The year 2000 issue: International action and national responsibilities

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This presentation will examine international aspects of the Year 2000 (Y2K) issue, in terms of how various countries are managing the problem and how international organizations are involved in that process. The paper notes that while international cooperation is essential in dealing with part of the problem, it is at the national level that preventive measures are undertaken and emergency services provided. Most NATO and OECD states have recognized that by now it will not be possible to find and fix all problems in software and embedded chips. Their focus, therefore, is shifting to the planning of contingency measures, that ... continued below

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127 Kilobytes pages

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Bosch, O July 21, 1999.

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This presentation will examine international aspects of the Year 2000 (Y2K) issue, in terms of how various countries are managing the problem and how international organizations are involved in that process. The paper notes that while international cooperation is essential in dealing with part of the problem, it is at the national level that preventive measures are undertaken and emergency services provided. Most NATO and OECD states have recognized that by now it will not be possible to find and fix all problems in software and embedded chips. Their focus, therefore, is shifting to the planning of contingency measures, that is, what to do when disruptions occur so that the physical safety of persons is protected, damage to physical assets is minimized (e.g., extensive networks of energy supplies and telecommunications), and resources for the common good are protected (e.g., water supplies). Not only is this conference timely, but the experience of various sectors can be shared to enable cross-sector comparisons to be made, for example, there might be lessons from within air transportation that might be applicable to the energy industry. In addition, while most countries have tended to focus on their national situation, this conference brings together persons from more than 25 countries, thus enabling further comparisons to be made on how other countries are pursing contingency plans. It is within this cross-sector and multinational context that international action and national responsibilities of aspects of the Y2K issue will be discussed. This presentation is in four sections. The first examines what is at risk and categorizes the kinds of disruptions likely to occur. The second presents an approach from which to understand how different countries are trying to manage the Year 2000 issue. This approach is based on a three-step process adopted by the US and other OECD countries, the most dependent on computer and electronic processing systems and large information networks. The steps are: (1) awareness and perception of the problem; (2) technical preventive measures; and (3) contingency action and consequence management. The same steps are used to examine the Y2K efforts of non-OECD countries. This presentation does not advocate a right or wrong way to deal with the issue, but uses the approach as a framework in which to understand what factors might be significant with regard to managing Year 2000 disruptions, especially at the international level. The third part of the presentation will examine the efforts of some of the relevant international governmental organizations and their activities regarding the Year 2000 issue. These organizations include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Understanding how these international organizations function illustrates not only their role but also their limits in dealing with Y2K issues. Member states of these organizations are ultimately responsible for dealing with the Y2K issues at the national level. This includes cooperation among national and regional or local governmental authorities and emergency services, which at the end of the day--and on the day and the day after--will be responsible for dealing with Y2K disruptions. The fourth section will explore other measures, both non-governmental and governmental, urging states to pay more attention and which might include new processes to manage disruptions. For example, some industries lobby their foreign ministries to urge other states to undertake Y2K remediation. New international collaboration regarding the safety of nuclear weapons and associated early warning systems is being established which in future may yield to positive developments in political relations. This type of example is applicable to other sectors and illustrates some of the positive outcomes or lessons learned from the Y2K issue. On an assumption that there are these positive aspects, the term ''Y2K issue'' rather than ''Y2K problem'' is often used in this presentation.

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127 Kilobytes pages

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  • The Millennium Date Change Problem and Crisis Management, Stockholm (SE), 03/08/1999--03/10/1999

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JC-135195
  • Report No.: YN0100000
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 9820
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc794911

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  • July 21, 1999

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  • Dec. 19, 2015, 7:14 p.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 2:12 p.m.

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Bosch, O. The year 2000 issue: International action and national responsibilities, article, July 21, 1999; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc794911/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.