Conformance and interoperability – New Resolution
The conference decided that ITU will continue to implement Resolution 76 of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Johannesburg, 2008) and Resolution 47 (Rev. Hyderabad, 2010), along with the recommendations of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau ( TSB), endorsed by the Council at its 2009 session, regarding:
- a conformity assessment programme;
- an interoperability events programme;
- a human resources capacity building;
- recommendations to assist in the establishment of test facilities in developing countries.
This is the thrust of a new resolution just adopted on conformance and interoperability. The resolution emphasizes that this programme of work be implemented in parallel without any delay. The Director TSB is asked to prepare a business plan for the long-term implementation of this resolution.
The programme of work includes building up a pilot database into a fully functioning conformity database. The implementation of the conformity database will take into consideration the outcome and effect on Member States, Sector Members and stakeholders, how it will help bridge the standardization gap, potential liability issues, and the results of the regional ITU conformity and interoperability consultations.
A major part of the programme will be to assist developing countries to establish regional or subregional conformity and interoperability centres that can carry out interoperability testing.
Malcolm Johnson, who was recently re-elected Director of TSB with an overwhelming majority, is called upon to study the possibility of a future ITU Mark programme. This would be a voluntary programme permitting manufacturers and service providers to make a visible declaration that their equipment conforms to ITU-T Recommendations.
The Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) is expected to collaborate with the Director of TSB and Director of BR to advance the implementation of Resolution 47 (Rev. Hyderabad, 2010) and to assist Member States in dealing with the problem of counterfeit equipment. Developing countries, in particular, are worried about counterfeit equipment because it may negatively affect the quality of their telecommunication infrastructure.
Resolution 76 (Johannesburg, 2008) deals with studies related to conformance and interoperability testing, assistance to developing countries, and a possible future ITU Mark programme.
ITU’s ability to assess and recognize conformity and interoperability will be a driver for raising awareness and building capacity in developing countries. BDT will be the focal point for this activity through its global and regional initiatives, including the centres of excellence.
Presenting the report of the Director of TSB to the Working Group of the Plenary where agreement was first reached on the new resolution, R. Scholl said that a major concern raised at WTSA-08 was the lack of conformance and interoperability of equipment being placed on the market, especially in developing countries. To respond to that concern, TSB has developed a pilot conformity database, which is currently available only to ITU members. Entry in the database is voluntary and free of charge. Details of products and services that have been recognized by ITU as being in conformity with ITU-T Recommendations can be listed in the database. Subject to testing, a vendor is entitled to claim recognition of conformity.
ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) held two interoperability events - in July and in September 2010 - to test its IPTV suites of standards, and a third event will take place in December. These events are generating a lot of interest. Also, the mood evident during three regional ITU consultation meetings on conformance assessment and interoperability was of considerable support for Resolution 76 of WTSA-08. The overall consensus was that it would benefit both developing and developed countries if this resolution was implemented without further delay. In this regard, the resolution adopted in Guadalajara represents an important milestone.
Preparations for the 2012 World Conference on
From the technical, regulatory and policy perspectives, the international telecommunication/ICT environment has changed significantly, and it continues to evolve rapidly. Advances in technology have resulted in an increased use of IP-enabled infrastructure and IP-based services and applications, presenting both opportunities and challenges for Member States and Sector Members.
The Guadalajara Conference has decided that the dedicated Council Working Group will continue to shoulder the task of preparing the World Conference on International Telecommunications in 2012 (WCIT-12). The agenda and dates for WCIT-12 will be those already fixed by the Council in its Resolution 1317.
In addition to the work specified in Council Resolution 1312, the preparatory process for WCIT-12 will include:
- considering all relevant ITU work and outputs regarding the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs);
- examining all proposals for revising the ITRs;
- preparing a final report, based on, and consolidating, inputs and reports from all preparatory activities, including regional preparatory meetings.
The final report will present all options and views to WCIT-12. It will be ready four months prior to WCIT -12 so that Member States, in particular developing countries, can prepare for the event.
Since the existing version of the ITRs was approved in 1988, plenipotentiary conferences, world telecommunication standardization assemblies and the study groups of the Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) have adopted many resolutions, whose provisions have helped the ITRs to remain in force. All these will be taken into account.
