International telecommunication Union (ITU) summoned the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates which was held from 3 to14 December 2012. In the landmark conference, it was decided that the current International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) shall be reviewed.
After negotiating for two weeks, the delegates from the length and breadth of the world agreed to a fresh international treaty called New Global Telecoms Treaty, which will welcome the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to everyone in the world. More than 2000 delegates from across the world were registered for this conference.
The main points of the treaty were as follows:
•The treaty basically embarks general principles for making sure that there is free flow of the information across the world.
•New provisions ensured that there was special emphasis on the future efforts for helping the developing countries, on promotion of accessibility to the disabled as well as on emphasising the right to freedom of expression of people over all the ICT networks.
•In another provision, there was an inclusion of a Resolution for creating one, globally-harmonised number for access to various emergency services, improving the energy efficiency of the ICT networks, new text making it mandatory for the prices set for mobile roaming as well as fighting against the e-waste.
Issues that provoked debate at the World Conference on International Telecommunications:
There were certain tough issues which led to debate at this conference. These issues were-
•Unwanted bulk content like spam e-mails
•Definition of the entities which provided services under terms of the treaty,
•Whether the language on freedom of expression in the Preamble text of the treaty should be included or not
•The principle of non-discriminatory access of the networks of each other’s countries
ITU’s Gold Medal:
In WCIT-12, the ITU’s Gold Medal, which is the highest honour of the organisation, was awarded by ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré to Chairmanship of Al Ghanim.
WCIT-12 was among the most open treaty-making conferences of the world which had live as well as archived webcasting. There was English-language captioning of the meetings of substantive working committee (Committee 5 – Review) as well as the conference Plenary sessions.
There were in all, 1275 proposals to this conference from the member States. WCIT-12 included around 1600 delegates onsite from 151 Member States. This also included around 70 Ministers, Ambassadors and Deputy Ministers.