Building Consensus at the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission Assembly

Posted by Julie N. Zoller
February 19, 2014
Representatives From CITEL Member States With ITU Deputy Secretary General

I had the honor to lead the U.S. delegation to the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) Assembly and Conference Preparatory Working Group, which took place in Santo Domingo, February 11-14, 2014.   CITEL serves as OAS's telecommunications/ICT advisory body.  Established by the OAS General Assembly in 1994, CITEL's mission is to promote the sustainable development of telecommunications/ICT in the Western Hemisphere.  

There was a high degree of regional consensus at the meeting in Santo Domingo, where the quadrennial Assembly reelected the United States to the Permanent Executive Committee, endorsed a slate of candidates for the 2014 World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14), and adopted a strategic plan for the next four-year period.

The spirit of agreement continued, as CITEL adopted a record number of Inter-American Proposals to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), which will take place from March 30 to April 10, 2014, in Dubai.  WTDC will establish the work programs, regional initiatives, and studies for the ITU’s Development Sector for the next four years.  Regional proposals like CITEL’s Inter-American Proposals -- which require support by at least six countries -- carry a lot of weight, because they are supported by several countries. 

 
Our region has made modernizing public safety communications infrastructures to ensure connectivity and interoperability when communications are most needed -- during disasters -- a priority.  The United States' proposal to reinforce efforts in the area of disaster relief and emergency communications was the first to achieve Inter-American Proposal status.  Others include proposals on broadband development, the role of information and communication technologies in education, and cyber security and combating spam.
 
When the WTDC starts on the 30th of March, the America’s region will be united behind candidates, priorities, and programs that meet the needs of developing countries.   In addition to establishing ITU’s development agenda, WTDC will be an indicator for key issues -- like cybersecurity -- that will be discussed at the Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) taking place in Korea later this year.   The U.S. delegations to WTDC and PP-14 will be led by Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy.  Ambassador Sepulveda’s office is actively preparing for both conferences.  We look forward to working with our region and all attendees at WTDC and PP-14 toward a positive outcome.
 
About the Author: Julie N. Zoller serves as Senior Deputy Coordinator and Director of Multilateral Affairs, Office of International Communications and Information Policy, Bureau of Economics and Business Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.

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