International Telecommunication Union: Wikis


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Small Flag of the United Nations ZP.svg International Telecommunication Union
Union internationale des télécommunications
Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones
Международный союз электросвязи
الاتحاد الدولي للاتصالات
Flag of ITU.svg
Flag of the ITU
Org type UN agency
Acronyms ITU
Head Mali Hamadoun Touré
Status Active
Established 17 May 1865
Headquarters Switzerland Geneva, Switzerland
Monument in Berne, Switzerland. The text reads: "Union Télégraphique Internationale fondée à Paris en 1865 sur l'initiative du gouvernement français. Érigé par décision de l'Union Télégraphique prise à la conférence internationale de Lisbonne en 1908." (In English: "International Telegraph Union founded at Paris in 1865 on the initiative of the French government. [This monument] erected by a decision of the Telegraph Union made at the international conference at Lisbon in 1908.")

The International Telecommunication Union is the eldest organization in the UN family still in existence. It was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris on 17 May 1865 and is today the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues, and the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services.


ITU Sectors and TELECOM:

Radiocommunication (ITU-R): Managing the international radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources is at the heart of the work of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).

Standardization (ITU-T): ITU's standards-making efforts are its best-known — and oldest — activity; known prior to 1992 as the International Telephone and Telegraph Consultative Committee or CCITT (from its French name "Comité consultatif international téléphonique et télégraphique")

Development (ITU-D): Established to help spread equitable, sustainable and affordable access to information and communication technologies (ICT).

ITU TELECOM: ITU TELECOM brings together the top names from across the ICT industry as well as ministers and regulators and many more for a major exhibition, a high-level forum and a host of other opportunities.

A permanent General Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General, manages the day-to-day work of the Union and its sectors.

The ITU mission: bringing the benefits of ICT to all the world’s inhabitants

ITU’s mission is to enable the growth and sustained development of telecommunications and information networks, and to facilitate universal access so that people everywhere can participate in, and benefit from, the emerging information society and global economy. The ability to communicate freely is a pre-requisite for a more equitable, prosperous and peaceful world. And ITU assists in mobilizing the technical, financial and human resources needed to make this vision a reality.

A key priority lies in bridging the so called Digital Divide by building information and communication infrastructure, promoting adequate capacity building and developing confidence in the use of cyberspace through enhanced online security. Achieving cybersecurity and cyberpeace are amongst the most critical concerns of the information age, and ITU is taking concrete measures through its landmark Global Cybersecurity Agenda.

ITU also concentrates on strengthening emergency communications for disaster prevention and mitigation. While both developing and developed countries are equally vulnerable to natural disasters, poorer nations are hardest hit because of their already fragile economies and lack of resources.

Whether through developing the standards used to create infrastructure to deliver telecommunications services on a worldwide basis, through equitable management of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits to help bring wireless services to every corner of the world, or through providing support to countries as they pursue telecommunication development strategies, all the elements of ITU’s work are centred around the goal of putting every human being within easy and affordable reach of information and communication and to contribute significantly towards economic and social development of all people.

ITU remains dedicated to helping the world communicate.

Legal Framework of ITU

The basic texts of ITU, adopted by the Plenipotentiary Conference, establish a binding, global framework for international telecommunications and set forth the structure of the Union as well as its diverse and far-reaching activities promoting telecommunications. In addition to the Constitution and Convention, the consolidated basic texts include the Optional Protocol on the settlement of disputes, the Decisions, Resolutions and Recommendations in force, as well as the General Rules of Conferences, Assemblies and Meetings of the Union.


The ITU is headed by a Secretary-General, who is elected to a four-year term by the member states at the plenipotentiary conference.

At the 17th Plenipotentiary Conference (2006) in Antalya, Turkey, the ITU's Member States elected Dr. Hamadoun Touré of Mali as Secretary-General of the Union.[1]

