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ITU activities related to disaster management and early warning. Richard Hill Counsellor, ITU-T Study Groups 2 and 3. CAP Implementers Workshop , Geneva, 9, 10 December 2008. Outline. Introduction Radiocommunication Sector Telecommunication Standardization Sector

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itu activities related to disaster management and early warning

ITU activities related to disaster management and early warning

Richard Hill

Counsellor, ITU-T Study Groups 2 and 3

CAP Implementers Workshop, Geneva, 9, 10 December 2008

  • Introduction
  • Radiocommunication Sector
  • Telecommunication Standardization Sector
  • Telecommunication Development Sector
  • Future work
  • Conclusion
itu overview



Assisting implementation and operation of telecommunications in developing countries

Telecommunication standardization ofnetwork and service aspects


Radiocommunicationstandardization and global radio spectrum management

ITU Overview

191 Member States

+700 Sector Members


Helping the World Communicate

role of itu in tdr ets ews
Role of ITU in TDR/ETS/EWS
  • In five words, Committed to connecting the world: even more so in distress situations!
  • Long-time work on telecom for emergency situations
    • Morse code …(it was a long time ago…)
  • Three recent examples
    • Tampere Convention to facilitate exchange of telecom equipment in disaster relief operations
    • WRC-07: allocated additional spectrum for radiocommunication systems involved in disaster prediction/detection and emergency communications
    • Standardization work on call priority & alert message delivery
  • Plenipotentiary Conference Resolution 136
    • “Use of telecommunications/ICTs for monitoring and management in emergency & disaster situations for early warning, prevention, mitigation and relief ”
itu s role in disaster reduction 1
ITU’s role in Disaster Reduction (1)
  • Prediction and detection - using radio-based remote sensing systems
  • Mitigation
    • Damage assessment for planning relief operations
    • Spectrum management
    • Establishment of globally/regionally harmonized frequency bands
    • Application of terrestrial and space (satellite) radiocommunication services
    • Global circulation of emergency equipment
    • Support to emergency broadcasting, maritime and public safety signals
      • All types of networks
itu s role in disaster reduction 2
ITU’s role in Disaster Reduction (2)
  • Preparedness
    • Radio spectrum to be used for relief operations
    • Standards for public telecommunication services
      • International emergency for preference scheme for disaster relief
      • Message broadcast
    • Global network security
    • Interoperability of telecom networks
itu s role in disaster reduction 3
ITU’s role in Disaster Reduction (3)
  • Response
    • Appropriate project management techniques
    • Legal and regulatory issues (Tampere + GSR)
    • Universal access (early warning)
    • Capacity building (preparedness)
    • Relief (response)
    • Reconstruction
    • Partnerships (e.g., INMARSAT, WMO, WGET, OCHA, IARU)
scenarios for emergency communications
Scenarios for emergency communications
  • Four communication scenarios:
    • Citizen to citizen
    • Authority to authority
    • Authority to citizen
    • Citizen to authority
  • ITU has worked in scenarios 1, 2 and 3. More work could be done
  • Could work on scenario 4 (more relevant to day-to-day emergency situations: fire, police, call for medical assistance, etc)
how the work progresses
How the work progresses?
  • ITU’s work is contribution-driven: contributions  progress
  • Governments, users (including intergovernmental agencies and NGOs), manufacturers need to bring in proposals to enhance the features of existing systems
  • Trend for initial focus to be on improving what already exists, in order to be implementable in a short time-frame
disaster phases and the radio services involved
Disaster phases and the radio services involved
  • Disaster prediction and detection – meteorological and Earth exploration satellite services
  • Disaster alerting – broadcasting, fixed, mobile and related satellite services
  • Disaster relief – Amateur, broadcasting, fixed, mobile and related satellite services
disaster prediction and detection
Disaster prediction and detection

Meteorological and Earth exploration satellite services

  • Operated in the main by government and international agencies
  • Play a major role in prediction and detection of disasters (such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis, floods, fires, dangerous pollution, etc.)
disaster alerting
Disaster alerting
  • Alert the central/regional/local authorities responsible for warning the public – broadcasting, fixed, mobile, fixed/mobile-satellite systems
  • Issue warnings to the people likely to be affected
    • Broadcasting (sound and television)
    • Mobile (such as TV, Radio, SMS / Cell broadcasting)
disaster relief
Disaster relief
  • Amateur – a long history of aiding with communications during disasters
  • Earth exploration satellite – damage assessment and relief planning
  • Fixed/mobile satellite - to rapidly restore communications capabilities, coordination of relief activities
  • Fixed – transportable, higher capacity - point-to-point and local area
  • Mobile – coordination of relief activities, both private and public systems used
resolution 64 6 wrc 03
Resolution 646 (WRC-03)

