Broadband and cybersecurity are topping the agenda at the ongoing International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 18th Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-10) in Guadalajara, Mexico. Delivering emergency communications in the wake of natural disasters is another important topic during the three-week-long event, which began Oct. 4 and will run through Oct. 22.
Member states of the ITU elected Dr. Hamadoun Touré of Mali as secretary-general of ITU for a second four-year term. Touré won the position with 151 votes, with 157 countries present and voting. He contested the position unopposed.
Addressing the conference after the vote, Touré told close to 1,500 conference participants from around the world that he will "put a special emphasis on broadband access, as well as continuing to ensure that cybersecurity is high on everyone's agenda." Touré also pledged to ensure that small island developing states and land-locked countries get special attention. He will encourage more private sector involvement through public-private partnerships, both within ITU and in the field.
Touré was first elected to the post at the 2006 Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey. Since taking office, he has placed particular emphasis on building trust and security in information communications technology (ICT) networks, harnessing the power of ICTs to help mitigate climate change, strengthening ITU's work in emergency communications and fostering a global vision of broadband inclusion for all.
Houlin Zhao of China was re-elected deputy secretary-general with 155 votes. No candidate ran against him.
The participants are from more than 160 countries representing government, the private sector, and regional and international organizations. Other issues up for discussion include ITU’s strategic and financial plans for 2012 – 2015, new Internet addressing systems such as IPv6, the international treaty governing the provision of telecommunications services worldwide and the enhanced use of communications in mitigating climate change.
In addition, François Rancy of France was named director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau, and Brahima Sanou of Burkina Faso was elected director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau. Rancy won with 90 votes from 157 countries present, while Sanou captured 81 votes.
In addition, Malcolm Johnson of the United Kingdom was re-elected as director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. He contested the position unopposed winning the position with 152 votes.
ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau plays a key role in global communications, managing the distribution of international frequency spectrum and the allocation of satellite orbits. Rancy will face challenges including the major World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) scheduled for 2012. WRC 2012 will tackle issues including a review of the international framework for radiocommunication, the identification of appropriate mechanisms to address the digital dividend of radio spectrum freed up by the switch to digital TV, and the identification of spectrum resources for maritime, aeronautical, meteorological and climatology.