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Opening remarks - CCIR/ITU-R Study Groups 90th Anniversary

Speech by Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General

Opening remarks - CCIR/ITU-R Study Groups 90th Anniversary

21 November 2017, Popov Room, Geneva


Mr Francois Rancy, Director, ITU Radiocommunication Bureau;
Mr Brahima Sanou, Director, ITU Development Bureau;

Our Honoured guests:

Mr Valery Timofeev, former Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau;

Members and former members of the Radio Regulations Board;

Former Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Regional Radio Conferences, World Radio Conferences, Radio Assemblies, CCIR Study Groups and the Special Committee on Regulatory/Procedural Matters.

Current and former Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Radiocommunication Advisory Group (RAG), ITU-R Study Groups and Conference Preparatory Meetings;

Excellencies, Special Guests; Panellists;
ITU retirees;
Colleagues and friends;

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to Geneva for this celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the founding of the "Comité Consultatif International pour la Radio" (CCIR) which occurred at the International Radiotelegraph Convention in Washington, D.C. on 25 November 1927.

The CCIR study groups were incorporated into today’s Radiocommunication Sector (the ITU-R) at the Additional Plenipotentiary Conference held in Geneva in 1992, as part of the restructuring of the ITU and the establishment of the current ITU structure; the former CCIR Plenary being replaced by the Radio Assembly.

However, the fundamental role of the study groups has remained the same over these 90 years, and so today we are proudly marking the rich history of ITU’s international collaboration over these years. A history which has developed and shaped the wireless ecosystem we enjoy today. And also, to pay tribute to the truly incredible talent and hard work of the many thousands of experts, from administrations, industry and academia (including I am proud to say myself), participating in these study groups during the last 90 years, who have created the innovative technological advances in the use of the spectrum and satellite orbits on which we so depend.

The regulatory, procedural and technical studies conducted in the study groups provide the basis for the decisions taken at World Radiocommunication Conferences and the amendments to the international treaty on the use of the radio spectrum and satellite orbits, the Radio Regulations, as well as for the adoption of international standards, reports and handbooks on best practices, to ensure the optimum use of the radio spectrum and satellite orbits. There are many notable examples of ground-breaking international standards produced by the study groups over these years, including more recently recognition for the broadcasting standards by the U.S. National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, with the award of the prestigious Emmy award in 1982 and again in 2012, for outstanding achievement in engineering development.

Amongst other major achievements of course is the development and adoption of the IMT mobile broadband standards, which have revolutionized the way people communicate and access the internet, by enabling 3G and 4G, and now the future 5G generation of standards.

As part of the 90-year celebrations, a series of events have taken place throughout the year, including a high-level session on 12 June at the WSIS Forum, which showcased ITU-R Study Groups’ achievements, and a dedicated session on 21 September at ITU Telecom World 2017 in Busan, Republic of Korea, which focused on the industry’s recognition of the importance of the work of the ITU-R Study Groups. 

Today’s celebration is being held here this week during the 1st ITU Inter-regional Workshop on WRC-19 Preparation, to enable many of the main players working on the preparatory process for the conference to participate in the celebration. 

So, please join me in congratulating the CCIR/ITU-R Study Groups on their 90th Anniversary − a truly inspiring story of global collaboration, one which has created the ubiquitous wireless communication ecosystem that is so vital for social, economic and environmentally sustainable development across the world today, and into the future.

Thank you.