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Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

ITU Council: Working Group on a stable ITU Constitution

27 June 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here today to open this first meeting of the Council Working Group on a stable ITU Constitution.

Firstly, I would like to offer my warmest thanks to Ms. Salma Jalife for accepting the role of chairing this Group.  As you all know, I had the pleasure of working very closely with Ms. Jalife during the Plenipotentiary Conference held in Mexico last year and I know that her role behind the scenes in the preparation of the Conference very much contributed to its success. I have full confidence in her ability to guide this Group in its work.

I would also like to thank the five vice-chairmen:
  • Mr Ahmet Erdinc Cavusoglu of Turkey
  • Mr Valery Timofeev of Russia
  • Mr John Omo of Kenya
  • Mr Rodolfo Salalima of the Philippines
  • Mr Mahiddine Ouhadj of Algeria.
I strongly believe that the broad experience of the vice-chairs and their in-depth knowledge of the ITU will be very valuable to this Group. I count on their support to advance the work smoothly, and help the Chair build consensus among the membership on the important issue of a stable Constitution.

As you know, the issue of a stable Constitution has been under discussion for some time now among the membership.

The practice at the ITU of amending its Constitution and Convention at every Plenipotentiary Conference is truly unique in the United Nations system.

In addition, many Member States have indicated that the ratification procedure has proven to be very burdensome and time consuming for them, and this has resulted in a trend whereby fewer and fewer Member States are ratifying the amendments to our Constitution and Convention.

For instance, 148 Member States have ratified the amendments adopted in Kyoto, 94 have ratified the amendments adopted in Minneapolis, 80 have ratified the amendments adopted in Marrakesh, 46 have ratified the amendments adopted in Antalya and only 1 has ratified the amendments adopted in Guadalajara.

We have agreed, through the adoption of Resolution 163, that we have much to gain from adopting a truly stable Constitution as a solid foundation for the Union.

Today we start on the challenging task of drafting this stable Constitution.  I know that we have a tight and challenging timetable to keep – this Group has less than three years to complete its work. I am, however, convinced that with your dedication, and under the chairmanship of Ms. Jalife, we will be able to propose to the membership a stable Constitution that will both ensure the successful functioning of our organization for the years to come and reinforce ITU’s ability to shape the future.

I wish you well with your discussions, and I assure you that you have my full support as well as the support of the Secretariat to achieve the objectives of this Working Group.

Thank you.