Statement from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary General of the ITU.
Dubai, 13 December 2012.
Tonight in Dubai we have concluded the drafting of the text for the newly revised International Telecommunication Regulations treaty. This treaty contains many gains and achievements including increased transparency in international mobile roaming charges and competition, an extremely important win for consumers.
The treaty contains a newly updated Article which will promote greater connectivity for people with disabilities as well as a new Resolution covering Land-Locked Developing Nations and Small Island Developing States. This Resolution will set the framework for increased investment and roll out of broadband and mobile broadband, bringing vital services to populations that are currently disconnected.
Information and communication technologies can now play a greater role in driving sustainable development, in particular with new Articles that provide recommendations for dealing with the growing scourge of e-waste and promoting greater energy efficiency.
I have been saying in the run up to this conference that this conference is not about governing the Internet. I repeat that the conference did NOT include provisions on the Internet in the treaty text. Annexed to the treaty is a non-binding Resolution which aims at fostering the development and growth of the internet – a task that ITU has contributed significantly to since the beginning of the Internet era, and a task that is central to the ITU’s mandate to connect the world, a world that today still has two thirds of its population without Internet access.
The new ITR treaty does NOT cover content issues and explicitly states in the first article that content-related issues are not covered by the treaty. Likewise, in the preamble of the new text signatory Member States undertake to renew their commitment and obligation to existing human rights treaties.
The word “Internet” was repeated throughout this conference and I believe this is simply a recognition of the current reality – the two worlds of telecommunications and Internet are inextricably linked. I demonstrated that from the very beginning by inviting my friend Fadi Chehadé, the CEO of ICANN, to address our conference at the beginning.
History will show that this conference has achieved something extremely important. It has succeeded in bringing unprecedented public attention to the different and important perspectives that govern global communications. There is not one single world view but several, and these views need to be accommodated and engaged.
WCIT has shown us this truth and we have worked hard together to find a way that is acceptable to all. Let WCIT be the beginning of this dialogue. As our two worlds increasingly converge so must we increasingly converse and find a common way.