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RESOLUTION 71 (Rev. Marrakesh, 2002)

Strategic plan for the Union 2004-2007

The Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (Marrakesh, 2002),


a)   the provisions of the ITU Constitution and Convention relating to strategic policies and plans;

b)   Article 19 of the Convention on the participation of Sector Members in the Union's activities,


the challenges faced by the Union in achieving its purposes in the changing telecommunication environment, both in the period covered by this strategic plan for the Union for 2004-2007 and in the following period,


1   to adopt the strategic plan for 2004-2007, contained in the annex to this resolution, based on the overall goals outlined in section 3.3 thereof;

2   to complement this strategic plan with the goals, strategies and priorities for the three Sectors and for the secretariat, in line with their overall missions set out in sections 4.1, 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 of the strategic plan;

instructs the Secretary-General

1   when reporting annually to the Council, to present progress reports on the strategic plan and on the goals, strategies and priorities for the General Secretariat and for the three Bureaux for 2004-2007, including recommendations to adjust the plan in light of changes in the telecommunication environment, based on proposals by the competent Sector advisory groups, decisions by conferences and by assemblies of the Sectors and changes in the Union's activities and its financial situation;

2   to distribute these reports to all Member States, after consideration by the Council, urging them to circulate them to Sector Members, as well as to those entities and organizations referred to in No. 235 of the Convention which have participated in these activities,

instructs the Council

1   to oversee further development and implementation of the strategic plan for 2004-2007 in the annex to this resolution, on the basis of the Secretary-General's annual reports;

2   to present an assessment of the results of the strategic plan for 2004-2007 to the next plenipotentiary conference, along with a proposed strategic plan for the period 2008-2011,

invites the Member States

to contribute national insights on policy, regulatory and operational matters to the strategic planning process undertaken by the Union in the period before the next plenipotentiary conference, in order to:

  • strengthen the effectiveness of the Union in fulfilling its purposes as set out in the instruments of the Union by cooperating in the implementation of the strategic plan;

  • assist the Union in meeting the changing expectations of all its constituents as national structures for the provision of telecommunication services continue to evolve,

invites Sector Members

to communicate their views on the strategic plan of the Union through their relevant Sectors.

ANNEX TO RESOLUTION 71 (Rev. Marrakesh, 2002


Strategic Plan for the Union 2004-2007

PART I - The Union and its membership

1) The mission and nature of the Union

1.1   Article 2 of the ITU Constitution states that the International Telecommunication Union is an intergovernmental organization in which Member States, and Sector Members, having well defined rights and obligations, and having due regard to the principle of universality and the desirability of universal participation, shall cooperate for the fulfilment of the purposes of the Union, as set out in Article 1 of the Constitution.

1.2   No. 70 of the Constitution tasks the ITU Council with preparing a report on the policy and strategic planning recommended for the Union, together with their financial implications, in keeping with the guidelines given by the Plenipotentiary Conference to ensure that the Union's policies and strategies fully respond to the constantly changing telecommunication environment.

2) The telecommunication environment and its implications for the Union

2.1   In recent years, a number of developments have occurred in the broader information and communication technologies (ICT) environment that have significant implications for ITU as a whole. The environment includes (not listed in any special order):

2.1.1   significant shortages, both in telecommunication infrastructures and in capability to access information, resulting from several factors, including the associated costs;

2.1.2   the expansion and diversification of telecommunication and radiocommunication networks and the challenge of securing and maintaining interoperability among telecommunication services, and between radio-based and fixed-line services;

2.1.3   the convergence of technological platforms for telecommunication, information and computing;

2.1.4   digitization of broadcasting and increasing interactivity, new technologies, broadband applications, and new uses for existing technologies;

2.1.5   further moves towards market liberalization, including the opening of markets to competition, greater private sector participation, and the growing role of regional organizations;

2.1.6   a market need for appropriate, high-quality, global standards which are developed rapidly, including those which ensure global connectivity and reliability of telecommunication networks;

2.1.7   increased awareness of the role of telecommunications as a tool for the overall development of society;

2.1.8   a need for increased use of the six working languages of the Union to facilitate effective participation in its work by all countries;

2.1.9   continued development of mobile communications, which is one of the fastest-growing segments in the history of telecommunications;

2.1.10   continued growth of the Internet, and the creation and development of applications attached to its use, with a corresponding increase in IP access and in IP backbone networks;

2.1.11   continued separation of operational and regulatory functions, and the creation of many new independent telecommunication regulatory bodies;

2.1.12   limitations on the financial and human resources available to support the Union's activities.

3) Strategic orientations and goals

3.1   A continuing challenge facing the Union in the 2003-2007 time-frame is to remain a pre-eminent intergovernmental organization where Member States, Sector Members and Associates work together to enable the growth and sustained development of telecommunications and information networks, and to facilitate universal access so that people everywhere can participate in, and benefit from, the global information economy and society - thus advancing the "right to communicate".

3.2   The general goals, strategies and priorities of the Union are achieved through the activities of the Plenipotentiary Conference, the Council and its three Sectors, supported by the General Secretariat, through the Sector conferences and assemblies, and through general activities. One of the Union's more important activities is its contribution to the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The purposes of the Union, as set out in Article 1 of the Constitution, apply to the Union as a whole, so its organizational units share in a number of strategic orientations and goals for the 2004-2007 period.

3.3   The Union will undertake priority actions to achieve the following goals (not listed in any special order), with linkage in each of the Sectors' priorities to the relevant goal:

Goal 1: Maintain and extend international cooperation among all Member States and with appropriate regional organizations for the improvement and rational use of telecommunications of all kinds, taking the leading role in United Nations system initiatives on information and communication technologies (ICT).

Goal 2: Assist in bridging the international digital divide in information and communication technologies (ICT), by facilitating development of fully interconnected and interoperable networks and services to promote global connectivity and by taking a leading role in the preparations for, and taking due account of the relevant results of, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Goal 3: Widen the Union's membership, extend and facilitate cooperative participation of an increasing number of administrations and organizations.

Goal 4: Develop tools, based on contributions from the membership, to safeguard the integrity and interoperability of networks.

Goal 5: Continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ITU's structures and services and their relevance to the membership.

Goal 6: Disseminate information and know-how to provide the membership, particularly developing countries, with capabilities to respond to the challenges of privatization, competition, globalization and technological change.

PART II - The Sectors

4) Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R)

4.1   The mission of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector is, inter alia, to ensure rational, equitable, efficient and economical use of the radio-frequency spectrum by all radiocommunication services, including those using satellite orbits, and to carry out studies and adopt recommendations on radiocommunication matters.

4.2   This mission is to be undertaken within the environment identified in Part I, section 2 above for the Union as a whole, and specifically characterized in ITU-R by:

4.2.1   a growing recognition of the economic value of the frequency spectrum, which has implications for the development of new technologies and the demand for spectrum and orbit access;

4.2.2   ever-increasing demand for the limited radio-frequency spectrum for space and terrestrial radiocommunication systems, which has led to proliferation of frequency assignment notices and overfiling at ITU, some of which are speculative;

4.2.3   increasing convergence among many radio services, integration with wired telecommunication services, and the convergence of terrestrial and satellite applications, all of which increasingly call for the identification of frequency allocations for specific purposes, thus having an impact on spectrum management, and on the service definitions and working methods of ITU-R;

4.2.4   growing demand from developing countries, including with respect to:

a)   equitable access to the radio-frequency spectrum and to satellite orbits in support of their national requirements;

b)   worldwide radiocommunication system standards to achieve interoperability and overall system economy;

c)   relevant handbooks and training.

4.2.5   the rapid technological development and widespread application of broadband digital techniques to most space and terrestrial systems, including mobile communications and new television and sound broadcasting systems;

4.2.6   increasingly complex and lengthy agendas for world radiocommunication conferences (WRC).

4.3   Within its overall mission, the priorities of the Radiocommunication Sector for 2004-2007, in addition to those that may be identified by future conferences, are indicated below, in three categories, where Category A represents the highest priority. Each priority is linked to the specific relevant goal enumerated in Part I, section 3.3 above:

Category A

4.3.1   To facilitate timely coordination between various systems in both the space and terrestrial environments and to develop spectrum regulation initiatives in order to better harmonize frequency allocations and the use of satellite orbits, while continuing work to improve inter-service and intra-service frequency coordination for space and terrestrial systems in planned and non-planned frequency bands through appropriate measures at world radiocommunication conferences (Goals 4 and 5).

4.3.2   To collaborate as needed with the Telecommunication Standardization (ITU-T) and Telecommunication Development (ITU-D) Sectors and the General Secretariat to ensure that studies are appropriately coordinated and that no duplication of work occurs (Goal 5).

4.3.3   To facilitate the introduction of modern radio systems in rural areas, with special attention to developing countries, and give assistance to Member States in spectrum management activities, e.g. through training, information meetings, seminars, the development of handbooks and the provision of tools for automated spectrum management (Goals 2 and 6).

4.3.4   To reduce the satellite network filing backlog so as to comply with the time-limits specified in the Radio Regulations by the end of the current plenipotentiary cycle in 2006 (Goal 5).

Category B

4.3.5   To ensure that world and regional radiocommunication conferences and other relevant activities within the Sector are effective and efficient; that WRC agendas do not unduly burden Member States and Sector Members, and consequently secretariat resources, by appropriately reviewing operations and working methods (Goal 5); and that resolutions and decisions are not adopted which would give rise to expenditure in excess of the limits laid down by the Plenipotentiary Conference.

4.3.6   To accommodate spectrum requirements through efficient management of the radio-frequency spectrum, free from harmful interference, through appropriate consideration at WRCs and by issuing appropriate recommendations on the characteristics and performance of radio systems to facilitate their development and implementation, while ensuring that the Radio Regulations and the rights of Member States are respected (Goals 1, 2, 4, and 5).

4.3.7   To expand the assistance offered to Member States in coordinating and registering frequency assignments and in applying the Radio Regulations, with special attention to developing countries and Member States that have recently joined the Union (Goal 2).

4.3.8   To ensure that the Radio Regulations Board (RRB) discharges its functions concerning the application of the Radio Regulations, in a manner which is fully consistent with the Constitution, Convention and Radio Regulations and maintains the confidence of Member States (Goals 1 and 5).

Category C

4.3.9   To improve international spectrum management techniques (Goals 1 and 5).

4.3.10   To improve the working methods of the Sector, particularly to strive for:

a)   greater use of more timely-developed and user-friendly software, document exchange capabilities, etc. (Goal 5);

b)   the accelerated development of recommendations and improvement in publication mechanisms (reduction of unit cost and time taken to publish, wider distribution and greater electronic availability) (Goals 5 and 6);

c)   increased use of information technology for the notification and processing of frequency assignment notices (Goals 5 and 6);

d)   a flexible organizational structure in the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR), with special attention to the training and development of the Bureau's staff, incorporating the gender and youth perspectives (Goal 5).

e)   periodic reviews of study group work programmes, and review of linkage between financial, strategic and operational planning, to re-establish priorities and improve effectiveness (Goal 5).

4.3.11   To monitor, through the Radiocommunication Advisory Group (RAG), the performance of the relevant activities of the Sector against identified milestones and to propose adjustments to the strategic plan as needed (Goal 5).

4.3.12   To encourage greater participation by Member States, Sector Members, Associates and other organizations in ITU-R activities by, inter alia, concluding formal and informal task-oriented cooperation arrangements so as to facilitate the production of better global radiocommunication standards and recommendations (Goals 1, 3, and 4).

5) Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T)

5.1   The mission of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector is to be the unique worldwide venue for industry and government to work together in developing, adopting, providing and promoting global consensus-based telecommunication recommendations (standards) for the information society. The Sector's key attribute is the ability to bring together all players in a global environment to develop recommendations in areas where the membership recognizes that ITU-T has the necessary competence.