Recommends use of regionally harmonized bands:

  • Region 1: 380-470 MHz as the frequency range within which the band 380‑385/390‑395 MHz is a preferred core harmonized band for permanent public protection activities within certain countries of Region 1;
  • Region 2: 746-806 MHz, 806-869 MHz, 4 940-4 990 MHz;
  • Region 3: 406.1-430 MHz, 440-470 MHz, 806-824/851-869 MHz, 4 940‑4 990 MHz and 5 850-5 925 MHz.
  • Encourages administrations to facilitate cross-border circulation of radio equipment intended for use in disaster relief situations
resolution 647 wrc 07


Resolution 647 (WRC-07)

Spectrum management guidelines for emergency and disaster relief radiocommunication

  • Places emphasis on preparedness concerning spectrum needs in the phase immediately after an emergency has started
  • Encourages administrations to maintain available frequencies for use in the very early stages of humanitarian assistance intervention for disaster relief
  • Instructs ITU-BR to assist Member States with their emergency communication preparedness activities by establishing & maintaining a database of currently available frequencies for use in emergency situations
ra 07 resolution itu r 53
RA-07 Resolution ITU-R 53

Use of radiocommunications in disaster response and relief

  • Assistance to ITU Member States with their emergency radiocommunication preparedness activities
    • E.g. listing of currently available frequencies for use in emergency situations for inclusion in a database maintained by BR
  • Assist other international organizations (e.g. OCHA, WGET, IMO) with the development and dissemination of standard operating procedures for spectrum management in the event of disasters

RA-07 Resolution ITU-R 55

ITU studies of disaster prediction, detection, mitigation and relief

  • It identifies areas that ITU-R Study Groups could address in their studies/activities and develop guidelines related to the management of radiocoms in disaster prediction, detection, mitigation and relief
  • This is to be done collaboratively within & outside ITU to avoid duplication
status of studies samples
Status of studies (samples)

Early-warning systems

  • Recommendation ITU-R BO.1774“Use of satellite and terrestrial broadcast infrastructures for public warning, disaster mitigation and relief”
  • Recommendation ITU-R S.1001“Use of systems in the fixed-satellite service in the event of natural disasters and similar emergencies for warning and relief operations”

Global circulation of equipment

  • Recommendation ITU-R M.1637“Global cross-border circulation of radiocommunication equipment in emergency and disaster relief situations”
  • Recommendation ITU-R M.1579“Global circulation of IMT-2000 terminals”
    • Recognize the importance of the needs of organizations dealing with disaster relief
status of studies needs of future systems
Status of studies – needs of future systems

Report ITU-R M.2033

“Radiocommunication objectives and requirements for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR)”

  • Defines objectives and needs for the implementation of future PPDR solutions
  • Focuses on operational needs around 2010
status of studies amateur involvement
Status of studies – Amateur involvement

Recommendation ITU-R M.1042-2

“Disaster communications in the amateur and amateur-satellite services”

  • Encourages the development of robust, flexible and independent amateur service and amateur-satellite service networks, capable of providing communications during disasters and relief operations
itu t work on tdr ew 1
ITU-T work on TDR/EW [1]

All ITU-T Recommendations are now publicly accessible for free at:

  • Installation techniques for a sturdy outside plant (Handbook and L-series Recommendations)
  • X.1303: Common altering protocol based on OASIS CAP v1.1
  • E.106: Call preference scheme over the PSTN
    • Support of E.106 in various ITU-defined systems
  • E.107: Emergency telecommunications service (ETS) and interconnection framework for national implementations
  • Discussion on extension of the preference scheme to packet technologies (IP in particular)
    • Creation of work items in the technical committees (“Study Groups”)
itu t work on tdr ew 2
ITU-T work on TDR/EW [2]
  • Preference scheme defined for two families of IP-based systems standardized by ITU:
    • H.323 Multimedia & VoIP (ITU-T H.460.4 & H.460.14)
    • IP-Cablecom (ITU-T J.260)
  • Overview of the basic requirements, features, and concepts for emergency telecoms for NGN (ITU-T Y.1271)
  • Definition of a E.164 special country code for emergency communications under the responsibility of the UN
  • Guidelines to select Emergency Number for public telecommunications networks (E.161.1)
  • Action Plan for Standardization on TDR/EW
  • ITU Compendium on Emergency Communications: Volume with all applicable ITU-T Recommendations
  • Workshops: 2002 (ETS), 2006 (Public warning)
pcp tdr
  • Coordination role:
    • Monitor the progress oftechnical standardization for telecommunications for disaster relief & early warning
    • Address coordination issues between the partners
    • Develop and maintain contact with entities not traditionally involved in standards development
    • Promote the adoption of existing standards
  • Participation open to all key players:
    • standards development organizations,
    • international telecommunication service providers,
    • related government departments,
    • disaster relief organizations and
    • other entities working in the field

