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1989

ITU conference deemed success

The Canadian delegation at the ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference in Nice, France. Shown (from left to right) are Alex Sophianopoulos, Telecom Canada; Don McKay, DGRR; Peter Stern, Teleglobe Canada; Janis Doran, DGIR; Pierre Gagné, DGIR; Bob Jones, DGRR; Bruce Gracie, DGIR; Josette Couture, DGIR; Jim Edwards, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Communications; Marie-Josée Lévesque, DGSP; Gaby Warren, DGIR; Keith Hoffman, Telecom Canada; Ram Jakhu, McGill University; Colin Billowes, CIDA; and Paul Racine, DGTP. Missing are Dave Barr, Ontario Ministry of Communications and Culture; Alain Gourd, Deputy Minister; Ambassador de Montigny Marchand, External Affairs; Mike Israel, Teleglobe Canada; and Jean-Luc Chouinard, External Affairs.

 

Canadian delegates are pleased with the outcome of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference held in Nice, France from May 23 to June 29.

 

One of the achievements of the ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference was the establishment of the Telecommunications Development Bureau (TDB). The new Bureau will be the ITU organ responsible for helping Third World countries develop their telecommunications systems.

 

"We now have the resources to help the 115 developing countries in the ITU. For example, if a country wants to establish a microwave system, the Telecommunications Development Bureau will be able to help them," says Pierre Gagné, Director of Multilateral Telecommunications for the Department's International Relations Branch and a member of the Canadian delegation.

 

In his opening address to the conference, Deputy Minister Alain Gourd, Head of the Canadian delegation, emphasized Canada's support for concrete measures to enhance the ITU's role in development assistance.

 

Formed in 1865, the ITU is the United Nations agency responsible for the formulation of regulations for international telecommunications and operating standards for equipment and services. Every five or six years, members gather to plan policies and to set a work program for the ITU, including a schedule of administrative conferences and meetings.

 

Decisions made at the conference, such as the creation of the TDB, will help the ITU meet the needs of its 166 member countries and will serve to adapt the Union to a rapidly changing international telecommunications environment.

 

The Plenipotentiary conference, which adopted a new Constitution and revised Convention for the organization, also agreed to establish a special high-level committee to study ITU operations and recommend further adaptations that may be needed. "We're being faced with new challenges all the time and the Plenipotentiary ensured that the ITU will be able to meet these challenges in the future," says Gagné.

 

The Canadian delegation consisted of 12 employees from the Department of Communications, as well as representatives from other departments and the private sector, including External Affairs, the Canadian International Devel­opment Agency, the Ontario government, Teleglobe Canada and Telecom Canada.

 

At the conference, Gary Brooks, a former Department employee, was re-elected to sit as one of the five members of the International Frequency Registration Board. Canada was also re-elected to the 43-member Administrative Council, which oversees the functioning of the ITU between Plenipotentiary Conferences.

 

The ITU's permanent organs are the International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB), the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR), the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT), the General Secretariat and the new Telecommunications Development Bureau.

 

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