Member States and Sector Members are invited to contribute to the preparatory work for WCIT-12, including the regional meetings.
Human exposure to and measurement of electromagnetic fields
The ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) and the ITU Telecommunications Sector (ITU-T) are collaborating with other expert organizations in work relating to human exposure to electromagnetic fields. ITU has expertise in calculating and measuring the field strength and power density of radio signals, while WHO and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have specialized health expertise and competence to assess the impact of radio waves on the human body.
Today the Plenipotentiary Conference adopted a new resolution that will spur ITU work in this area to assist national administrations, particularly in developing countries. ITU will collect and disseminate information on exposure to electromagnetic fields, and on methods of measuring exposure.
Regional seminars and workshops will be held to build human capacity, and Member States are expected to share their expertise and resources. The Council and the next Plenipotentiary Conference will get reports on the matter.
Guidelines on limits of exposure to electromagnetic fields have been established by ICNIRP, the International Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). The new resolution sets out a complementary role for ITU in supporting Member States in measuring exposure and in related capacity-building.
ITU TELECOM events
The telecommunication environment is undergoing considerable changes, fuelled by advances in technology, the globalization of markets and growing user demand for services that meet their needs. In this environment, the need for a global framework to exchange information on telecommunication strategies and policies has been evident for many years.
In the light of these considerations and many proposals from Member States, which were discussed in Committee 6, the conference has decided that ITU Telecom events should be organized on a predictable and regular basis, preferably at the same time each year. In addition, these events should not overlap with any major ITU conferences or assemblies, and they should be financially viable.
The conference has also decided that ITU Telecom events will be redesigned as a global event, and will be held annually. This global event will take place in a fixed venue every two years and in another venue in the years when it is not held in the fixed venue. For both cases, the venue will be determined on the basis of an open and transparent bidding process taking into account the principle of rotation among regions, and between Member States within regions to the extent possible. The bidding process will be based on a model host-country agreement, to be developed by the Secretary-General and approved by the Council, as soon as possible.
Resolution 11 (Rev. Antalya, 2006) on “world and regional telecommunication/information and communication technology exhibitions and forums” , which govern ITU Telecom events has been revised substantially, starting with its title. This now simply reads: “ITU Telecom events”.
The resolution notes that ITU Telecom events are also facing challenges, such as the increasing costs of exhibits and the trend towards reducing their size, the specialization of their scope and the need to provide value to industry. it also says that ITU Telecom needs a transition period to adapt to new market conditions.
The conference observed that there is an increased interest to further develop ITU Telecom events as a key platform for discussions among policy-makers, regulators and industry leaders. This interest was evident at the ITU Telecom 2009 event, which was organized taking on board the measures called for in ITU Council Resolution 1292 (2008). These include the need to seek participation from a wider spectrum of industries/businesses; the need to encourage Heads of State and Government; Ministerial, CEO and other VIPs to participate in ITU Telecom Forums; and the need for broader dissemination of forum discussion and outcomes. Meanwhile, the conference considered that the organization of exhibitions is not the main objective of ITU and, if it is decided to arrange such exhibitions in conjunction with Telecom events, they should preferably be outsourced. Also, the ITU Telecom brand should be reinforced to remain one of the most respected events in the telecommunication /ICT industry.
The Secretary-General will consider measures that will enable and assist Member States which are capable and willing to do so, particularly developing countries, to host and stage ITU Telecom events. He will develop a model host-country agreement and have it approved by the Council as soon as possible.
The resolution states that a significant part of any generated positive income over expenditure derived from ITU Telecom activities shall be transferred to the ICT Development Fund, and allocated to specific telecommunication development projects, primarily in the least developed countries, small island developing States, landlocked developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
Free on-line access to ITU Publications – New Decision
The conference carefully examined the proposals from Member States with regard to the free on-line access policy on ITU publications. They considered this as an issue of high importance. The decision reached on 21 October is not only of a financial nature, but also more of a strategic dimension for ITU’s work, the conference underlined. In his report to the conference, Bruce Gracie, who chaired Committee 6, where the issue was widely debated , said: “The adverse impact on ITU’s revenue has to balance with the increased visibility that the free online policy is providing”. Free access to ITU-T Recommendations was recognized as being an outstanding achievement for international telecommunications, and members advocated for the adoption of a symmetrical approach across ITU. The ITU secretariat had explained, during the debates, that the estimated loss over a four-year period would be CHF 1.2 million. According to the new decision, free online access will be provided for ITU-R Recommendations, ITU-R Reports, the Basic Texts of the Union and the Final Acts of Plenipotentiary Conferences to the general public on a permanent basis. The Decision also instructs the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the revenue of sales of ITU Publications, software and databases, and to present this report to Council 2011.
