UK to run for election to UN telecoms council

The UK government has announced that it will seek election to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the governing council for the UN’s telecoms agency. If elected, the UK would serve a four-year term on the council, which is responsible for allocating global radio wave spectrum, satellite orbits and technical telecoms standards.

The UK is part of the UN’s Western European Regional Group (Region B) and, as such, would be seeking to take one of the eight seats in the region, which are currently occupied by Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Switzerland and Turkey.

To secure a place on the council, the UK must gain sufficient votes from the ITU’s 193 member states. Voting is typically conducted via a single round, with the countries that obtain the highest number of votes in each region being elected. The UK will launch a manifesto later this year, ahead of the election, which will take place during the ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in September 2022.

The UK Government said: “Being a member of the ITU’s governing council would bolster the UK’s efforts to support the ITU’s mission to ‘connect the world’ and tackle some of the biggest issues affecting the telecoms, tech and space sectors. These include the growing demand for radio spectrum caused by the growth of new wireless technologies and closing the global digital divide by widening access to ICTs (information and communication technologies).”

“The UK’s election for the four-year term on the council would also build on its commitment to encourage the use of ICTs to address these global challenges, increase prosperity in developing countries by taking steps to boost digital inclusion and skills, and promote collaboration and consensus building among the ITU’s 193 member states.”

John Whittingdale, the UK’s Minister for Media and Data, commented: The UK has been heavily engaged in the work of the ITU since the age of the telegraph, but now we are running for a seat at the council so that we can champion the innovation of tomorrow across the globe and use it to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.”

“We share the ITU’s vision of connecting the world, and believe our breadth of expertise in science and technology has much to offer in making this bold ambition a reality.”

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