Preparing officers to influence the future of international technology and telecommunications

International Policy and Strategies Faculty image - UN photo by Eskinder Debebe of 2 men sitting at the UN table with signs in front that read 'President' and 'Australia'
15 December 2022
Diplomatic Academy-trained officials delivered results for Australia at the world’s top conference governing international telecommunications and information and communication technologies (ICTs) policy in October 2022.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialised agency responsible for matters relating to telecommunications and ICTs. Every 4 years it holds its treaty-level Plenipotentiary Conference, where it elects the senior management of the union, members of its governing council, and decides its priorities, budget and strategy for the coming term.

The most recent Plenipotentiary Conference took place in Bucharest, Romania, from 26 September to 14 October 2022. Prior to attending the conference, members of the Australian delegation, led by the of Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA) and joined by Department of Industry, Resources and Science (DISR), Department of Defence and DFAT staff, undertook tailored training to help prepare them for the specific challenges found at major multilateral forums.

The training covered what is at stake for Australia, understanding the ITU and where it fits in the broader context, the functions of a multilateral delegation, the individual roles in the team and how they could maximise Australia’s influence during the conference.

Participants, including Zoe Glasson from DFAT, saw real value in the workshops, “The training was an excellent primer for the delegation ahead of the ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference,” she said.

“While the workbook provided practical tools and tips and tricks to help delegates prepare for negotiations, the real-life anecdotes from the presenter – and participants – helped bring to life the multilateral world, particularly for the newcomers” Ms Glasson stated.

The Plenipotentiary Conference is important for Australia and the world, given the decisions it makes could impact the international cyber policy landscape and governance of the internet, amongst other things. Is it therefore critical our delegation was prepared for any eventuality.

Australia is proud to have achieved its priorities at the Plenipotentiary Conference in Bucharest, which include being elected as an ITU Council member for the period 2023–2026.

We are confident this success was made possible, in a small part, by the tailor-made training they received from the experts in the Diplomatic Academy team.

Contact the Diplomatic Academy team if you would like to discuss training for your team or delegation.


Homepage image caption: Bottom left (kneeling): Dr Tobias Feakin, Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Top left (standing): Mr Richard Windeyer, Deputy Secretary Communications and Media, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Right: Senator Karen Grogan