[tz] Politics of TZ changes

Matt Johnson mj1856 at hotmail.com
Tue May 13 16:29:55 UTC 2014

The recent changes in Egypt have me thinking.  How is it that there isn't some sort of international treaty, law, or agreement about how much notice a government needs to give when making time zone changes?
I know almost nothing about international law, but aren't there organizations that coordinate things like trade and commerce that would have something to say about this?  It's seems strange to me that we can all agree to let the ITU coordinate UTC while time zones don't seem to be coordinated by any official legal body.
Of course, it makes sense that each government should retain its sovereign right to set its time zones as it pleases - but surely something could be done about the process as to which it enacts those changes?   I think we can all agree that having a spokesperson give vague details in a media article a week beforehand is not the right way to do things.
It's also concerning that people tend to set deadlines based on the date of the change.  Not only should time be allowed for the change to be incorporated into the data and distributed to systems, but also people should think about all of the ways that future activities are scheduled based on current knowledge of the tz rules.
For example, say you have a weekly scheduled conference call between Egypt and somewhere else in the world.  At the moment the Egyptian government announced the change, some of your meeting times became inaccurate.  With the change sent out today (2 days before the change), it's not very likely you would receive this update in time to adjust your meeting time.  But even if you did get the update, it's quite likely that you would have to reschedule due to conflict with another appointment.
For some, this might be an inconvenience.  But for others, it could make or break a deal.  Cumulatively this could have an economic impact, so one would think it would be in a countries own best interest to give sufficient notice.
Perhaps if there were a set of rules, they might be unenforceable and some cases would still slip through the cracks.  But at least if there were guidelines defined by some sort of official international governance - we might have a fighting chance.
Please share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.  What would these rules/guidelines look like?  Who might we lobby to enact such a thing? 		 	   		  
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