ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 begins

By on 30 Oct 2018

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ITU Plenipotentiary Conference brings more than 2500 ICT decision-makers together from around the world to ‘work as one’ to advance power of ‘Tech for Good’. Photo: ITU

This week, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates are hosting the 20th International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference.

Around 2,500 representatives of Member States and Sector Members will converge at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for a three-week meeting that will set the budget and strategic plan of the ITU for the next four years .

Week one is dominated by electoral processes, to establish the senior leadership positions of the ITU and determine the Member State composition of the ITU Council. Discussions will begin on a range of public policy issues related to international telecommunications. Increasingly, however, these discussions have included public policy issues related to the Internet.

There are more than a dozen agreements, or Resolutions, directly referring or affecting the work of the RIRs and ICANN. These Internet Resolutions are typically a cause for long negotiations as Member States cannot always agree on the scope of the ITU’s mandate in relation to the Internet.

Additionally, this meeting will discuss the outcomes of an Expert Group, formed in 2014, which has been reviewing the unusual situation of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). Following a World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in 2012, there are currently two versions of this International Treaty that relate to telecommunications between economies: one is the original 1998 agreement; the second is the one renegotiated during WCIT in 2012, but this agreement failed to achieve consensus. As a result, only 88 Member economies agreed to the new Treaty, leaving both active.

One group of Member States believe this Expert Group should be reformed to prepare for a WCIT in 2020, while opponents believe the matter should be delayed until there is more unity in the direction and scope of the Regulations, particularly whether Internet governance should be part of these.

APNIC is a D-Sector Member of the ITU, which affords observer status at the meeting between Member States. Other Internet organizations such as other RIRs, ICANN, and ISOC will send representatives to the meeting.

The conference will close on 16 November 2018. Many of the documents are publicly available and the larger Plenary sessions will be webcast with live captioning.

APNIC activities at PP-18:

  • Klée Aiken and Adam Gosling will represent APNIC during the three weeks of Plenaries, Working Groups and ad hoc sessions.
  • Klée and Adam will follow discussions regarding Internet public policy and advise other delegates of: APNIC’s role as a RIR, its mission and activities; how APNIC can support IP address related activities in their economy or region, in particular, IPv6 deployment; and provide advice and expertise on Internet matters when required.
  • Paul Wilson and Pablo Hinojosa will join toward the end of the three weeks following the Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2018) in Paris, France.
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