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 Address to the ISO General Assembly
 Geneva, Switzerland  19 September 2007 
Mr. Murby, President of ISO,
Mr. Bryden, Secretary-General of ISO,
Honorable hosts,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. May I take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to ISO on reaching its 60th anniversary.

It is an honor and a pleasure for me to speak here today on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), one of your partners in the World Standards Cooperation (WSC). Given the number of bodies, fora and consortia involved in standards making these days, cooperation and collaboration is the key to avoiding duplication of effort, and sharing resources. We are fortunate to be located close together here in Geneva, and of course we share a number of goals.

A major achievement earlier this year was the alignment of the IPR policies of the WSC partners. Guidelines for the Implementation of this Common Patent Policy and a Patent Statement and License Declaration Form were also agreed. The move sends a strong message to industry that contribution of the fruits of research and development (R&D) activity to the standards process can be done safe in the knowledge that intellectual property rights are respected.

We also held a very successful joint workshop on the fully networked car at the Geneva Motor Show. It was so successful that we will be running it again at next year’s Motor Show.

I believe we share two major goals: to out reach to the developing countries; and to involve universities and students more in our work.

As the only intergovernmental body dealing with telecommunication/ICT standards, and the only one that is part of the UN family, ITU is blessed with a membership of 191 governments (or Member States). However, exceptionally for a UN body, it also has more than 700 business entities as members (called Sector Members and Associates). Of course we rely heavily on our industry members for the development of our standards, and in fact it is the industry participants that in effect adopt all our technical standards, which are then de facto approved by all 191 Member States.

Nevertheless there is a considerable and growing interest amongst the Member States from developing countries in our standards work, and we now have the major objective to bridge the standardization gap. That is to involve developing countries more in the standardization process, and to extend the benefits of standardization to developing countries. We will be doing this through holding workshops in the regions, introducing new collaboration tools to allow virtual participation in our meetings, organizing more of our meetings in the regions, and establishing regional groups in cooperation with the regional organisations.

In October next year ITU will hold its World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly. The WTSA is the ITU standardization sector’s highest decision-making body and meets every four years. WTSA will focus on the structure of the sector, appoint the chairmen and vice-chairmen of our study groups, and set the priorities for the following four years.

For the first time, the WTSA will be preceded by a one day event (on 20 October 2008) which we will call a “Global Standards Symposium” with a focus on how to bridge the standardization gap. We will also be discussing how to further global standards collaboration to achieve this objective. I look forward to discussing with ISO how it might take part in this important event and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to attend as I am sure that the discussions will be of great significance to the future of standards development.

ITU was given a significant role in the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the ITU standardization sector contributes considerably to ITU’s actions. ITU is the facilitator of the multi-stakeholder efforts to implement the WSIS outcomes in the field of communications infrastructure (WSIS action line C2), including quality of service, reliability and telecommunication protocols; and in building confidence and security in the use of ICTs (WSIS action line C5), including cybersecurity and countering spam. We are also working on other action lines including the multilingual Internet and many other new technologies to support access to ICTs by those who are disabled in some way.

It is a very positive time and our members are very enthusiastic about achieving our key priorities such as:
  • bridging the digital divide, including through infrastructure projects, capacity building and assisting our Member States in developing an enabling environment;
  • stewardship of the radio spectrum, through global treaties; the next World Radiocommunication Conference will be starting here in the CICG next month with over 2000 delegates;
  • adopting international standards to ensure seamless global communications and interoperability;
  • building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). This is why ITU has launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda to foster a common understanding of the importance of cybersecurity and bring together all relevant stakeholders to work on concrete solutions to deal with cybercrime. As part of this effort we now have on our website an ICT Security Standards Roadmap to support the security standardization work by identifying existing published security standards, standards that are in development, and areas where a need for standards has been identified, both in ITU and other organizations including ISO and IEC.
  • emergency communications to develop early warning systems and provide access to communications during and after disasters.
Much of our current standardization work relates to the development of standards for Next Generation Networks (NGNs). NGN offers developing countries the opportunity to jump several generations in technology, and we are making efforts to ensure their requirements are taken into account, and to explain the opportunities and challenges NGNs pose.

NGNs open up all sorts of exciting possibilities for innovation, which is why we have chosen this title for our first kaleidoscope event with universities next March. We are offering a considerable prize for the best papers (thanks to Cisco sponsorship) and the winning paper will be published in the IEEE proceedings. We are also looking at ways to facilitate universities participation in our work. I am sure that here again we could support each others efforts to outreach to universities.

ISO, IEC and ITU have enjoyed a good relationship for many years, and ITU is committed to continue and develop this relationship. To conclude I look forward during my four year tenure, to continuing and further developing our collaboration in the WSC, together with the IEC, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank ISO and its members for its commitment to the global standards process and its willingness to collaborate with us to meet the needs of the global community.

I wish you a very successful meeting.

Thank you for your attention.


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