At the first plenary meeting, India took over the rotating chairmanship from Ghana. Mr R.N. Jha, Deputy Director-General, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, said in his opening address as Chairman, “This session of Council is particularly important as this is the year of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. Many issues being discussed here will find their way to the Mexico conference.” Mr Jha added that as ITU celebrates its 145th anniversary this year, the importance of the Union is increasing as newer technologies, applications and services are introduced that contribute to economic growth worldwide.
In his State of the Union address, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour noted some recent landmark achievements, such as new ITU standards for the development of 3D TV and a universal charger solution for mobile phones as well as ITU’s timely interventions in restoring communications in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile earlier this year. Recognizing the need for broader support to strengthen ITU’s role, Dr Tour said, “As a market-responsive organization in a fast-changing environment, we need to work constantly to continue to increase our relevance.” He added that ITU members “will be convinced that supporting ITU’s work is good value for money.”
The Council will discuss preparations for the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the key event at which ITU Member States decide the future role of the organization, thereby determining its ability to influence and affect the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) worldwide. Held every four years, the Conference sets the Union’s general policies, adopts the strategic and financial plans and elects the senior management of the organization, members of the Council as well as members of the Radio Regulations Board.
ITU Council will also focus on the next major event on the calendar: the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10) which will take place in Hyderabad, India, 24 May – 4 June 2010. WTDC-10 will set the telecommunication/ICT agenda for the following four-year cycle. A number of Regional Preparatory Meetings have been held around the world to provide inputs on strategies and priorities to the World Conference to foster the development of ICTs. “I cannot over-emphasize the exceptional importance of WTDC this year,” said Dr Tour. “The Conference will adopt a declaration and an action plan that will pave the way to building on the foundations of a truly global information society.”
ITU Council expressed its condolences to the people of Poland and to the families of President Lech Kaczynski and his entourage of senior officials who perished in the plane crash in western Russia on 10 April.
ITU Council also paid tribute to Dr Pekka Tarjanne who held office as Secretary-General of ITU from November 1989 until January 1999. Dr Tarjanne passed away in February this year.