5.2   This mission is to be undertaken within the environment identified in Part I, section 2 above for the Union as a whole. Attempts to quantify and qualify anticipated changes in such a dynamic telecommunication environment cannot succeed, and are likely to produce language that is obsolescent upon adoption. Accordingly, the environment can be specifically characterized in ITU-T by:

5.2.1   the competition faced by ITU-T, as differentiated from other parts of the Union, from various standards development organizations, consortia, and forums, which means that ITU-T must be able to show the advantages it offers for activities it considers as being its core competencies;

5.2.2   the ongoing transformation of telecommunication activities, from being regulatory-driven into a service and demand-driven sphere, and thus into a globally competitive business;

5.2.3   growth in the fixed-line network which continues at a steady rate while mobile networks grow at a faster rate;

5.2.4   continued growth of electronic commerce;

5.2.5   voice communications over IP-based networks.

5.3   Within its overall mission, the priorities of the Telecommunication Standardization Sector for 2004-2007, in addition to those that may be identified by future conferences, are indicated below. Each priority is linked to the specific relevant goal enumerated in Part I, section 3.3 above:

5.3.1   To offer an organization that is attractive to industry entities as a place to do their standards development work (Goals 2, 3 and 5).

5.3.2   To create an environment in which interested parties can work effectively and efficiently together in partnership (Goals 1, 3 and 5).

5.3.3   To develop and execute a proactive plan, in collaboration with the secretariat, in order to promote the value of ITU-T in the face of competition from other standards bodies and continue to enhance efforts in this regard (Goal 3).

5.3.4   To stimulate active participation of existing membership and attract new participants by convincing them of the benefits of working in, or with, ITU-T, stressing its global recognition and credibility and the high quality of its recommendations, as well as its willingness to change (Goals 3, 5 and 6).

5.3.5   To identify areas where recommendations should be developed for the information society (Goals 2 and 4).

5.3.6   To develop high-quality, global, consensus-based recommendations in its core competency areas efficiently, on a market-driven and timely basis (Goals 1, 2, 4 and 5).

5.3.7   To facilitate the interoperability of networks and services (Goals 2 and 4).

5.3.8   To be able to develop recommendations that may have regulatory or policy implications (Goals 1, 2, 4 and 6).

5.3.9   To give appropriate consideration to the particular needs of developing countries (Goal 6).

5.3.10   To utilize a bottom-up (rather than top-down) mode of operation and production of (Goals 4 and 5).

5.3.11   To utilize clear and transparent working methods and processes, in order to encourage transparency, inclusiveness, and representation of a broad range of participants and views, particularly incorporating a gender and youth perspective (Goals 1, 4 and 5).

5.3.12   To be flexible and constantly look for ways to improve (Goal 5).

5.3.13   To define and establish formal relationships with the broadest practicable range of relevant bodies. In this regard, ITU-T should:

a)   foster awareness within ITU-T of the work done by other bodies (such as standards development organizations, forums and consortia) (Goal 1);

b)   coordinate and cooperate with such groups in order to reduce duplication, avoid inconsistencies, and ensure that ITU-T work creates added value (Goals 1, 2, 4 and 5);

c)   continue to participate in appropriate coordinating bodies (Goals 1 and 5).

5.3.14   To be flexible in responding to market demands (Goals 2, 4, 5 and 6).

5.3.15   To coordinate and cooperate with the Radiocommunication (ITU-R) and Telecommunication Development (ITU-D) Sectors and with the General Secretariat (Goal 5).

5.3.16   To work with ITU-D, with special attention to telecommunication development in developing countries, including supporting ITU-D's efforts to improve access to the information society in developing countries, and developing handbooks as appropriate (Goals 5 and 6).

5.3.17   To develop and strengthen the linkage between financial, strategic, and operational planning (Goal 5).

5.3.18   To monitor, through the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG), the performance of the Sector against identified milestones and to propose adjustments to the strategic plan as needed (Goal 5).

6) Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D)

6.1   The mission of the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) is to achieve its objectives based on the right to communicate of all the inhabitants of the world through access to infrastructure and information and communication services. In this regard, the mission is:

6.1.1   to assist developing countries in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT), in facilitating the mobilization of technical, human and financial resources needed for their implementation, as well as in promoting access to ICTs;

6.1.2   to promote the extension of the benefits of ICTs to all the world's inhabitants;

6.1.3   to promote and participate in actions that contribute towards narrowing the digital divide;

6.1.4   to develop and manage programmes that facilitate information flow geared to the needs of developing countries, with a focus on populations with special needs, including the disabled and disadvantaged.

6.2   This mission should complement that of other organizations and entities seeking to improve access to communication technologies and services in the developing world.

6.3   The mission encompasses ITU's dual responsibility as a United Nations specialized agency and an executing agency for implementing projects under the United Nations Development Programme or other funding arrangements.

6.4   The mission is to be undertaken within the environment identified in Part I, section 2 above for the Union as a whole, and specifically characterized in ITU-D by increased partnership with other international, regional and other entities in actions to promote the development of telecommunications and narrow the digital divide.

6.5   Within its overall mission, the priorities of the Telecommunication Development Sector for 2004-2007, in addition to those that may be identified by future conferences, are shown below. Each priority is linked to the specific, relevant goal enumerated in Part I, section 3.3 above:

6.5.1   To promote the development, expansion, operation and increased efficiency of ICT networks and services, particularly in the developing countries (Goal 2).

6.5.2   To promote access to ICT networks and services for all, with particular emphasis on the disabled and disadvantaged (Goal 2).

6.5.3   To provide assistance and tools to Member States in creating regulatory and policy environments, institutional and organizational resources, and development activities that promote priorities 6.5.1 and 6.5.2 above (Goals 1, 2 and 6).

6.5.4   To provide assistance and tools for Sector Members seeking to provide ICTs and other services in developing countries (Goal 2).

6.5.5   To collect, analyse and make available information, data and statistics on ICTs in order to assist Member States and Sector Members in making informed policy and development decisions (Goal 6).

6.5.6   To strengthen communication channels and establish the necessary coordination and cooperation between the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) and the ITU-D membership, and ensure cooperative and effective communications and coordination between BDT, both at headquarters and at the regional offices, and the other ITU Sectors and the ITU secretariat (Goals 5 and 6).

6.5.7   To improve communication channels and establish the necessary coordination and cooperation with other international, regional and subregional organizations, and other entities involved in the development of ICTs and services, in order to create the appropriate framework for the application and development of services, ensuring that ITU's and ITU-D's role and mission are understood (Goals 1, 2 and 3).

6.5.8   To ensure that the ITU Member States and ITU-D Sector Members and Associates derive maximum benefits from ITU's role as a specialized agency of the United Nations and an executing agency for implementing projects under the United Nations development system or other funding arrangements (Goals 1 and 5).

6.5.9   To develop and strengthen the linkage between financial, strategic and operational planning (Goal 5).

6.5.10   To monitor, through the Telecommunication Development Advisory Group (TDAG), the performance of the Sector against identified milestones and to propose adjustments to the strategic plan as needed (Goal 5).

6.5.11   To ensure incorporation of a gender perspective in its programmes and activities and provide for its implementation as far as possible (Goal 5).

6.5.12   To emphasize the needs and capabilities of youth in telecommunication development (Goal 5).

6.5.13   To contribute, as appropriate, to preparation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Goals 2 and 6).

6.5.14   To ensure that developing countries' experiences in the ICT field are taken into account for the establishment of partnerships in this field (Goals 2 and 6).

PART III - The secretariat

7.1   The mission of the secretariat is to provide high-quality and efficient services to the membership of the Union, notably in the Plenipotentiary Conference, the Council, conferences, assemblies, meetings, policy forums, TELECOM exhibitions and other events, as well as the dissemination of information.

7.2   The secretariat performs specific tasks and duties identified in the Constitution and Convention and/or discharges other duties and responsibilities handed down in resolutions and decisions of the Plenipotentiary Conference, the Council, conferences and assemblies.

