International Telecommunication Union

International Telecommunication Union

Infobox UN
name = International Telecommunication Union Union internationale des télécommunications Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones Международный союз электросвязи الاتحاد الدولي للاتصالات 国际电信联盟
국제 전기 통신 연합

image size = 200px
caption = Flag of the ITU
type = UN agency
acronyms = ITU UIT
head = flagicon|MLI Hamadoun Touré
status = Active
established = May 17 1865
headquarters = flagicon|CHE Geneva, Switzerland
website =
parent =
subsidiaries =
commons =
footnotes =

The International Telecommunication Union is an international organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. It was founded as the "International Telegraph Union" in Paris on May 17, 1865. Its main tasks include standardization, allocation of the radio spectrum, and organizing interconnection arrangements between different countries to allow international phone calls — in which regard it performs for telecommunications a similar function to what the UPU performs for postal services. It is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations, and has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, next to the main United Nations campus.


The ITU is made up of three sectors:

* The Telecommunication Standardization Sector, ITU-T, whose secretariat is the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau or TSB, known prior to 1992 as the International Telephone and Telegraph Consultative Committee or CCITT (from its French name "Comité consultatif international téléphonique et télégraphique");
* The Radiocommunication Sector, ITU-R, whose secretariat is the Radiocommunication Bureau or BR, known prior to 1992 as the International Radio Consultative Committee or CCIR (from its French name "Comité consultatif international des radiocommunications");
* The Telecommunication Development Sector, ITU-D, whose secretariat is the Telecommunication Development Bureau or BDT, created in 1992.

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


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. [ [ Report on election of Toure] ]

Directors and Secretaries-general of ITU


The international standards that are produced by the ITU are referred to as "Recommendations" (with the word ordinarily capitalized to distinguish its meaning from the ordinary sense of the word). Due to its longevity as an international organization and its status as a specialized agency of the United Nations, standards promulgated by the ITU carry a higher degree of formal international recognition than those of most other organizations that publish technical specifications of a similar form.


The work of the ITU is conducted by its "members". As part of the United Nations structure, a country can be a member, in which case it is referred to as a "Member State". Companies and other such organizations can hold other classes of membership referred to as "Sector Member" or "Associate" status. As of September 2007 there were 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates. [ ITU Membership Information and access to membership list]

Sector and Associate memberships enable direct participation by a company in the development of standards (something not allowed in some other standards bodies such as ISO, where formal ballots are processed by a single entity per country and companies participate only indirectly through national delegations). Various parts of the ITU also maintain "liaison relationships" with other organizations.

Members are almost all of the UN members plus the Vatican City State. Only Palau and East Timor are not participating. Other entities not represented are the Palestinian Authority and Taiwan, although the Palestinian Authority is granted non-voting observer status [Resolution 99, "Status of Palestine in ITU", ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, Minneapolis, 1998] .


The ITU decides matters between states and private organizations through an extensive series of working parties, study groups, regional meetings, and world meetings.


*World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC)
*World administrative radio conferences (WARC)
*Regional Radiocommunication Conferences (RRC)

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) [ [ World Summit on the Information Society: Redirect ] ] , 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.

ee also

* [ ITU defines the future of mobile communications]
*ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T)
*ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R)
*ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D)
*UIT X.509
*Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL)
*Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG)


External links

* [ ITU official site]
* [ ITU history from the official site]
* [ "U.N. Summit to Focus on Internet"] - Washington Post article about ICANN and the United Nations' ITU relationship

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  • International Telecommunication Union —   [ɪntə næʃnl telɪkəmjuːnɪ keɪʃn juːnjən], Abkürzung ITU [aɪtiː juː], französisch Union Internationale des Télécommunications Abkürzung UIT [yi te], deutsch Internationale Fernmelde Union, Abkürzung IFU, Sonderorganisation der UNO zur Regelung… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • International Telecommunication Union — noun A UN agency promoting international telecommunications collaboration in order to improve worldwide service (abbrev ITU) • • • Main Entry: ↑international …   Useful english dictionary

  • International Telecommunication Union — …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • International Telecommunication Union — noun An international organization established to standardize and regulate international audio and telecommunications. Formerly known as International Telegraph Union. Abbreviation: ITU …   Wiktionary

  • International Telecommunication Union — ITU A special agency of the United Nations founded in Paris in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union. It sets up international regulations for telegraph, telephone, and radio services; promotes international cooperation for the improvement of …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU) — United Nations agency headquartered in Geneva. Its roots can be traced to 1865, when the International Telegraph Union was established to coordinate international development of the telegraph. It acquired its present name in 1934 and became a UN… …   Universalium

  • International Telecommunication Union —    Abbreviated ITU. The U.N. umbrella organization that develops and standardizes telecommunications worldwide. The ITU also contains the CCITT, the International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB), and the Consultative Committee on… …   Dictionary of networking

  • International Telecommunication Union — n. international organization within which governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services, ITU …   English contemporary dictionary

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