Monday, June 21, 2010

Dr. Rawat of Industry Canada to Run for Senior ITU Position

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will be holding a Plenipotentiary Conference this October in Guadalajara, Mexico to elect the senior management team of the organization for the next four years. Among candidates for the position of Director, Radiocommunication Bureau is Dr. Veena Rawat, President of the Communications Research Center of Industry Canada.

One of the key functions of the Radiocommunication Bureau is to develop and implement, through established processes with member states, regulations, standards and coordination procedures for the global management of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The term for Director of the Bureau will begin the following January at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

One of Dr. Rawat’s objectives is to ensure that the Bureau is relevant to all stakeholders and addresses the priorities established by the sector in a timely, effective and efficient fashion. As near term priorities, she has identified the issues of necessary improvements to the current satellite coordination process, security of wireless networks, and communications for emergency and disaster efforts. She believes these goals can be achieved through extensive consultation and working closely with stakeholders. In her opinion, some of the important issues to be addressed in the global management of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources are the rapid development of new technologies, the convergence of radio services and delivery platforms, and the exponential growth of wireless-enabled applications. She believes that collaboration with other ITU Sectors will enable a favorable environment to address emerging technologies such as Smart Grid and Green ICT. The extensive knowledge generated and shared within the ITU will help build the skill set and capacity needed to face the challenges of tomorrow.

“We must find and implement new ways to maximize the use of the finite spectrum and orbital resources if we are to continue promoting global telecom development, and achieve the United Nations 2015 target date for connecting all villages, towns and cities, universities and schools in the world,” said Dr. Rawat. “Among other initiatives, a strong effort is needed to further develop and implement integrated, computerized tools that will speed up the coordination of radio systems, and make them available to ITU members. This will result in effective, efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries, and greater participation in ITU processes.”

Dr. Rawat, an internationally recognized expert in spectrum management and emerging technologies, has 34 years of senior management experience at Industry Canada. Her negotiation and leadership skills were put to the test in 2003 when, as the first female chair of a WRC conference, she deftly balanced the conflicting interests of 2500 delegates from 190 countries, working within a breakneck timeframe of just four weeks. At the outset, she asked delegates to keep three things in mind: “cooperation, consensus and conservation of time and energy.” Her advice and subsequent hard work paid off. Not only did Dr. Rawat meet the tight deadlines – a task one delegate described as “mission impossible” – she was also able to negotiate consensus on a complex agenda without the need for a single formal vote and was awarded an ITU Gold Medal for her efforts. WRC-03 ended with several landmark decisions to manage the increasing pressure on the radio-frequency spectrum – a limited global resource.

Dr. Rawat is an adept negotiator: she has led Canadian delegates to over 100 CITEL and ITU-R meetings and chaired numerous technical committees and working groups for the ITU-R and WRCs, providing recommendations for treaty-binding decisions to the plenary on major spectrum issues affecting billions of dollars of industry investment. Currently, Dr. Rawat is chairman of the ITU study group responsible for satellite services (Study Group 4 – Satellite Services).

“Through her work Dr. Rawat has developed a unique understanding of the importance that innovation plays in the global economy and, in particular, of the necessity of sharing best practices and knowledge in support of capacity building worldwide,” Minister of Industry Tony Clement said in his written endorsement of Dr. Rawat’s candidacy on behalf of the Government of Canada. “Dr. Rawat also brings a vast experience in the international management of radio-frequencies and satellite orbits. Her excellent track record, both at home and internationally, speaks for itself.”

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