ITU Sees Busy Year Ahead, Hopes To Overcome Divisions

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The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) foresees a busy year, and one in which it continues its longstanding role as the key convener of international policymaking on information and communications technologies, the ITU secretary general has said. And it has started the year with efforts to patch over deep divisions among its members that arose at an ITU conference in December.

The ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications, WCIT‑12, held in Dubai from 3-14 December, saw the emergence of a rift between members who want the UN body to play a larger role in global internet governance, those who want it to stay out (IPW, United Nations, 13 December 2012). The ITU does not see this is as insurmountable.

“At WCIT‑12 we saw a new divide opening up between members,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said in recent editorial on the ITU website. “This is not a divide about issues within ITU, however, and we are therefore confident that in the true spirit of the Union we will continue to work together to bridge that divide. All members have expressed their desire to continue participating actively in ITU’s ongoing work, and we fully appreciate their confidence and support.”

The ITU outlook includes various initiatives and meetings during the year, such as the World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF) in May. This will provide “a global platform for our members to examine international Internet-related public policy matters,” Touré wrote.

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