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ITU Council guides implementation of strategic plan

Budget approved for 2016-2017 biennium

Geneva, 21 May 2015 – ITU’s governing Council concluded its 2015 session ahead of schedule after agreeing on the implementation of the strategic plan and activities of the Union for 2014-2015 as well as the biennial budget for 2016-2017. Council also reviewed preparations for upcoming events, such as the World Radiocommunication Conference in November 2015 as well as other key topics, such as Internet-related activities and public policy issues, cybersecurity and child online protection, gender mainstreaming, and youth.

Discussion on the operational plan centred on strengthening results-based management and delivering better linkages with the financial and strategic plans. Council agreed that the Secretariat be given the flexibility needed, within existing procedures, to implement the four-year rolling operational plans.

Council commended the Secretariat for presenting a draft budget, which, through efficiency measures, for the first time did not call on a withdrawal from the reserve fund. Some Councillors expressed the need to continue seeking opportunities for cost reductions, while others proposed that ITU should identify revenue-generating opportunities in future to prevent it from entering a vicious cycle of reductions.

ITU's activities in building confidence and security in the use of ICTs and the importance of regional and international collaboration received support, with Councillors calling for more detailed reporting concerning the illicit use of ICTs.

Council discussed options for the Union's Headquarter premises, such as renovation, replacement and possible relocation to another country. These will be discussed further at a meeting of the designated working group in September 2015 to prepare the grounds for a Council decision in 2016. It was decided not to consider rental as a long-term solution.

The WSIS Forum will follow Council, in Geneva, 25-29 May. This year marks a decade after the World Summit on the Information Society was held, and an overall WSIS+10 review will take place at the UN in New York in December.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao emphasized the importance of meeting the WSIS goals to connect the world and stressed that the United Nations post-2015 agenda must recognize the catalytic role of ICT in meeting global sustainable development goals. In this context, Councillors emphasized the importance of the Connect 2020 agenda in setting clear goals for ITU and its membership to galvanize growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, and innovation.

Looking to the future, Mr Zhao also re-affirmed the ongoing transformation of ITU Telecom to reflect new realities in the ICT ecosystem, in particular recognizing the growing importance of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in global ICT development and their huge potential for innovation in driving national and international economic development.

On Sunday 17 May, Councillors, along with international dignitaries, including a number of government Ministers, marked ITU’s 150th anniversary at a ceremony during which recognition was accorded to luminaries, past and present, who have contributed to ITU’s work in connecting the world. Awards were presented to Martin Cooper, Robert E. Kahn, Mark I. Krivocheev, Ken Sakamura, and Thomas Wiegand. Special recognition was accorded to Bill Gates for his lifetime contributions and his ongoing work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The day after the ceremony, ITU and the Republic of Korea signed a Cooperation Agreement launching the Innovation Platform project to develop ICT innovation policy and governance in converged ecosystems. “Innovation spurs development,” Mr Zhao noted. “International cooperation is needed to foster the right environment for innovation to blossom.”

“This project is in line with ITU’s 150th anniversary theme of innovating together,” said Mr Sanghun Lee, Director of the Multilateral Cooperation Division in the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of the Republic of Korea, which has contributed 150,000,000 Korean Won (approximately USD 140,000) to the project. “We emphasize the importance of innovation and creativity in today’s world.”

The ITU Council will meet next from 25 May to 2 June 2016.

Results of the ITU150 poster competition

Results of the 150th anniversary children’s poster competition were announced during the closing plenary session of Council. Children between ages 5-16 had been asked to draw what they imagined the world of ICTs would look like 50 years hence in 2065. The winners were selected from over a thousand entries from around the world. Inspiring, forward-looking ideas ranged from robots of all shapes and sizes, flying cars, floating cities and undersea habitats to unimaginable advances in global communications and stunning medical, ecological and social innovations.

In the 5-7 age group, the winners are Mohammed Firdaus Ibrahim from Sarawak, Malaysia; Arya Panthaka Gurugefrom from Sri Lanka; and Anastasia Andreeva from Geneva, Switzerland.

In the 8-11 age group, the winners are Jerry Auguste from the Dominican Republic; Muhamad Amir B. Kamaruzzaman from Malaysia; and K. Kaweesha Lakshan Sithumina from Sri Lanka.

In the 12-16 age group, four winners were selected: Iarlaith Conneally from France; Yong Chen Ling from Malaysia; Heesoo Choi from Switzerland; and Chua Shu En from Malaysia.

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
telephone +41 22 730 5046
mobile +41 79 249 4861
email sanjay.acharya@itu.int

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