The United States is honored to be participating in the ITU’s 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference, and we look forward to working with other Member States to achieve a successful Conference, which will ensure that the ITU continues to be an essential venue in advancing global telecommunications.  The Plenipotentiary Conference is an important event to discuss and debate issues with far-reaching impacts on governments, businesses, and people around the world.  Over the last few decades, increased access and connectivity have produced tremendous economic growth, allowed citizens to participate in the digital economy, and resulted in shared prosperity for billions of people.  How we approach the issues at this conference will have long-term implications for a competitive global marketplace as well as investments and future innovations in information and communication technologies.

The United States continues to recognize the ITU’s role as a leader in promoting the development and deployment of international telecommunications.  Among other essential activities, the ITU is vital for facilitating the interconnection of international telecommunications networks and services; coordinating the use of radio frequency spectrum; and assisting in disaster communications preparedness.

The communications technologies that drive the U.S. economy and support our national security depend on essential functions coordinated by the ITU.  Because of its importance to our security and prosperity, the United States will maintain its financial contribution to the Union at the same level.

The ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) facilitates sharing of best practices and undertakes connectivity projects in areas around the world where it is needed most.  The ITU should build on existing initiatives in that sector and produce transformational outcomes that help bring more people online. 

This year’s conference also provides an opportunity for the United States to nominate an incredibly qualified and capable leader for one of the ITU’s elected positions.  For the first time, the United States is running a candidate to lead the BDT, which works to empower developing countries with the tools they need to expand connectivity. We’re doing this for a simple reason: our candidate, Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, has the experience and vision to make significant progress in closing the global digital divide. We all know that Doreen has worked steadfastly to identify challenges that stand in the way of greater connectivity and build consensus around solutions.  She will bring that same approach to producing positive outcomes as the Director of the BDT, and we ask for your votes for her election to this position. 

The United States plans to maintain its abiding commitment to the ITU’s success.  As a member of Council since 1947, U.S. representatives have learned in and produced unique contributions to the work of the ITU.  We therefore are seeking re-election to Council, and we ask for your votes so we can continue to contribute to the Union’s success in that role.

We want to see the ITU adapt and improve its governance and effectiveness.  The United States supports more than a dozen proposals that seek to increase transparency and the ability of Member States to oversee the management of the ITU.  With limited resources, as any organization has, we need to ensure that we are making the most effective spending decisions that target our top priorities. 

Adopting reforms and electing leadership with proven track records will put us in the best position for success in the years to come.  Working together, we can do the utmost to address the digital divide and allow ICTs to maximize future economic potential for the benefit of everyone.