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International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for information and communications technology issues.

The organization’s work is divided into three areas:

– radiocommunication, in relation to the global use of the spectrum and satellite orbits;

– standardization, in relation to the development of telecommunications standards and the expansion of its Internet-related activities;

– development, in relation to work on the implementation of a new form of global connectivity in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The current Secretary-General is Mr. Houlin Zhao (China), who will end his term on December 31, 2022. At the last ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-22), held in October in Bucharest, Ms. Doreen Bogdan (USA) has been elected the new Secretary general starting from January 1st 2023.

Europe has been involved in telecommunications management since the founding in Paris in 1865 of the International Telegraph Union, forerunner of the ITU. Italy sits on the Council (the organization’s executive body) within the Western Europe group, and was recently re-elected along with France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK, and an Italian representative has been recently elected as a member of the Radio Regulations Board (RRB).

The Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in Geneva follows the work of the ITU, while the Italian Ministry of the Economic Development contributes to the work through two of its representatives.

There are 193 member countries, and based on the latest available data, the EU contributes 24 percent of the ITU’s annual budget. The Italian contribution is around 4.77 MCHF out of a total annual budget of about 165 MCHF (including 125 MCHF from member states). The Italian staff consists of 18 people out of a total staff of about 409.