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Good morning, this is Michelle and as the UN General Assembly wraps up in New York today, we turn our eyes to a lower profile but equally high stakes meeting kicking off today in Romania, where the US and Russia will be going toe to toe for the top position at the International Telecommunications Union. A confirmation is due on Thursday.

This week the WTO is holding its yearly public outreach forum. Plus, what will international Geneva look like in 20 years? We’ll be asking this in a special print edition of Geneva Solutions coming out tomorrow morning in Le Temps. Make sure to get your copy.

photo journaliste

Michelle Langrand


On our radar

Photo article

ITU director-general candidate, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, at the last meeting of the ITU 2022 Council Session was held on Saturday in Bucharest, ahead of the in plenipotentary conference on Monday. (Credit: ITU/ D.Woldu)

🔦 The unknown UN agency under the spotlight. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will hold its main meeting in Bucharest from 26 September to 14 October. In 157 years of life, the eldest of the UN siblings has mostly stayed under the radar of the media and the general public – until now. Increasingly viewed as the most important UN agency, as writes Kristen Cordell from the Council for Foreign Relations, it is responsible for shaping the future of communications and information, from internet and 5G standards to satellite ownership.

A battle for influence has begun as the US candidate Doreen Bogdan-Martin and the Russian Rashid Ismailov vie for secretary general. But no need to overreact, like ITU’s deputy secretary general, Malcolm Johnson, told Swissinfo, the 900-member body (states but also tech giants like Google, Facebook and Huawei included) has a “tradition of governing by consensus”.

💬 Quote of the day

“On this day we reject that nuclear disarmament is some impossible utopian dream. In eliminating these devices of death, it is not only possible but necessary at a moment of rising geopolitical division, mistrust and outright aggression…”

– UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Here's what else is happening

Also on the agenda

📌 27-30 September | WTO Public Forum. The World Trade Organization (WTO) will open its doors to businesses, researchers, campaigners and policy-makers for the four-day annual event, featuring 144 sessions and over 650 speakers, including FIFA president Gianni Infantino, head of ONE Campaign Gayle Smith and CNN business anchor Richard Quest, to discuss how to leverage “sustainable and inclusive” trade to help economies recover from the pandemic. On the margins of the forum, the Geneva Trade Platform will also hold a series of talks online breaking down key trade issues. You’ll be able to catch most of them on Youtube.


📌 26-29 September | Democratic perils and hopes In the wake of wars, rising populism, climate change and pandemics, how can democracy prevail? Experts including a historian, a philosopher, a writer, and former war correspondents discuss the threat of the political culture of resentment, bred amid the chaos, in this series of conferences held at Uni Dufour organised in partnership with the University of Geneva, the Canton of Geneva and the Swiss-newspaper Le Temps.

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