32nd ITSO Assembly of Parties - start of proceedings

The 32nd Assembly of Parties (AP) of the (International Telecommunications Satellite Organization - ITSO) opened yesterday at the Estoril Congress Centre and will run until 10 October.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications, Mario Lino, whose speech focused on two points in particular: the effort and commitment of Portugal in reducing the digital divide and the need for cooperation between the Parties to resolve  some disputes in which ITSO has been involved in recent years. Also present were Members of the Government of the Parties of ITSO and the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun Touré, who praised the role played by ITSO, in conjunction with the ITU and other key organizations, in the struggle for global connectivity.

On the first day of the meeting, Jose Saraiva Mendes (Portugal) was appointed Chairman by acclamation and David Gomes (Cape Verde) Vice-chairman.

The agenda featured issues such as monitoring the activities of ITSO related to the fundamental principles; appraisal and decision with regard to the reports submitted by the Director General on the observance of the basic principles and approval of the ITSO budget for the period 2008-2010. Discussion will also be held on proposals from member countries of the organization on financial matters and staff; strengthening the role of the Advisory Committee; and revising the ITSO's Rules of Procedure.

Another item on the agenda, of particular importance to Portugal, is the election of the new Director General of ITSO, who will succeed Ahmed Toumi (Morocco), the current Director General of ITSO. The candidates are José Toscano (Portugal), currently ITSO's Director of Foreign Affairs and Flavien Bachabi (Benin), presently Regional Vice President for Intelsat.

Meanwhile, two events will take place reflecting Portugal's efforts in the development of markets for communications in Portuguese speaking countries. One is the creation of the Associação de Reguladores de Expressão Portuguesa (Association of Portuguese-Speaking Regulators), which will be a forum for sharing experiences and cooperation between the regulatory authorities of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor and Portugal. The second will be the signing of an agreement between the Portuguese government and ITU, formalising Portugal's contribution to the creation of a Centre of Excellence in Africa for Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries.

Opening speech by the Minister for Public Works, Transportation and Communications http://www.moptc.pt/tempfiles/20081006173154moptc.pdf

Related information on ANACOM's website: