Tunisia to host ITU’s WTSA-16 in October


ITU and the government of Tunisia have signed the Host Country Agreement formalizing arrangements for the 2016 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-16), an ITU governing conference held every four years to define the strategic direction and structure of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T). The agreement was signed by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and Tunisia’s Minister for Communication Technologies and Digital Economy Mr Noomane Fehri at a ceremony which coincided with the 2016 session of ITU Council.

WTSA-16 will be held from 25 October to 3 November in Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia. It will be preceded by the Global Standards Symposium on 24 October. The Assembly is an opportunity for ITU-T members to ensure that ITU standardization remains well positioned to support the continuing building of the advanced information society in the run-up to 2020.

WTSA-16 will define ITU’s standardization strategy to support the development of ICT infrastructure, which is critical to the success of innovation in areas such as non-radio aspects of IMT-2020 (5G), the Internet of Things (IoT), and Smart Sustainable Cities. One of the key aspects will be a review of ITU’s mechanisms for collaboration with other standards bodies, SMEs and open-source communities, and the many vertical sectors applying ICTs as enabling technologies.

“WTSA-16 taking place later this year in Tunisia will set the path of networks for telecommunications, ICTs and services of the future,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The years approaching 2020 are expected to host significant structural transformations to the global economy, and the ICT industry will be central to many of these transformations.”

“International standardization is a tool that provides vital assistance to ICT development,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “WTSA-16 will ensure that ITU-T provides its membership with a standardization toolkit optimized to assist government and industry in achieving their objectives for 2020 and beyond.”

“Tunisia prides itself on its culture of thought leadership and we are hosting the upcoming WTSA-16 in recognition of the fundamental importance of international cooperation to the development of the information society,” said Mr Noomane Fehri. “Tunisia has ambitious plans to position itself as a leader in ICT innovation focusing on e-education and e-governance as well as using technology to create equal opportunities for all. WTSA is an important conference in creating an equitable basis to advance ICT infrastructure worldwide.”