Admission of Sector members from developing countries in the work of ITU-R and ITU-T - New Resolution
There was agreement that Sector Members from developing countries in ITU-T and ITU-R benefit from a reduced fee, as is the case in ITU-D. According to a new resolution, such Sector Members from developing countries shall not be affiliated in any way to any Sector Member of a developed country. The resolution will only apply to Sector Members, which are from developing countries classified by the United Nations Development Programme as low-income countries with an annual per capita income not exceeding USD 2000.
Independent Management Advisory Committee – New Resolution
The conference has decided that an Independent Management Advisory Committee (IMAC) should be set up, reaffirming its commitment to efficient, accountable, and transparent management of the Union. In a new resolution entitled “Independent Management Advisory Committee”, the conference considered the recommendation of the Representatives of Internal Audit Services of the United Nations Organizations and Multilateral Financial Institutions on the establishment of effective and independent audit committees. The conference recognized that the establishment of an independent management advisory committee contributes to effective oversight and governance of an organization.
It also recalled the report of the Joint Inspection Unit entitled Oversight Lacunae in the United Nations System (JIU/REP/2006/2) and in particular recommendation 1 of that report on the establishment of an independent external oversight board. The established practice amongst international institutions is that an independent management advisory committee serves in an expert advisory capacity and assists the governing body and the head of the agency in fulfilling their oversight and governance responsibilities. The resolution also notes the Reports by the Chairman of the Council Group on Financial Regulations and Related Financial Management Issues (Group FINREGS). The conference also approved the terms of reference for IMAC, which are annexed to this resolution. The Council is instructed to establish IMAC on a trial basis of four years and to report to the next Plenipotentiary Conference.
Bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries - Resolution 123 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010)
This resolution seeks to establish a clear basis for ITU’s activities to help bridge the standardization gap. It acknowledges that technological realities and needs vary from country to country and region to region. However, persistent concerns have arisen over developing countries’ ability to participate in ITU’s standardization activities, and it notes that major disparities in knowledge and management of standards remain between developed and developing countries. The resolution suggests that this standardization and ‘knowledge gap’ may potentially arise through lack of awareness of standardization activities, difficulties in accessing information, lack of training or lack of financial resources to engage in travel.
In order to help overcome divides in participation, knowledge and management of standards, the resolution asks the ITU Secretary-General and the Directors of the three ITU Bureaux to work closely with each other on this issue and to step up actions to reduce the standardization gap. It resolves that close coordination should be maintained among the three Sectors at the regional level, involving ITU’s regional offices. ITU is encouraged to identify means and support for the participation of representatives of developing countries in its meetings and to report on its follow-up. ITU Member States and Sector Members are invited to make both financial and in-kind contributions to support ITU’s actions and help boost the fund for bridging the standardization gap. This resolution provides a sound basis for helping boost the participation of developing countries in ITU’s standardization activities.
ITU’s role in child online protection - New Resolution
In response to considerable concern about how best to protect vulnerable children and youth online, this new resolution seeks to establish a mandate for ITU’s work and activities in this area, pursuant to the existing ITU Council resolutions. It recognizes the diverse nature of access to ICTs and the increasingly widespread use of ICTs by children, at times without control or guidance. It acknowledges the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcome documents, which recognized the role of ICTs in enhancing the development of children and as a tool to achieve international development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals.
The resolution encourages ITU to continue its Child Online Protection (COP) initiative as a platform to raise awareness and educate stakeholders in this vital issue. It also requests the ITU Council to continue its Council Working Group on child online protection - in the discussions relating to this resolution, a large number of Member States indicated their support for the continuation of the Council Working Group. It encourages the ITU Secretary-General to coordinate ITU activities with other initiatives at the national, regional and international levels, as well as bringing this resolution to the attention of the UN Secretary-General with the aim of increasing the commitment of the UN system in child online protection.
The role of telecommunications/information and communication technologies on climate change and the protection of the environment – New Resolution
This new resolution seeks to establish a sound basis for ITU’s work surrounding the role of telecommunications/ICT in climate change and the protection of the environment. Recognizing existing Council and World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) resolutions on ICTs and climate change, it acknowledges that ICTs contribute to greenhousegGas (GHG) emissions, but also play an important role in tackling climate change and protecting the environment.
The resolution notes the body of existing work carried out by ITU-T on methodologies for evaluating the energy efficiency of ICT equipment and monitoring their impact and effects on climate change. It also acknowledges ITU-R’s leadership in studying the use of radiocommunication systems and remote sensing applications to improve climate monitoring, disaster prediction and relief, as well as the work done by ITU-D in this domain.
ITU is called upon to continue demonstrating its leadership and developing its activities in this area, including through workshops, seminars, training courses and best practice guidelines. ITU should promote awareness of the environmental issues surrounding telecommunication/ICT equipment and encourage energy efficiency in the design and manufacture of such equipment to promote a clean and safe environment. The Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) should continue its work on evaluation methodologies for energy efficiency and the GHG emissions of ICTs. ITU should also provide assistance to developing countries to strengthen their human and institutional capacity for tackling and adapting to climate change, including disaster management planning.
The resolution invites ITU’s membership - its Member States, Sector Members and Associates – to contribute to the work of ITU as well as the broader UN process on climate change. It asks ITU’s broader membership to take the necessary measures to reduce the effects of climate change by developing and using more energy-efficient ICT devices, applications and networks and to promote recycling and the reuse of ICT equipment. It also calls upon them to continue or initiate public and private programmes including ICTs and climate change, while giving due consideration to relevant ITU initiatives. It is hoped that this resolution will help pave the way for ITU’s work in the area of ICTs and climate change, one of the biggest challenges facing mankind, and indeed the planet, today.
ITU’s call to Cancun: ICT must be part of the solution
ITU membership urges COP16 delegates to look to the enormous potential of ICT solutions to cut emissions across all sectors.
A message will be delivered at the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. This message was proposed by Mexico and read out by the Chairman of the Conference at the signing ceremony of the Final Acts on 22 October . It highlights the important role that information and communication technologies can play in tackling climate change, and is intended to raise awareness among policy-makers Here is an extract:
“Although ICTs are a small part of the problem they are also an important part of the solution.
ICTs provide means for virtual meetings (to replace/reduce travelling), smart grids, e-governance, e-health, intelligent transport systems, dematerialization (for example electronic publications rather than paper, downloading videos instead of buying DVDs).
ICTs, in general, and radio-based remote sensors, in particular, are already the main tools for environment observation and climate monitoring on global basis. The modern disaster prediction, detection and early warning systems based on the use of ICTs are essential for saving lives and should be proliferated in developing countries.
Specific mention of ICTs in the negotiating text, along with the adoption of an agreed methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of ICT equipment and its inclusion in National Adaptation/Mitigation Plans, would provide an incentive to the ICT industry to invest in developing countries, help reduce the digital divide, and at the same time help fight climate change – a win-win scenario.
ITU membership, therefore, urges COP16 delegates to look to the ICT sector, and take maximum advantage of the power of ICTs to reduce emissions worldwide.”
Future conferences, assemblies and forums of the Union (2011-2014) - Resolution 77 (REV. Guadalajara, 2010)
The conference noted that the dates for the next Radiocommunication Assembly (RA) have been set for 16‑20 January 2012, and those for the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) for 23 January - 17 February 2012. It agreed on the schedule of future conferences, assemblies and forums for the years 2011-2014 as shown below:
- World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA): November 2012;
- World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT): November 2012;
- World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC): March-April 2014;
- Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14): to be held in Korea (Republic of).
These events should be held within the periods. However, the precise dates and places, where not already decided, will be set by the Council after consultation of the Member States, leaving sufficient time between the various conferences. Their exact duration will be decided by the Council after their agendas have been established. The conference emphasized that the dates and durations of RA‑12 and WRC-12, for which the agendas have been established must not be modified.