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The purposes of the Union are set out in Article 1 of the Constitution (Geneva, 1992). Essentially, they are to provide a forum in which the Union's membership can cooperate for the improvement and rational use of telecommunications of all kinds in the following domains:

a technical domain
to promote the development, efficient operation, usefulness and general availability of telecommunication facilities and services;
  a development domain
to promote the development of telecommunications in developing countries and the extension of the benefits of telecommunications to people everywhere;
  a policy domain
to promote the adoption of a broader approach to telecommunication issues in the global information economy and society.

The objective of the strategic plan for the Union for 1999-2003 is to indicate how these purposes will be achieved in this period of time by identifying key issues, goals, strategies and priorities for the Union as a whole, for each of the Sectors, and for the secretariat.

The ITU strategic plan for 1995-1999 was based on an ambitious goal — to establish the Union as the international focal point for all matters relating to telecommunications in the global information economy and society. This goal was to be achieved through the following overall strategies:

  to strengthen the foundations of the Union — by enhancing the participation of Sector Members and increasing synergy between the activities of the Sectors;
  to broaden the Union's activities — by creating the world telecommunication policy forum and using ITU resources and information systems more effectively;
  to increase the Union's leverage in international affairs – by establishing strategic alliances with other concerned international and regional organizations, and communicating more effectively with the public.

 The report of the Council to the Plenipotentiary Conference (Minneapolis, 1998) on the activities of the Union since the Plenipotentiary Conference (Kyoto, 1994) provides a detailed assessment of the results of the 1995-1999 strategic plan. Each of these strategies has been successful, to a greater or lesser degree. However, the overall goal as referred to in paragraph 3 above has not been entirely realized, largely because of developments outside the control of the Union and its membership.

The telecommunication environment has evolved in ways that were not completely foreseen when the 1995-1999 strategic plan was being crafted. In particular, the forces of liberalization, competition and globalization have been stronger than anticipated. They have resulted in a shift in the way telecommunications is viewed — by policy‑makers and regulators, by customers, and by the industry itself. These forces will be further strengthened by the implementation in 1998 of agreements liberalizing trade in telecommunications at the international and regional levels.

In this new environment, it is no longer realistic to believe that the Union can be the focal point for all matters relating to telecommunications in the global information economy and society. The world is now too complex and telecommunications too pervasive for a single organization to be the focus of all issues of concern to the international community. New goals must be set and new strategies devised. That is the purpose of this document, which is organized as follows:

  • one part identifies key trends and developments in the telecommunication environment and assesses their implications for ITU;

  • another proposes general strategic orientations, goals and priorities for achieving the purposes of the Union in the new environment in the 1999-2003 time-frame;

  • the last part presents goals, strategies and priorities for the Sectors.


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Updated : 2004-01-14