THE ITU PLENIPOTENTIARY
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is the United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues. Its stated mission is “to enable the growth and sustained development of telecommunications and information networks, and to facilitate universal access so that people everywhere can participate in, and benefit from, the emerging information society and global economy.” The ITU’s membership includes 192 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates. Four out of the five RIRs are sector members.
The ITU Plenipotentiary is an event held every four years and represents the ITU’s highest authoritative body, drawing participants from governments, the private sector, and regional and international organizations. The 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-10) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) was a three week event that concluded 22 October in Guadalajara, Mexico.
PP-10 focused predominantly on issues associated with the management of the ITU, but there were also discussions on issues of particular interest to RIR communities. For example, there has been increasing interest from the ITU and some Member States in the management and distribution of Internet number resources. This includes the distribution of IPv4 and IPv6 IP addresses and Autonomous System (AS) Numbers, and ensuring that the shift to IPv6 does not disadvantage the developing world. The subject of global cyber-security was also high on the agenda, as well as the broad topic of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The list of documents discussed can be viewed at PP-10: Documents and proposals. Please note, however, that these documents are only accessible to ITU members.
Resolutions passed at the conference included:
Facilitating the Transition from IPv4 to IPv6: The ITU’s first Plenipotentiary resolution focuses on IPv6, seeking to share IPv6 implementation stories and information with all stakeholders, assist Member States in IPv6 resource allocation and management, collaborate closely with the relevant international recognized partners, including the Internet community as RIRs, IETF and others, in order to encourage the deployment of IPv6 by raising awareness and through capacity building; and calling for the ITU to study and monitor current allocation mechanisms, identify any flaws and communicate proposals for changes to existing policies, if appropriate.
Resolution 101 – Internet Protocol-based Networks: This resolution considers recent advances in global information infrastructure and requests all three Sectors to consider their future work programs on IP-based networks and on migration to next-generation networks (NGN) and future networks. It asks ITU-T to continue its collaborative activities with ISOC/IETF and other relevant organizations, and asks ITU to fully embrace the opportunities for telecommunication/ICT development arising from the growth of IP-based services, identify clearly the range of Internet-related issues falling within its responsibilities according to its basic texts and the WSIS outcome documents, and help raise awareness at the national, regional and international levels. It also calls for greater collaboration and coordination between ITU and relevant organizations (including, but not limited to ICANN, the RIRs, the IETF, ISOC and W3C on a reciprocity basis), as well as UNESCO and the Broadband Comm ission for Digital Development.
Resolution 102 – ITU’s Role with Regard to International Public Policy Issues Pertaining to the Internet and the Management of Internet Resources, Including Domain Names and Addresses: This updated resolution emphasizes that ITU’s Dedicated Group on Internet-related public policy issues should continue its work, instructs the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) to continue performing its role in technical issues and to liaise and cooperate with appropriate entities, instructs the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) to organize international and regional forums to discuss policy, operational and technical issues on the management of Internet domain names and addresses and other Internet resources, and calls for the ITU to continue to play a facilitating role in the coordination of international Internet-related public policy issues, calling for greater collaboration and coordination between ITU and relevant organizations (inc
luding, but not limited to ICANN, the RIRs, the IETF, ISOC and W3C on a reciprocity basis).
Resolution 133 – Role of Administrations of Member States in the Management of Internationalized (Multilingual) Domain Names: This resolution updates and sets out the role of the ITU in relation to the role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized domain names (IDNs). Noting that the current domain name system does not fully reflect the diverse and growing language needs of all users and that IDNs should be widely accessible, it instructs the ITU Secretary-General and Directors of the three Bureaus to take an active part in international discussions, initiatives and activities on the deployment and management of internationalized Internet domain names, in cooperation with relevant organizations including WIPO and UNESCO, and calls upon ITU elected officials to take action to ensure the sovereignty of ITU Members and to promote the role of the ITU membership in the internationalization of domain names in different language scripts using their
specific character sets.
Other resolutions and decisions of note include:
- Resolution 22 (Apportionment of Revenues in Providing International Telecommunication Services)
- Resolution 130 (Cybersecurity)
- Resolution 140 (ITU’s Role in Implementing the Outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society)
- Resolution 146 (Review of the International Telecommunication Regulations Focus on its Possible Expansion to Include the Internet)
- Resolution 149 (Study of Definitions and Terminology Relating to Building Confidence and Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies Where the Focus is on Defining ICTs)
- Admission of Sector members from developing countries in the work of ITU-R and ITU-T
- Free online access to ITU Publications
For complete highlights, visit http://www.itu.int/plenipotentiary/2010/newsroom/highlights/oct22.html
This conference brought many new resolutions to light, including the topic of IPv6 transitioning, and many negotiations regarding these resolutions proved difficult. With the conference over and the Resolution language now finalized, the next step for the RIRs is to determine how the Member States interpret the agreed resolutions.
Webcasts from the main meeting sessions are also available and archived at PP-10 webcast.
There are also two key Twitter hashtags in use to follow what’s happening: #PP10 and #adhocInternet.