This Sunday we will celebrate the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU’s) 150th Anniversary (1865-2015).
In the current year, the celebrations of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU’s) 150th Anniversary are held. ITU is the oldest of the UN agencies and one of the oldest international organizations in the world, with headquarters in Geneva. It was established on 17th of May 1865 in Paris, with the signature of the first International Telegraph Convention and the establishment of the then International Telegraph Union (ITU). Under the agreement of 15th of November 1947 (which entered into force on 1st of January 1949) between the United Nations (UN) and ITU, the Union has become one of the specialized agencies of the UN system, responsible for telecommunications issues. Poland has been a member of ITU since 1921 and in the years 2010 and 2014 was re-elected as a member of the ITU Council, the most important decision-making body of this international institution.
Since its beginning, ITU has been engaged in the elaboration of international standards in telecommunications, from telegraph and telephone through radio, television, satellite communications, to the Internet. ITU supports the development of the global information society in order to counteract digital exclusion, it leads the global policy in the scope of frequencies and supports initiatives aimed at ensuring access to broadband Internet, promoting equal opportunities for men and women on the market of new technologies, supporting the role of young people in the digital market and ensuring Internet safety, especially for its youngest users.
For over ten years, the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) has been actively participating in the work of ITU, in particular within the creation of the radio regulations, as well as setting technical standards related to new ICT technologies. In addition, UKE actively participates in the World Radiocommunication Conferences, which set international agreements with regard to spectrum management that in turn have a huge impact on the development of telecommunications services, television and broadband Internet.
ITU also organizes the annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), which is the world's largest meeting of heads and experts of the regulatory authorities of the telecommunications market. It is the event where regulatory strategies and regulatory approaches to new trends and market challenges are discussed.
In 2013, UKE was the host of GSR. The event was attended by a total number of approximately 700 high-level delegates: ministers for telecommunications, heads of regulatory authorities, leaders of the global telecom industry and media representatives. Participants of the Polish GSR-13 edition sought to answer the question "How to ensure high competitiveness, quality of service and stable development of the ICT sector under growing dominance of the biggest market players?". They also discussed a series of other important topics from the telecommunications market’s point of view, which included, inter alia, the following issues: ensuring equal treatment of all market participants, development of online services, stable conditions for the development of the telecommunications market, the role of regulators in the area of economic growth and social inclusion, and finally the subject so important as combating digital exclusion.
UKE supports also other important ITU initiatives in the field of promoting equal opportunities and creating new possibilities in the digital market, which are related, among others, to activities such as:
- participation in the implementation of the World Summit on Information Society’s (WSIS) provisions, which aim to promote the development of the information society around the world;
- participation in the "Girls in ICT" project, whose goal is to encourage women to build their career in the sector of new information and communication technologies;
- assistance in ensuring the participation of a group of Polish students in the "Global Youth Summit Beyond 2015", during which the young generation shared their ideas and experiences on the future use of ICT tools for the development of the information society.
The complete list of events associated with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of ITU can be followed on a dedicated website at: www.itu150.org. At the same time, the main celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of ITU will take place in Geneva on 17th May.