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International Telecommunication Union Election: Russia, US in Race to Lead UN Telecommunications Agency

Russia and the USA are battling Thursday for management of the UN’s telecoms company, which behind the scenes governs every part from radio frequencies to satellites and 5G.

The Worldwide Telecommunication Union elects its new secretary-general and the result can be a check of Russia’s standing within the United Nations because the battle in Ukraine grinds on.

The ITU’s growth chief Doreen Bogdan-Martin is up in opposition to Russia’s former deputy telecoms minister Rashid Ismailov in a two-way contest to move the organisation, which units the worldwide requirements underlying cell phones, tv and the web.

“This election is a prime precedence for the USA,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in his letter nominating Bogdan-Martin.

The plum Geneva put up is unrelated to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – however few will body Thursday’s election outdoors that context.

Moscow’s dependable pals in UN circles are dwindling as a result of battle, although member states nonetheless blocked a bid to cease Russian candidates from working.

“Russia in the present day faces an unprecedented stress,” digital growth deputy minister Bella Cherkesova informed a press convention in Moscow on Monday.

“However hardly can anybody doubt that Russia has extremely certified IT specialists. Mr Ismailov is one among them.”

Energy stability

Contests for the highest UN jobs are usually concerning the stability of energy between regional blocs.

China’s Houlin Zhao’s second four-year time period as ITU secretary-general expires on the finish of December.

The brand new chief can be chosen by secret poll in the course of the ITU’s plenipotentiary convention, its essential decision-making physique.

The gathering in Bucharest, from September 26 to October 14, is the key occasion within the company’s four-year calendar.

The management vote comes because the ITU prepares a broadly anticipated report on the telecoms infrastructure injury in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, with the European Union voicing frustration it was not launched in time for the Bucharest convention.

The ITU was based in 1865, making it the oldest company within the UN fold.

It was created to handle worldwide telegraph networks, however expanded its remit with new technological developments resembling telephones, radio, tv, satellites, cell phones and the web.

It brings collectively 193 member states in addition to some 900 firms, universities, and worldwide and regional organisations.

“Each time you make a cellphone name by way of the cell, entry the web or ship an e-mail, you’re benefiting from the work of ITU,” it boasts.

Contrasting visions

Bogdan-Martin joined the ITU growth bureau in 1993 and have become its director in 2019.

Her pitch is about getting extra of the world related to the web and pushing ahead high-speed entry.

“We should ship common connectivity underpinned by resilient and safe networks for the three.7 billion folks nonetheless offline,” she stated. 

“We should be on the vanguard of understanding transformational applied sciences resembling 5G after which 6G, the Web of Issues, synthetic intelligence and machine studying.”

US President Joe Biden stated on September 20 that Bogdan-Martin had “the integrity, expertise, and imaginative and prescient needed to remodel the digital panorama”.

Ismailov heads the Russian telecoms firm VimpelCom. He was beforehand Nokia’s normal supervisor in Russia and has labored for Siemens and Ericsson.

Russia’s deputy telecoms minister from 2014 to 2018 believes retaining the main target solely on the additional enlargement of applied sciences is a mistake.

“This race for applied sciences in some unspecified time in the future completely forgot human growth and the impact on people,” he informed Monday’s press convention.

To bridge the digital divide between developed and growing nations, Ismailov needs to enhance expertise and capabilities in poorer international locations.

He’s providing a five-point plan to assist a human-centric digital economic system and ship broadband for all.

The US Ambassador to the UN Sheba Crocker informed reporters earlier this month that Bogdan-Martin brings “a starkly totally different imaginative and prescient for the way forward for the web than her competitors”.

“This election may have, no joke, penalties for billions world wide,” she added.

European Union international locations are anticipated to swing behind Bogdan-Martin.

A Western diplomat stated Bogdan-Martin would deliver a “very totally different model of management to the ITU”.


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