Directors and Secretaries-general of ITU

Directors of ITU
Name Beginning of Term End of Term Country
Louis Curchod 1 January 1869 24 May 1872 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Karl Lendi 24 May 1872 12 January 1873 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Louis Curchod 23 February 1873 18 October 1889 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
August Frey 25 February 1890 28 June 1890 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Timotheus Rothen 25 November 1890 11 February 1897 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Emil Frey 11 March 1897 1 August 1921 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Henri Étienne 2 August 1921 16 December 1927 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Joseph Räder 1 February 1928 30 October 1934 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Franz von Ernst 1 January 1935 1 January 1949 Flag of Switzerland.svg Switzerland
Secretaries general
Léon Mulatier 1 January 1950 1 January 1953 Flag of France.svg France
Marco Aurelio Andrada 1 January 1954 18 June 1958 Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina
Gerald C. Cross 1 January 1964 29 October 1965 Flag of the United States.svg United States
Manohar Balaji Sarwate 30 October 1965 19 February 1967 Flag of India.svg India
Mohamed Ezzedine Mili 20 October 1967 31 December 1982 Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia
Richard E. Butler 1 January 1983 31 October 1989 Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Pekka Tarjanne 1 November 1989 31 January 1999 Flag of Finland.svg Finland
Yoshio Utsumi 1 February 1999 31 December 2006 Flag of Japan.svg Japan
Hamadoun Touré 1 January 2007 present Flag of Mali.svg Mali


ITU member states

Membership of ITU is open to governments, which may join the Union as Member States, as well as to private organizations like carriers, equipment manufacturers, funding bodies, research and development organizations and international and regional telecommunication organizations, which can join ITU as Sector Members.

With telecommunications taking on an ever-greater importance as the universal facilitator of global economic activity, membership of ITU gives governments and private organizations the opportunity to play an active role in the organization, which can boast more than 140 years’ experience in building the world’s communications networks.

Through membership of the world’s largest, most respected and most influential global telecommunication organization, government and industry alike can ensure their voice is heard, and make an important and valued contribution to the developments reshaping the world around us.

Direct involvement in the work of ITU gives all members a chance to influence, learn and play a part in forging a new world for a new millennium.

Private companies and other organizations may elect to join one or more of the Union’s three Sectors, according to their particular sphere of interest. Whether through their participation in conferences, assemblies and technical meetings or in day-to-day work, members benefit from unique networking opportunities and a universal meeting ground where they can debate issues and forge deals and partnerships. ITU Sector Members also develop the technical standards which will underpin future telecommunication systems and shape tomorrow’s networks and services.

Finally, Sector Members gain privileged access to restricted first-hand information which can prove highly valuable in their business planning.

Because of its unique role and track record in worldwide telecommunications, ITU provides the ideal forum for governments and the private sector to come together to set agendas and policy frameworks that will have tremendous impact on the future of global business.

World Summit on the Information Society

Main article: World Summit on the Information Society

The ITU was the lead organizing agency of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)[2], a United Nations summit aiming at bridging the digital divide and turning it into digital opportunity for all. WSIS provided a global forum on the theme of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) for development, involving for the first time all stakeholders - governments, international organizations, civil society and business. WSIS was a pledge for building a people-centered development-oriented Information Society. Other big themes of the Summit were Internet governance and Financial mechanisms for meeting the challenges of ICTs for development.

The idea of holding WSIS came from the Tunisian President Ben Ali on the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis in 1998. The process was launched late in 2002 on the initiative of Kofi Annan. The first phase of the WSIS summit took place in December 2003 in Geneva and the second and final phase took place in Tunis in November 2005.

See also

ITU headquarters, Geneva


ITU headquarters, Geneva

External links


Video clips


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun


International Telecommunication Union


International Telecommunication Union

  1. An international organization established to standardize and regulate international audio and telecommunications. Formerly known as International Telegraph Union. Abbreviation: ITU.


  • Catalan: Unió Internacional de Telecomunicacions
  • Chinese: trad. 國際電信聯盟, simpl. 国际电信联盟 (guójì diànxìn liánméng)
  • Danish: Den Internationale Telekommunikations Union
  • Finnish: Kansainvälinen televiestintäliitto
  • French: Union internationale des télécommunications
  • Greek: Διεθνής ένωση τηλεπικοινωνιών (Diethnés énōsē tēlepikoinōniós)
  • Japanese: 国際電気通信連合 (こくさいでんきつうしんれんごう Kokusaidenkitsu-ushinrengou)
  • Korean: 국제 전기 통신 연합
  • Latin: Sodalitas Internationalis Telecommunicationum
  • Polish: Międzynarodowa Unia Telekomunikacyjna
  • Portuguese: União De Telecomunicação Internacional
  • Russian: Международныйа союз телекоммуникаций (Mezhdunarodnyia soyue telecommunicashiy)
  • Slovak: Mednarodna telekomunikacijska zveza
  • Spanish: Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones
  • Swedish: Internationella teleunionen


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