Australia was successfully re-elected to the Council of the International Telecommunication Union at the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). As part of its role, the ITU establishes treaty agreements and recommends world standards for telecommunications, radiocommunications and satellite services to ensure these networks and ICTs can easily and seamlessly interconnect around the world.

The governance of the ITU is split between its Plenipotentiary Conference and administrative Council.

Australia's contribution to the ITU

Since we were first elected to the ITU Council in 1959, Australia has played a pivotal role in the ITU's support for communications in our region, especially in aiding capacity–building efforts.

Australia's position on the Council strengthens our ability to enhance ITU outcomes, shape global treaties and commitments, enhance ICTs and improve the ITU's governance and financial management.

ICTs are now fundamental to how we live, work and interact. They allow us to communicate with friends and family locally, nationally and globally. They are also essential to the management and control of most of the modern services we enjoy, including national infrastructure such as power, water, public transport and telecommunications, as well as other important services such as healthcare, education, e-commerce, government and emergency services. Australia is committed to improving access to ICTs in underserved communities worldwide.

As a Council Member, Australia promotes an efficient, effective and inclusive ITU where member states, sector members, associates and academia can share ideas and work collaboratively. Australia's work helps the ITU strengthen its governance arrangements and enhance its accountability and transparency.

We are proud of our work with the ITU, and Australia's actions to help connect and improve the technological wellbeing of all of the world's people—wherever they live and whatever their means. Our work has significantly assisted communities in the Asia-Pacific region in particular, and Australia is honoured to have been the only member state to receive an award at the 2017 ITU World Telecommunications Development Conference for our substantial contribution to the ITU's development activities over a long period of time.

Since the 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference, Australia has actively participated in every ITU Council meeting, Council Working Group meeting cluster, conference and assembly and engaged in all preparatory processes for the ITU conferences and assemblies in the lead up to the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) (see infographic below).

The graphic shows a timeline of every ITU Council meeting, Council Working Group meeting cluster, conference, assembly and preparatory processes for the ITU conferences and assemblies in the lead up to the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference that Australia has actively participated in.<br />
In 2014 Australia chaired Committee 6 at PP-14.<br />
From 2014 to 2015, Australia provided funds to the Asia-Pacific Regional Initiatives implementation project, chaired a working group in regional preparatory process for PP-18 and chaired a working party in regional preparatory process for WRC-15.<br />
From 2014 to 2019 Australia was the ITU-R Chair Working Party 7D, and the Vice Chair of Study Group 6 and Working Party 6A.<br />
In 2015 Australia was the convenor of an agenda item at an information session for WRC-15 at APG-14 and chaired Committee 2 at WRC-15.<br />
From 2015 to 2019, Australia participated in ITU-R Study groups 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and other associated parties. Australia also chaired ITU-R Study Group 3.<br />
In 2016 Australia chaired an ad hoc group at Council 2016 and provided funds to the Asia-Pacific Regional Initiatives implementation project.<br />
From 2016 to 2019, Australia was the Vice Chair for the regional preparatory process for WRC-19.<br />
In 2017 Australia chaired the Working Group in regional preparatory process for WTDC-17 and provided funds to the Asia-Pacific Regional Initiatives implementation project.<br />
From 2017 to 2018 provided funds to several projects, including building cybersecurity capacity, emergency telecommunications and countering number misappropriation.  During this period, Australia also chaired the Working Group in regional preparatory process for PP-18.<br />
In 2018 Australia funded the APT workshop for PP-18 and contributed funds to the enabling ICT policy and regulation project. Australia also hosted the APT regional preparatory meeting for WRC-19 and the APT regional preparatory meeting for PP-18.

Preparations for ITU election

A key focus for Australia's preparations for PP-18 was hosting the third Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) meeting, held in Melbourne from 18 to 21 June 2018. Further details on the meeting are available on the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity website.

Highlights of the meeting are available.

In the lead up to PP-18, the Department worked closely with our stakeholders, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to campaign for Australia's re-election to the ITU Council and to develop Australia's policy positions to take forward to PP-18.

To support the development of Australian positions for the conference, we have prepared a stakeholder information paper that provides an overview of key issues for the conferences and poses a number of questions to stakeholders. The information paper can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.

The role of the ITU Council

The ITU Council oversees the operations of the ITU and ensures its activities, budgets, policies and strategies are aligned with the decisions made at the Plenipotentiary Conference and in response to today's rapidly changing telecommunications environment.

The Council is made up of 48 members, split across five world regions. Australia has been an elected member of the Council since 1959.

Current ITU Members 2018-22, Region A 9 Seats, Region B 8 Seats, Region C 5 Seats, Region D 13 Seats, Region E 13 Seats

Highlight on the Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18)

PP-18 is the ITU's top policy-making meeting, and the most important event for influencing decisions on the future role of the organisation and its ability to support the development of telecommunications worldwide. It provides an opportunity for all 193 member states to come together to agree on the Union's overall strategic and financial plans, leadership and direction for the next four years.

PP-18 was held in Dubai, from 29 October to 16 November 2018. Elections were held at the PP-18 for the 48 positions on the ITU Council as well as its senior management team, and the 12 members of the Radio Regulations Board.

Australia was re-elected at PP-18, and will continue its role as an active Council Member so we can continue to support the ITU's efforts to promote open, accessible and inclusive global communications.