challenges to them, we can imagine how hard they must have worked to prepare for this conference. We are very proud of being able to hold this Millennium event in a city that has, for many centuries, been a symbol of bridging continents, different cultures and people - just as telecommunications do today", the Secretary-General said.

    He further referred to WRC-2000 as the first ITU conference to operate under the revised provisions of the Union’s Constitution, Convention and Rules of Procedure adopted at the Minneapolis Plenipotentiary Conference in 1998. Of significance in this regard, is the participation, as observers, of Sector Members in their own right. Mr Utsumi added that the ITU was considering further reforms of this kind to ensure that the organization remains relevant in the face of the changing demands of today’s environment.

    In his opening address, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Enis Öksüz remarked that the number of players in the field of radiocommunications and their interests and requirements were growing every day, as were the demands on ITU and its constituent bodies. "Like all other countries, naturally we do not want to remain behind all these developments in the world. That is why we thought that ITU activities should be spread out all over the world. We are happy that we are able to serve humanity by hosting this conference in Turkey", the Minister said.

    Also attending the Opening ceremony were H.E. Mr. Erkan Mumcu, Minister of Tourism, H.E. Mr. Osman Durmus, Minister of Health, Turkey, the Governor of Istanbul, Mr. Erol Gakir, the Mayor of Istanbul, Mr. Ali Müfit Gürtuna and the Mayor of Sisli, Mr Mustafa Sarıgül.

    At the first Plenary meeting held immediately after the opening ceremony, the Conference elected Mr Fatih Mehmet Yurdal, Chairman of the Telecommunications Authority of Turkey as Chairperson of WRC-2000.

    In his statement, Mr Yurdal appealed to all participants to work efficiently and in harmony with each other because of their heavy responsibility: the decisions they take will have a major impact on the life of all the world’s inhabitants in the 21st century.

    The Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau, Mr Robert W. Jones, on his part, stated that the processing of satellite network filings was one significant issue on which immediate action was needed, as the situation had become totally unacceptable. "The Bureau has done much to continue streamlining its work but the filings now awaiting processing represent close to three years work, even if no further filings were to be made" Mr Jones said. "The kind of streamlining of work that we in the Bureau can undertake within the current Radio Regulations can lead to only marginal improvements. Regulatory changes are necessary to have a more significant and more immediate impact" he also said, adding "I hope that you will agree with me that this situation has to be corrected if the ITU is to maintain its credibility in this fundamental role." He expressed the hope that this Conference would be able to tackle the complexity of the current regulatory framework and provide the means for the required improvement. "WRC-2000 is probably the last effective opportunity to do so", he cautioned.

    In addition to the Chairperson, the Conference elected six vice-chairpersons as well as chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of all committees and working groups. It also agreed on the structure of the Conference and allocated the Conference documents to enable committee work to start immediately. In doing so, the Working Group of the Plenary (GT/Plen 1) was given the task of determining the basis for the BSS replanning for Regions 1 and 3 by Friday next to enable the replanning to take place during the Conference.

    The Conference consists of 4 statutory committees, 2 substantive committees (Committees 4 and 5), and 2 working groups of the plenary (GT/Plen1 and GT/Plen 2). Committees 4 (Regulatory and associated issues) and 5 (Allocation issues) held their first organizational meeting immediately after the Plenary where two working groups were set up for Committee 4 and four for Committee 5.

Conference structure


F.M. Yurdal (Turkey)


  • Region A: H.E. Mrs G. Schoettler (United States)
  • Region B: Mr J.S. Strick (Germany)
  • Region C: H.E. Mr L. Reyman (Russia)
  • Region D: Messrs I. Samake (Mali) and A. Berrada (Morocco)
  • Region E: Mr H. Ishihara (Japan)

Statutory Committees

Committee 1: Steering Committee.

This committee is composed of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Conference and of the Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of the Committees and Working Groups of the Plenary

Committee 2: Credentials Committee


Mr M.T. Abu (Nigeria)


Mr R. Chen (China)

Committee 3: Budget Control Committee


Mr B. Gracie (Canada)


H.E. Mr M. Tabeshian (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Committee 6: Editorial Committee


Mr L. Bourgeat (France)


Messrs M. Johnson (United Kingdom) and C. Menendez Argüelles (Spain)

Principal Committees

Committee 4: Regulatory and associated issues


Mr H. Railton (RRB - Radio Regulations Board)


  • Mr N. Kisrawi (Syria)
  • Mr L. Petzer (South Africa)

Working Group 4A

Mr Nabil Kisrawi (Syria)

Working Group 4B

Mrs Audrey Allison (USA)

Committee 5: Allocations and associated issues


Mr C. van Diepenbeek (Netherlands)


  • Mr H.K. Al-Shankiti (Saudi Arabia)
  • Mr H. Fernandez Macbeath (Cuba)

Working Group 5A

Mr Alan Jamieson (New Zealand)

Working Group 5B

Mr Takeshi Mizuike (Japan)

Working Group 5C

Mr Don Jansky (USA)

Working Group 5D

Mr John Leary (Japan)

Working Group 1 of the Plenary


Mr R. Zeitoun (Canada)


  • Mr S. Djematene (Algeria)
  • Mr A. Frederich (Sweden)

Working Group 2 of the Plenary


Mr E. George (Germany)


Mr A. Zourmba (Cameroon)

Not an official document - For information only
9 May issue