Russia, US in Race to Direct US Telecommunications Agency: Facts

Russia and the United States are battling Thursday for control of the UN’s telecoms company, which powering the scenes governs every thing from radio frequencies to satellites and 5G.

The Global Telecommunication Union elects its new secretary-basic and the result will be a examination of Russia’s standing in the United Nations as the war in Ukraine grinds on.

The ITU’s growth main Doreen Bogdan-Martin is up in opposition to Russia’s former deputy telecoms minister Rashid Ismailov in a two-way contest to head the organisation, which sets the world requirements fundamental cellular phones, tv and the world wide web.

“This election is a major priority for the United States,” US Secretary of Point out Antony Blinken claimed in his letter nominating Bogdan-Martin.

The plum Geneva post is unrelated to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – but couple of will frame Thursday’s election outdoors that context.

Moscow’s trustworthy mates in UN circles are dwindling because of to the war, although member states however blocked a bid to prevent Russian candidates from running.

“Russia today faces an unprecedented pressure,” electronic improvement deputy minister Bella Cherkesova told a push conference in Moscow on Monday.

“But barely can any person doubt that Russia has highly qualified IT specialists. Mr Ismailov is one of them.”

Energy equilibrium

Contests for the leading UN jobs are ordinarily about the balance of energy among regional blocs.

China’s Houlin Zhao’s 2nd 4-yr expression as ITU secretary-standard expires at the finish of December.

The new chief will be chosen by top secret ballot all through the ITU’s plenipotentiary conference, its primary determination-making human body.

The accumulating in Bucharest, from September 26 to Oct 14, is the important occasion in the agency’s 4-calendar year calendar.

The management vote comes as the ITU prepares a commonly expected report on the telecoms infrastructure destruction in Ukraine considering that Russia’s invasion, with the European Union voicing disappointment it was not released in time for the Bucharest meeting.

The ITU was launched in 1865, earning it the oldest agency in the UN fold.

It was created to manage international telegraph networks, but expanded its remit with new technological developments such as telephones, radio, tv, satellites, mobile telephones and the world wide web.

It provides together 193 member states as perfectly as some 900 firms, universities, and global and regional organisations.

“Each time you make a telephone connect with via the mobile, access the world wide web or mail an electronic mail, you are benefiting from the get the job done of ITU,” it features.

Contrasting visions

Bogdan-Martin joined the ITU progress bureau in 1993 and became its director in 2019.

Her pitch is about finding more of the globe connected to the web and pushing ahead large-pace access.

“We must produce universal connectivity underpinned by resilient and secure networks for the 3.7 billion individuals however offline,” she reported. 

“We should be at the vanguard of understanding transformational systems such as 5G and then 6G, the World wide web of Matters, artificial intelligence and equipment studying.”

US President Joe Biden stated on September 20 that Bogdan-Martin experienced “the integrity, practical experience, and vision needed to renovate the electronic landscape”.

Ismailov heads the Russian telecoms firm VimpelCom. He was formerly Nokia’s common manager in Russia and has labored for Siemens and Ericsson.

Russia’s deputy telecoms minister from 2014 to 2018 thinks retaining the aim only on the further enlargement of technologies is a blunder.

“This race for technologies at some level totally forgot human advancement and the outcome on individuals,” he advised Monday’s push conference.

To bridge the digital divide involving created and producing nations, Ismailov would like to strengthen abilities and capabilities in poorer international locations.

He is presenting a 5-place system to guidance a human-centric electronic financial state and produce broadband for all.

The US Ambassador to the UN Sheba Crocker told reporters previously this thirty day period that Bogdan-Martin delivers “a starkly distinct vision for the long term of the internet than her opposition”.

“This election will have, no joke, outcomes for billions all around the world,” she extra.

European Union countries are expected to swing guiding Bogdan-Martin.

A Western diplomat stated Bogdan-Martin would carry a “incredibly diverse fashion of management to the ITU”.

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