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Date: 1 September 1997 Time:   Page 1/2 Ref: Circular-letter No. 56

- Member States and Sector Members of ITU

- Organizations which have the right to attend ITU conferences and meetings as observers

Contact: Kareem Boussaid, Strategic Planning Unit For your reply:
    Fax: +41 22 730 6675 Tel: +41 22 730 5900
Subject: Second World Telecommunication Policy Forum

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Plenipotentiary Conference (Kyoto, 1994) decided to establish a telecommunication policy forum to discuss strategies and policies in the changing telecommunication environment.

At its 1997 session (18-27 June), the ITU Council decided to convene the second World Telecommunication Policy Forum in Geneva, from 16 to 18 March 1998, in order to discuss and exchange views on the theme of trade in telecommunication services, with the following agenda:

1) the general implications of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on trade in basic telecommunication services for the ITU membership with respect to:

• the telecommunication policies, regulations and regulatory structures of ITU Member States;

• the implications of the WTO agreement for developing countries, particularly with respect to policies, regulations and financial strategies to promote the development of telecommunication networks and services, as well as on their national economy;

2) actions to assist Member States and Sector Members in adapting to the changes in the telecommunication environment including analysing the current situation (e.g., by case studies) and formulating possible cooperative actions involving ITU Member States and Sector Members to facilitate adaptation to the new environment;

3) the evolution of the international telecommunication environment, particularly the accounting and settlement system, having taken into account activities being undertaken by ITU-T study groups.

Pursuant to the Council's decision, the arrangements for the second Forum will be similar to those for the first. In particular, the discussions will be based on a report by the Secretary-General, which will serve as the Forum's only working document and will incorporate the contributions of Member States and Sector Members.

In view of the relatively short time available to make arrangements for the Forum and of the need to give Members as much opportunity as possible for contributing to the preparations for this important event, I shall be circulating, around 15 September, a preliminary version of the report drawn up on the basis of available material (in particular, the work of ITU-T Study Group 3 and the report of the informal Group of Experts), on which I shall invite comments by 15 November.

At the end of November 1997, I shall circulate a second version of the report incorporating Members' comments and inviting further comments by 15 January 1998.

At the end of January, I shall circulate a third version of the report together with the report of the seventh Regulatory Colloquium on the reform of the accounting and international accounts settlement system.

In accordance with the decision by the ITU Council, I shall convene a balanced, informal group of experts - who are active in preparing for the Forum in their own countries - to assist in the successive stages of the preparatory process.

To assist participants in preparing for the Forum, a working group composed of representatives of the ITU-T and ITU-D Sectors and the ITU Secretariat, in collaboration with the other organizations will conduct case studies on the impact of the new international environment on a representative sample of developing countries, the result of which will be made available to the participants with other relevant reports.

As in the case of the first Policy Forum, I plan to organize a special information session on Sunday, 15 March 1998. The purpose of this session would be to present the results of the case studies and to provide other information to assist Forum participants in their deliberations.

I should like to appeal to the Union's membership as well as to all other interested parties to make voluntary contributions towards covering the costs of the second World Telecommunication Policy Forum, including the special information session, and assisting the least developed countries (LDCs) to take part in these events.

Finally, as far as possible, and in accordance with No. 465 of the Convention (Geneva, 1992), participation in the second World Telecommunication Policy Forum will be open to the public, who will be able to attend the Forum without, however, participating in it directly.


Yours faithfully,

Pekka Tarjanne





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