WCIT WATCH: Breakdown of WCIT Committees

7:12pm | 3 December 2012 | by Matt Friedman, English

Today, .nxt leaked a document detailing the structure of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), currently happening in Dubai. At the WCIT, representatives from 193 member states are renegotiating the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), a binding international treaty, which was adopted in 1988 to provide a high-level framework for the regulation of international telecommunications. As Access has noted in depth, regional groups and member states from around the globe have problematically proposed expanding the ITRs to include the internet in a manner that threatens internet openness and innovation, increases access costs, and erodes human rights online.

Five committees have been set-up. They are: the Steering Committee - responsible for the smooth execution of work; the Credentials Committee - responsible for verifying delegation credentials and reporting its conclusions to the Plenary Meeting; the Budget Control Committee - responsible for budgetary and expenditure issues; the Editorial Committee - responsible for perfecting the form of the texts to be included in the Final Acts of the Conference; and most importantly, the Review Committee, where the substantive work of the conference will be done.

The Review Committee, which is broken into two working groups, is charged with five major tasks:
- Examining the proposals from Member States;
- Discussing the proposed revisions to the ITRs, as appropriate;
- Discussing the WATTC-88 Resolutions, Recommendations, and Opinion;
- Preparing proposed ITRs and Resolutions, Recommendations, as appropriate; and
- Preparing reports to Plenary and of proposals to be considered by Plenary.

Working Group 1 will examine proposals from Member States relating to Articles 2, 6, and 9, as well as any other proposals related to financial matters. Working Group 2 will examine Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8, as well as any other proposals not related to financial matters. Working Group 1 is chaired by Trinidad & Tobago (with Vice Chairs from Japan and Saudi Arabia), while Working Group 2 is chaired by Italy (with a Vice Chair from Cote d'Ivoire.

Additionally, in a win for transparency and civil society engagement, the ITU has decided that the Committee 5 (The Review Committee) and plenary meetings will be open to the public. While access to the negotiations is still partially restricted, the public has access to the main hall and the opportunity to meet with all present.

We'll be posting WCIT WATCH updates here on the Access blog as we have information to share, so check back frequently. For more information, be sure to check out our brief on What to Watch at WCIT or visit our ITU Resource Center: