March 6th, 2014

CTO to act as Commonwealth platform for consensus on global ICT issues

London, 5 March 2014 – Commonwealth ICT Ministers meeting at their first biennial meeting held on 3 – 4 March 2014 in London have mandated the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) to act as platform for coordinating positions of Commonwealth countries on global ICT issues. The Commonwealth has a unique position consisting of 53 countries across every continent, and reaching consensus among its member countries can therefore be a powerful vehicle for building wider global agreement on critical ICT issues.

Ministers affirmed the importance of clarity of leadership in the field of ICTs and Telecommunications in the Commonwealth, while recognising the contributions of accredited Commonwealth organisations, especially in the use of telecommunications and ICTs for development. Ministers recognised the particular role that can be played by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation in coordinating and leading the development of shared Commonwealth positions on ICTs and Telecommunications at international meetings.

Although informal, this approach has the potential for easier deliberations on often difficult and contentious issues. Besides global ICT issues faced by Commonwealth countries and the international community at the level of the ITU, other critical issues have emerged in recent times such as the governance of the Internet involving different organisations, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Seeking to maintain a common approach, Commonwealth ICT ministers meeting in London have mandated the CTO to lead on securing Commonwealth consensus on key global ICT issues, in collaboration with other Commonwealth agencies. To do so, Ministers have invited the CTO to convene regular meetings for them and their officials at relevant international events.

“Other global issues, such as the governance of Cyberspace and Cybersecurity, equally call for common understanding and shared vision, and I am honoured by the trust you have placed in the CTO to seek to secure consensus Commonwealth positions on those issues. Sovereign member countries are involved in formal regional organisations, but we believe that informal Commonwealth dialogue can help to build wider consensus at a global level.” said Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary-General of the CTO to ICT Ministers present at the meeting.

The London meeting was attended by ICT Ministers and advisors from 35 Commonwealth countries. Their next formal Ministerial Forum is expected to take place in 2016, and this will be supplemented by further informal meetings that the CTO will organise in the interim to facilitate consultation.

More Information

For more information please contact:
Marcel Belingue,Head of Membership & Communications
44 (0) 208 600 3800
44 (0) 208 600 3819