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 Friday, 02 March 2012
Introducing key outcomes from WRC-12 on climate monitoring, disaster relief and climate change

The 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) was brought to an end last week in Geneva with the adoption of a set of resolutions to revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.

WRC-12 addressed over 30 agenda items related to frequency allocation and frequency sharing for the efficient use of spectrum and orbital resources. The agreements reached at the conference will ensure high quality radiocommunication services for mobile and satellite communications, maritime and aeronautical transport as well as for scientific purposes related to the environment, meteorology and climatology, disaster prediction, mitigation and relief, among other services.

A key aspect addressed during the four-week conference was the importance of reserving frequencies for use in the very early stages of humanitarian assistance for disaster relief. The main achievement in this area was the promotion of new technologies, such as International mobile telecommunication (IMT) and intelligent transport systems (ITS) which both offer solutions for public protection through early warning systems, disaster mitigation and relief operations.

Along the same lines, WRC-12 instructed ITU to continue studying aspects of  radiocommunications that are relevant to early warning, disaster mitigation and relief operations and encouraged administrations to consider using identified frequency bands when undertaking their national planning to achieve regionally harmonized frequency bands or ranges for public protection and disaster relief solutions.

With regards to climate change, WRC-12 recognized that the understanding of climate monitoring  is a prerequisite to any action designed to anticipate and mitigate the human induced phenomenon. The conference approved the allocation of more bandwidth to meteorological-satellite services, and updated spectrum use for the monitoring of water vapour and oxygen spectral lines needed for measurements of global water and carbon cycles. These outcomes guarantee that climate scientists can continue to rely on effective systems for monitoring the environment and predicting climate change, and to ensure the reliable operation of such systems.

While WRC-12 focused on the solutions to be implemented by the sector, the Radiocommunication Assembly (RA-12) -an event held back-to-back with WRC-12- dealt with the sustainability of the ICT sector. On this regard, the Assembly adopted a new resolution instructing ITU to develop a number of recommendations, reports or handbooks to address and ultimately reduce energy consumption within ICT systems and to further investigate the possibilities offered by radio systems or applications to reduce energy consumption in non-radiocommunication sectors.

These outcomes reinforced ITU’s mandate in the area of sustainability, climate change and emergency communications, and secured the availability of spectrum and satellite orbit for the operation of radiosystems intended for monitoring the environment and monitoring and predicting climate change.

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