Posted on June 22, 2011

The 22nd meeting of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Post GCC Ministers concluded today at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The meeting convened from 20-22 June 2011, and the hallmark of it was the brotherly and friendly atmosphere which is always prevalent at these meetings held between the brothers in the GCC.

The meeting was headed by H.E. Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, and was attended by their Excellencies the Ministers and Heads of Delegations from the GCC countries; H.E. Mohamed Jamil Bin Ahmed Mulla, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Head of Saudi Delegation, H.E. Mr. Ahmed Bin Mohammed Salem Alaftysi, Minister of Transport and Communications, Head of Omani Delegation, H.E. Mr. Abdul Mohsen Hassan Mazeedi, Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Head of the Kuwaiti Delegation, H.E. Sheikh Badr Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Communications, Head of the Bahraini Delegation, H.E. Dr. Hassa Sultan Al Jaber, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Communications and Information Technology, Head of the Qatari Delegation and H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Juma Al-Shibli, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs, Head of the General Secretariat of the GCC countries delegation. The UAE delegation was led by H. E. Mr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of the TRA.

H.E. Al Mansouri delivered an opening speech at the meeting in which he welcomed the distinguished Arab brothers, heads of delegations of the GCC countries, and expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to them for coming and attending the 22nd Ministerial GCC meeting.

Al Mansouri said: “The agenda items, whether related to the telecommunications or post sectors, are so important to us that we have to take clear and applicable decisions regarding them, in view of the current growth in these sectors in our countries, which is in line with the best and latest global developments. Today we see this example clear and evident, and our governments are bearing in mind the achievements which will ensure accelerating the growth and development of the telecommunications sectors in our countries and their roles."

"Dear Brothers, our agenda includes a number of important issues for our countries, which we have to examine carefully and unite our stances towards them, for instance, the topic of lowering the roaming rates between GCC countries in accordance with the decision of the recent Ministerial Committee. As well as another topic on the plan of the GCC countries to move from analogue to digital broadcasting, and the great benefit for the GCC from such a transition.  With regard to the Post sector, there are also many important topics, of which the GCC preparations for the next international Post Conference to be held in Qatar are the most significant. In addition to the Bill of a United (System) in the GCC, that will organize the work and activities of private companies working in the field of courier, freight and parcels," he added.

The meeting discussed the draft agenda prepared by the Secretariat, and after considerable debates about its items, and in light of the minutes of the 22nd meeting of Secretaries’ Committee of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Post ministries which was held during 20 to 21 June 2011 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, a number of issues were approved such as: the Supreme Council Resolution at its 30th session for enhancing the investments environment among GCC countries, and the shift from the 4th version (IPV4) to the 6th version (IPV6) of the Internet Protocol.

The meeting also approved the foundations of the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting, and confirmed the importance of the procedures established by the team for the successful application of TV broadcast, and encouraging the transition to digital broadcasting and its popularity, including the agreement of preparing special programmes to be broadcasted on terrestrial digital television only. In addition to seeking the best available technology for the application of this system, and prepare a media plan with clear dimensions and parameters for increasing the public awareness and encouraging the public to see the programmes on this broadcast.

In terms of international roaming charges, GCC Ministers decided to adhere to the Ministerial resolution made at the 19th meeting which stated that the GCC countries will move the implementation of the second phase mentioned in the recommendations of the second meeting of the roaming working group which determined the completion of it on the 8th of June 2011. The GCC Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities will inform the operators immediately after this meeting to implement the resolution and move to the second phase.

As for the Post sector, they emphasized the importance of the continued collective participation of the GCC in the international stamps exhibitions, due to the remarkable success of the previous participations in highlighting the cultural and modern renaissance experienced by the GCC at this time.

With regard to the Bill of a United (System) in the GCC that will organize the work and activities of private companies working in the field of courier, freight and parcels, the Ministerial Committee reviewed the recommendation of the post and telecommunication secretaries, in addition to the draft rules of it. The meeting extended its thanks to all members of the Committee and the Secretariat for the valuable work done by them to bring this system to life.

The meeting stressed the importance of spreading awareness among youth on the significance of hobbies, especially among school students, where associations and clubs are preparing a detailed vision of how to encourage hobbies among young people. The vision will be reported to the General Secretariat in order to discuss it at the next meeting of the secretaries of Post, to reach to a collective vision on the topic.

Other important topics for the GCC countries were also discussed in the meeting:

  • Operating the systems using broadband in the border areas between the GCC countries.
  • Standardization of train network control frequencies in the GCC.
  • Services’ charges among Arab countries.
  • Establishing a unified program for five years to raise awareness about information security, targeting all categories of information society in the GCC countries.

The participants agreed to extend their warm gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

It was agreed to hold the next meeting in the State of Qatar in 2012.