The 12th Tripartite Meeting of IMSO, ITSO, and EUTELSAT IGO

The Twelfth Tripartite Meeting of the Heads of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO), the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) and the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT IGO), took place virtually on 9 February 2021. Hosted by Mr. Patrick Masambu, Director General of ITSO, the meeting was attended by Captain Moin Ahmed, Director General of IMSO and Mr. Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, Executive Secretary of EUTELSAT IGO. Delegations of ITSO and EUTELSAT IGO, also participated in the meeting.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the three organizations in 2009, inwhich it was agreed, inter alia, that they would explore areas where the three satellite organizations could usefully co-operate and contribute to the development of the satellite industry. Since then, Tripartite Meetings have taken place annually and been hosted by each organization in turn to discuss issues of common interest, relating to the respective companies that the three Organizations oversee: Intelsat S.A. (overseen by ITSO), Eutelsat S.A. (overseen by EUTELSAT IGO), and Inmarsat Ltd as well as Iridium (overseen by IMSO).

During the Twelfth Tripartite Meeting, the Heads of the three organizations reviewed the developments related to their organizations since the last Tripartite meeting, which took place in London on 5 September 2019.

During the session “Discussion on Next Steps”, the Heads of the three organizations exchanged views on matters of common interest and/or concerns, taking into account recent developments since their last meeting. Discussions were also held in relation to current topics including the organizations’ proactive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on the satellite service providers they supervise.

The organizations maintained their shared goals of bridging the broadband digital divide, and support for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). In addition to providing continued oversight over the Parties’ Common Heritage, and advocating for the satellite industry, with a common goal of working toward harmonization of regulatory framework, the organizations asserted their commitment to join forces to broaden their effectiveness. By coordinating their efforts and participation in international forums, including the WRC-23, and developing capacity building training courses, the organizations aim to optimize their service to their respective Member States by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.

The Heads of the organizations also noted that the C-band is a vital global resource for satellite network providers and continues to be an important element in the delivery of a wide range of telecommunication services to many countries. Therefore, they are closely monitoring the C-band auctions in the United States. They are also positioning their organizations to prepare to oversee a multi-operator environment and a competitive landscape. The Heads of the three Organizations affirmed their support and commitment to the UN efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the work of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. They also agreed to continue to meet on an annual basis, and, under the terms of the MoU, to further explore areas where the three Organizations could usefully cooperate.

The next Tripartite Meeting will take place in Paris, France in the fourth quarter of 2021.

About ITSO

ITSO is an intergovernmental organization with 149-member states, that incorporates the principle set forth in Resolution 1721 (XVI) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which established that communication by means of satellite should be available to the nations of the world as soon as practicable on a global and non-discriminatory basis. Originally established in 1973 as INTELSAT, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization was restructured in 2001. The restructuring led to the creation of a private entity, Intelsat S.A. and to the continuation of the intergovernmental organization with a new acronym (ITSO). ITSO’s mission is to monitor the performance of Intelsat’s public service obligations and to safeguard the Parties’ Common Heritage.

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EUTELSAT IGO (The European Telecommunications Satellites Organization) is an Intergovernmental Organization established by an International Treaty. After a period (1985-2001) during which the Organization had operational activities in outer space to the level where it became one of the leading world satellite operators, the organization was transformed and its operational activities, assets, and related liabilities were transferred to the company Eutelsat S.A., operating under French law. Since 2001, EUTELSAT IGO, based in Paris, France and comprising 49 Member States, has a twofold role in maintaining the rights to use radiofrequencies and orbital locations which were assigned collectively to the Member States by the ITU before restructuring and monitors the operations of the company Eutelsat S.A., in particular to ensure that the Basic Principles defined in the Treaty are observed.

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About IMSO

IMSO (The International Mobile Satellite Organization) is the intergovernmental organization which oversees certain public satellite safety and security communication services provided via Inmarsat and Iridium satellites and also coordinates the System for the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of ships (LRIT). IMSO is established under the provisions of the Convention on the International Mobile Satellite Organization which also defines the public services, such as satellite services for the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), which is subject to international oversight. Headquartered in London, UK, IMSO currently has 106 Member States.

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Captain Moin Ahmed, IMSO Director General, Mr. Patrick Masambu, ITSO Director General and Mr. Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, EUTELSAT IGO Executive Secretary participated in the virtual meeting hosted by ITSO on 9 February 2021