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Information note to the press
International Telecommunication Union
For immediate release
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Telecommunications Development Advisory Group Meets
Professor David Mellor of the United Kingdom Elected Chairman

Geneva, 5 February 2004 — The ninth Telecommunication Development Advisory Group (TDAG) met in Geneva, 21–23 January 2004, and elected Professor David P. Mellor from United Kingdom as its Chairman. The TDAG provides advice to the director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau on priorities and strategies in regards to the implementation of the operational plan of the ITU Development Sector.

Professor Mellor has worked in the Telecommunications Industry for almost 40 years, with extensive global experience in the manufacturing, service and mobile networks sectors. He has been an active member of several International organisations and had been the Vice Chairman of the TDAG. He has designed a number of academic programmes in conjunction with Governments and Universities to address the shortfall in human resources in the telecommunication sector in the developing world. With the support of Cable & Wireless Professor Mellor developed an on-line Academy and a number of e-Education and e-Training Internet-based programmes. Professor Mellor is currently a Visiting Professor of Telecommunications to Coventry University in England and at the South West University for Nationalities and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in the Peoples Republic of China.

"The role of the Telecommunication Development Advisory Group is especially important to our sector as we strive to achieve the significant milestones we have set in the action plans of the last World Telecommunication Development Conference (Istanbul) and the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva). I look forward to working with Professor Mellor to help to obtain the best return on our investment in time, money and personnel in order to ensure that we are able to bring the benefits of telecommunication development to all of humanity," said Mr Hamadoun Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector.

World Summit on the Information Society on Advisory Group Agenda

A preliminary assessment of the conclusions of the Geneva phase of the Summit was provided to TDAG, with emphasis on those outcomes of particular interest to the ITU Development Sector. Analysis of the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Action Plan points to a commonality of views and synergies with the Istanbul Action Plan, the Final Acts of the Marrakesh Plenipotentiary Conference and the ITU Strategic Plan. Work is underway in the BDT to further analyse the outcomes of the WSIS, to determine how these outcomes can be implemented within the ITU-D work plan, which focuses on the Istanbul Action Plan and remains the sector’s priority.

Membership Increases and Partnerships Expand

ITU-D Sector Membership showed a significant net increase of 22 members in 2003 to reach a record of 282 Sector Members at the end of the year. Among the 43 New Members who joined ITU-D, the Arab and the Asia Pacific regions demonstrated notable growth. Operators and service providers (the majority of 148 Recognized Operating Agencies) and the 60 scientific or industrial or financial organizations, together represent 73% of ITU-D Sector Membership.

The work of ITU-D, conducted in close relation with all ITU Member States and Sector Members, the ITU Regional Offices and the global programme managers, led to the signing of nearly fifty partnership and cooperation agreements in 2003. This culminated with the launch of 21 new partnerships with public and private entities, academic institutions and regional and international organizations, at the occasion of the first phase of the World Summit on Information Society held in Geneva from 10 to 12 December 2003 (see ITU Press Release)

Award of Excellence Announced

TDAG created the "Tony Zeitoun Award for Excellence," which will be given annually on the occasion of World Telecommunication Day (17 May), to distinguish a person or institution for contributions to information and communication technology (ICT) development goals. Mr Zeitoun, a Canadian, had been the Chairman of TDAG until his death in 2003.This award recognizes Mr. Zeitoun’s deep commitment to Development, Gender and Youth issues.

A Review of Operational and Strategic Guidelines

TDAG reviewed implementation of the operational plan for 2003 and the proposed four-year rolling plan (2004-2007). Members appreciated the quality of information provided to it as well as the level of transparency achieved by the BDT. It also took note of a report on Youth and Gender issues and encouraged the BDT to continue its effort in order to promote gender equality.

TDAG created a group to finalise discussions on the preparation of the next World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2006. This important event, due to take place within the period 6-17 March 2006, will be preceded by six regional preparatory meetings. Regarding the use of the six official and working languages of the Union, which are to be put on equal footing as of 1 January 2005, TDAG decided to first wait for the ITU Council 2004 deliberations. However, it did note that no group of three languages should be given advantages over any other group of three languages.

Special thanks were addressed to the very able rapporteur, Mr. Batnaghar from India, before the TDAG dissolved the project management group in charge of Question 6-1/1, which dealt with telecommunications interconnection issues. The meeting took note of the deletion of Question 12-1/2, which is to be combined with Question 20/2 in a revised Question 20-1/2, which will deal with broadband issues. TDAG also approved the revision of Questions 17/2 to deal not only with e- commerce but also with all e-applications, excluding e-health that is studied under Question 14-1/2. For complete documentation relating to TDAG please click here

For more information please contact:

Mr Pape Gorgui Toure
International Telecommunication Union
Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)
Tel: +41 22 730 6750

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