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Members Communiqué

19th Global Symposium for Regulators turns spotlight on the future of regulation

5th-generation regulation for inclusive connectivity

Port Vila, 10 July 2019

Regulators and experts from all over the world are in the Pacific island of Vanuatu from 9-12 July to discuss the future of regulation at the 19th edition of the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-19). In a fast-changing ICT landscape − with new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, the Internet of Things and 5G, as well as new business and investment models − GSR-19 highlights the need for strong partnerships, innovative regulatory tools and approaches, and for collaborative regulatory mechanisms across sectors to help connect the remaining 3.7 billion people who are still not using the Internet.

“ITU has developed the key concepts of 'collaborative regulation' and 'fifth-generation regulation' to describe the need for ICT policy and regulatory frameworks to be inclusive, up-to-date, flexible, incentive-based, evidence-based, decision-oriented and market-driven," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “At stake is the regulators' ability to unlock investment to support growth, jobs, innovation, and digital transformation across sectors and regions."

“The theme of this year's Global Symposium for Regulators, 'Inclusive connectivity: The future of regulation,' is close to us in the Pacific region," said Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister of Vanuatu. “GSR-19 offers our country, and indeed other countries in the Pacific, a unique opportunity for dialogue and to exchange ideas on the future of the ICT policy and regulatory environment, with a view to leveraging the vast opportunities offered by ICTs to transform our economies."

Organized by ITU, in collaboration with the Government of Vanuatu, GSR-19 will discuss, among others, digital strategies and policies, infrastructure regulation, innovative investment and financing mechanisms, spectrum, preparing for 5G and the changing role of the consumer.

For the first time, GSR will welcome the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. Commissioners will set the scene and share views on the best approach to bringing the next 3.7 billion people online.

“It is important for us regulators, especially for Small Island States, to collaborate with the respective Governments to create and maintain a regulatory environment that will not only bring the remaining 3.7 billion people online, but also ensure the market environment is fair and allows innovation," said Mr Brian Winji, Chairman of GSR-19 and Regulator of the Republic of Vanuatu. “The market environment should sustain competition and offer choices for our citizens."

“Regulation has entered a new age. Today, digital platforms represent the best opportunity ever to close the development gap. Innovative and collaborative approaches to policy and regulation are more urgently required than ever," said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and Coordinator of the Broadband Commission. “In the nearly 20 years since I helped set-up the very first GSR, the Symposium has evolved to become the pre-eminent global meeting of the ICT regulatory community. At this GSR let's be bold and define new ways of doing business that deliver rapid benefits to governments, the industry, and most importantly, people."

Other Highlights:

  • An interactive natural disaster simulation exercise will help regulators understand the importance of developing national emergency plans and explore new regulatory measures and the role of ICT regulators in such preparations - something of particular importance in the Pacific region in response to the climate crisis.

  • The Regional Regulatory Associations meeting will be an opportunity for such associations to exchange ideas on actions, opportunities and challenges as well as highlight possible areas of cooperation.

  • At the Private Sector Chief Regulatory Officers' meeting (CRO), participants will address the critical business and regulatory and technical challenges to create an enabling ecosystem for connectivity.

  • An Executive Roundtable for Heads of Regulators will focus on:
        1. the future of regulation for digital transformation, and
        2. the path towards 4th and ultimately 5th generation regulation.
  • ITU-Academy-GSMA training on competition policy in the digital age and an information session on technological solutions for connectivity titled 'From First Mile to Last Mile: Thinking out of the Box.'

The full programme is available online.

Expected outcomes

GSR-19 will culminate in the adoption of the GSR Best Practice Guidelines. Under the theme “Fast forward digital connectivity for all," the guidelines will be key in setting the future direction of ICT development and digital transformation for all.


Visit the GSR webpage for more information on the Symposium plus speakers, and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ITUGSR.