The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) 2022 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-22) began today in Bucharest, Romania.
ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference is an international treaty conference. It considers and may amend the organisation’s basic texts – such as the ITU Constitution and Convention, General Rules of Conferences, and protocols for dispute settlement – as well as making key strategic and budgetary decisions.
The ITU is a United Nations specialised agency headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It was established over 150 years ago in 1865, joining the United Nations in 1948. This makes it one of the oldest international organisations in the world and it is one of the 15 specialised agencies in the United Nations system. It plays a vital role in forging cooperation in the global telecommunications system, telecommunications infrastructure development, and the allocation of frequency bands in the radio spectrum.
Held every four years, the conference sets the Union’s general high-level policies, adopts four-year strategic and financial plans, and elects the senior management team to run the organisation. They will include the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, and Directors of the Radiocommunication, Telecommunication Standardisation, and Telecommunication Development Bureau – who will guide the organisation’s work over the next four years. It will also elect members to the Radio Regulations Board and the ITU Council.
Over 3,000 participants are expected at the 2022 conference. It will include a diverse set of representatives from 193 Member States and over 900 sector members, comprising private companies, universities, institutes, and other regional and international organisations. ITU has a federal structure with three sectors: Radiocommunication; Telecommunication Standards; and Telecommunication Development. Each sector has its own governing body, with a corresponding bureau headed by an elected official in the ITU Secretariat, including representatives from 193 member states and sector members from around the world.
The process by which the ITU conducts its work is quite unique within the United Nations system. Employing a multistakeholder process, government representatives, companies, civil society, and a broad range of technology and standards expert work together to conduct the objectives in numerous study groups and informal sessions.
The conference will approve high-level work plans and strategic objectives for the Union’s work for the new study period (2022-2026). Among the issues to be discussed in the form of Resolutions and Decisions are some of the most important topics facing regulators, technical experts, and industry leaders. They include key topics such as digital inclusion and bridging the digital divide, the role of 5G in both terrestrial and space-based networks, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), and the roll-out of emerging next-generation networks using a broad array of platforms and technologies.