7.3   The mission of the secretariat is to be undertaken within the environment identified in Part I, section 2 above for the Union as a whole, and specifically characterized in the secretariat by:

a)   a membership that has a wide range of requirements;

b)   a membership that is continuing to face growing demands on its time and requires the provision of flexible, innovative and reliable support services.

7.4   Within its overall mission, the objectives of the secretariat for 2004-2007, in addition to those that may be identified by future conferences and assemblies, shall be (not listed in any special order):

7.4.1   To provide the Council with clear, accurate and transparent information as the basis for informed decisions when performing its tasks.

7.4.2   To improve financial accountability in respect of ITU activities by more clearly linking costs with the related activity through appropriate operational plans, financial plans and budgets.

7.4.3   To account for income and expenditure for products and services provided under cost recovery in an open and transparent manner, as defined in Resolution 91 (Minneapolis, 1998).

7.4.4   To identify sources of funding.

7.4.5   To develop a flexible management structure, with greater levels of delegation of responsibility.

7.4.6   To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of secretariat structures, activities and processes, and specifically to decrease costs.

7.4.7   To embrace new technologies and other innovations, including outsourcing when appropriate, in service of the needs, requirements and the sharply focused and targeted efforts and initiatives of the membership, and budget accordingly.

7.4.8   To maintain an agile and responsive secretariat that is receptive to flexibility and innovation.

7.4.9   To provide early information to the membership on problems in achieving established objectives and priorities.

7.4.10   To adopt a more flexible recruitment policy, in particular in reducing recruitment delays.

7.4.11   To compete to attract and retain highly qualified staff for ITU, in order to be responsive to the membership, which generally operates at a high level of technological sophistication.

7.4.12   To maximize the quality and effectiveness of Union's human resources, with due regard to geographical and gender representation, youth and the observance of merit and fitness-to-serve.

7.4.13   To develop, where agreed by the membership, innovative mechanisms for international cooperation outside the formal structures defined in the Constitution and Convention.

7.4.14   To improve the promotion of the activities and value of ITU in order to enhance its membership and to increase use of its products and services.

7.4.15   To serve as the depositary of cooperative international arrangements consistent with the purposes of ITU.

7.5   The ITU secretariat should become more active in United Nations activities related to the mission of ITU, specifically in its responsiveness to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

PART IV - The financial base of the Union and linkages

8.1   The finances of the Union are governed by the provisions of Article 28 of the Constitution and Article 33 of the Convention. The financial plan establishes the framework within which expenditure limits are established (as well as the value of the contributory unit). Within that framework, two biennial budgets are established which provide a linkage to the specific activities undertaken by the Union (activities-based budgeting), and which in turn provide linkages to the strategic plan on the one hand, and the operational plans on the other hand.

8.2   The membership and secretariat should together continue the ongoing efforts to strengthen the Union's financial foundation, understanding that the resources available to the Union are not likely to increase and may be reduced. The description of the environment noted above has natural and necessary consequences on the financial base of the Union, and requires careful, fair, appropriate and innovative responses. Consequently there will be a continuing need to improve transparency and accountability in the financial systems and practices of ITU, and the establishment of and reliance on a close and rational relationship between the strategic, financial and operational planning functions of the Union.

8.3   Financial support shall be defined for implementation of the use of the six working languages of the Union on an equal footing, in order to promote effective participation by developing countries in ITU activities.

8.4   The primary sources of finance for the Union, as reflected in part in Article 6, Article 19 and Annex 2 (voluntary contributions and trust funds) of the Financial Regulations and Resolution 11 (Rev. Marrakesh, 2002) of the Plenipotentiary Conference comprise:

a)   contributory units paid by Member States, Sector Members and Associates;

b)   voluntary contributions;

c)   income from the sale of publications;

d)   cost recovery for the provision of services requested by the membership, for instance in the processing of satellite network filings;

e)   project execution;

f)   surplus income from TELECOM exhibitions, a significant proportion of which is used for development purposes;

g)   other sources of income, including interest.


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