* Partnership Coordination Panel on Telecommunication for Disaster Relief and Mitigation

in case of emergency
In Case of Emergency
  • How to find out who to call if a person is injured or sick?
  • If they have a mobile phone, look at the contact list.
  • But there should be a multi-lingual way to see who to call.
  • Amendment 1 to ITU-T Rec. E.123 provides this (approved Sep.2008).
  • Emergency telecommunications is an integral part of BDT projects integrating telecommunications/information and communication technology in disaster predication, detection, and alerting.
  • Four principles:
    • Multi-hazard
    • Multi-technology
    • Multi-phased and
    • Multi-stakeholder
key activities 1 2
Key activities (1/2)
  • Assisting countries to formulate policy and draft appropriate laws and regulations
  • Designing National Emergency Telecommunications Plans and formulating Standard Operating Procedures that are now used by countries
  • Deploying of telecommunication resources such as broadband satellite terminals for basic voice communications and telemedicine
  • Training/capacity building for relevant institutions
  • Formulation of climate change adaptation strategies
  • Forging stakeholder partnerships as a form of resource mobilization, etc
key activities 2 2
Key Activities (2/2)
  • ICT Project management (Ensuring Disaster Resilience)
  • Training and capacity building (Emergency Telecommunications)
  • Development of manuals, handbooks, etc.
  • Telecommunications Infrastructure Reconstruction
  • Develop Appropriate Regulatory Regime (Licensing for Disaster etc)
  • Global Forum on Effective Use of Telecommunications / ICT for Disaster Management: Saving Lives, Geneva, December 2007:
  • Emergency Telecoms Newslog:
  • Emergency Telecommunications Program main page:
recent events where cap was discussed
Recent events where CAP was discussed
  • Training Workshop on Disaster Management including the Integration of Emergency Telecommunications Plans into Disaster Management Plans(Kigali, Rwanda, 9-11 July 2008)
  • ITU Southern and Eastern Africa Workshop on the Use of Telecommunications/ICT for Disaster Management: Saving Lives(Lusaka, Zambia, 17–18 July 2008)

For more information, see:

ongoing telecom development work
Ongoing Telecom Development work
  • Provide expertise as required to plan and deploy systems (including CAP)
  • Specific projects
  • Develop documentation, best practices, etc.
  • Training and capacity building
ongoing standardization work
Ongoing standardization work
  • Add-ons to existing system specifications:
    • System override for emergency message broadcast: audio, audiovisual, text
    • Extension of short text messaging to fixed telephones (circuit-switched and IP/soft-phones)
    • Definition of methods to address multiple languages and communication for persons with disabilities, in particular for IP-based systems
  • Framework for interconnection of priority schemes across the different systems (PSTN and different IP platforms, e.g. H.323, IP-Cablecom, SIP) and across proprietary/ privileged systems
  • Definition of pre-allocated “channel” number for 3G mobile cell broadcast use
  • ITU has historically played an important role in communications for disaster prevention and mitigation
  • Work already has been done in certain areas in the radiocommunication and standardization sectors for existing systems as well as future systems (such as NGN) … but much more can be done.
    • For the work to progress: study groups need to receive proposals from the ITU members!
  • For the way forward:
    • Understand users requirements
    • Identify the regulatory framework
    • Develop a set of global and compatible Standards
    • Cost aspects
    • Evolutionary approach
    • Respect national sovereignty
    • Partnership between Member States, private sector, Government Agencies, and NGOs
  • Participate! (next slide for web resources)
web resources
Web resources
  • Main ITU emergency telecoms page
  • ITU-D emergency telecommunications page
  • ITU-R emergency radiocommunications page
  • ITU-T emergency telecoms page
  • Partnership Coordination Panel on TDR/EW 
  • Radiocommunication Assembly 2007 Resolutions
  • Tampere Convention
  • ISDR Platform for Promotion of EW
  • ITU-T RecommendationsNew! Free online!
  • ITU-R Recommendations
  • ITU-T Workshops 
Thank you

Richard Hill

Counsellor, ITU-T Study Groups 2 and 3