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Internet Governance 24 October 2014

Plenipot Update 24 October: New Leadership of the ITU

Sally Shipman Wentworth
By Sally Shipman WentworthSenior Vice President, Project Staff

The first official week of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference wrapped up today by finally reaching the conclusion of the election of the Deputy Secretary General.  Mr. Malcolm Johnson of the United Kingdom was elected as Deputy Secretary General of the ITU in the fourth ballot. 

In addition, the ITU Members elected the other members of the senior ITU team:

  • Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau – François Rancy (France)
  • Director of the Development Bureau – Brahima Sanou (Burkina Faso)
  • Director of the Standardization Bureau – Chasesub Lee (Republic of Korea)

The Internet Society would like to congratulate the new leadership of the ITU and we look forward to a productive working relationship over the coming years.

After much anticipation, the Working Group of Plenary took up the so-called “Internet related matters”.  Countries debated whether the scope of the ITU’s existing mandate in this area is sufficient or whether more work by the ITU is needed in areas such as IP addressing, Internet security, Internet Exchange Points, to name just a few.   Unsurprisingly, there was no consensus on these points and the work has been moved to an ad hoc group chaired by Italy.  This group will begin meeting on Saturday and, with the number of proposals to consider, I expect this to be a long debate over the course of several days.

Plenipot is also debating whether to make any changes to the ITU Constitution and Convention, the treaty text.  Thus far, the trend of the debate is to support a “stable” Constitution and Convention and, as such, not to modify the treaty.  This is important because it means that the ITU’s treaty mandate would not expand as a result of this Conference.   In addition, the Member States are considering how often to host WCITs – there is a proposal to hold the next WCIT every eight years but some countries have raised concern with holding the WCIT too often.  This will be discussed further in a smaller group.

Finally, the ITU Secretary General hosted a consultation with civil society in order to keep the dialogue open. Additional meetings will be held as the meeting goes on.  Dr. Toure posted a blog today on ITU engagement with civil society.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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