Emergency Comms | Emerging Trends | Regulation
December 14, 2012

WCIT-12: A new Resolution for a globally harmonized national number for access to emergency services

By Bilel Jamoussi

A new Resolution tabled at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (#WCIT12) underlines the importance for travelers to be aware of a single well-known number to access local emergency services if the need ever arises.

The formulation of the Resolution at WCIT-12 instructs the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau to take the necessary action in order that ITU-T Study Group 2 can continue exploring the option of introducing a single globally harmonized emergency number for access to emergency services in the future.

During the WCIT-12 negotiations this week, a preliminary draft of the proposed Resolution was tabled to Member States.

The Resolution – which is a standard mechanism by which a conference instructs its subordinate organs and the executive to take some form of action – invites Member States to introduce, in addition to their existing national emergency numbers, a globally harmonized national number for access to emergency services, taking into consideration the relevant ITU-T Recommendations.

The Vice-Chairman of Study Group 2 of ITU-T explained the significance of the Resolution in relation to the fact that it is not currently possible to harmonize national numbers globally for access to emergency services.

Therefore, ongoing research and study is essential.

With 193 Member States each managing their own numbering space in their own way, these emergency access numbers have been allocated in different ways in various countries. Therefore, it is not currently possible to do so – if it can be done at all.

The outcome of the WCIT-12 new Resolution regarding a globally harmonized national number for access to emergency services, in addition to the Recommendation ITU-T E.161.1 – on guidelines to select emergency number for public telecommunication networks – specifies two globally harmonized emergency numbers which potentially could provide a solution for the challenges currently facing a single harmonized national number for access to emergency services.

ICT’s and telecommunications play a fundamental role in connecting the world. These technologies are also essential for ensuring that individuals and their loved ones are empowered to leverage technology in their efforts to live in a safer world.

The new Resolution tabled at WCIT-12 this week will certainly ensure that this vision can potentially be realized.

 

Dr. Bilel Jamoussi is Chief of the Study Groups Department at the International Telecommunication Union Standardization Bureau in Geneva, Switzerland where he is responsible for the organization and management of the ITU-T Study Groups, Focus Groups, Global Standardization Initiatives, Joint Coordination Activities, and their secretariat.
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WCIT-12: A new Resolution for a globally harmonized national number for access to emergency services

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