Council Working Group for the Elaboration of the
Draft Strategic Plan and the Draft Financial Plan,
Document: WG-SP-FP-06/21
18 April 2006
Comments from ITU Membership
The United States of America believes that the importance of the linkage between the
Strategic Plan, Operational Plans and Financial Plan of the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) cannot be overstated. The Financial Plan allocates and
provides a mechanism for tracking expenditures and activities that are identified in the
Operational Plans. The Operational Plans, in identifying the activities of the Union,
provide a framework for the achievement of the priority goals and objectives of the
Union, as identified in the Strategic Plan. Consequently, it is critical that the Financial
Plan be developed with these critical linkages in mind.
The United States also believes that the Financial Plan must be designed to realistically
reflect the objectives and goals of the Union for the quadrennial period. In order to do so,
it is vital that financial and human resource figures be prepared by the Secretariat that
reflect the range of contributory units which the Member States have indicated.
Part 1 Introduction
1.2 Process
1.2 c states that the draft financial plan shall include only the level of activities consistent
with the level of activities for the previous period as well as new activities already
authorized. It appears that the Plan as presented goes beyond this guideline. In addition,
it is important for the Secretariat to identify those activities from the previous four years
that will not be needed in the next quadrennial period or may be given lower priority.
Part 2 Summary
2.1 Income
The information provided throughout the document is based solely on the contributory
unit of 329,000 CHF. In order to fully assess the financial plan, it is imperative that more
complete figures also be provided at the three other levels of contributory unit requested
at the January Working Group meeting, i.e. 318,000; 322,000 and 325,000. The United
States believes that a budget based on the contributory unit of 318,000 is needed to serve
as the baseline for budget discussions.
2.2 Expenditure
The purpose of this paragraph is unclear as it proposes a contributory unit that is far in
excess of any currently under consideration. The Secretariat was asked to prepare four
budget scenarios, all using a balanced budget approach. To propose additional activities
outside those scenarios was not part of the charge to the secretariat from the Working
Group. The United States is also concerned about the lack of any provision for
prospective cost increases in the years 2006-2011 and believes that increases based at
least on the Swiss CPI should be factored into the budget.
2.3 Firm Plan
The figures in ‘Variance in %’ indicate increases of 7 and 9 % for various sectors and the
general secretariat. Additional information on why these increases are included and what
activities or positions are included is needed.
Part 4 Main Assumptions and Targets
4.3 Resource planning (see 7.1.8)
Please provide additional explanation for the rise in the number of General Secretariat
positions by nine.
4.8 Reserve Account
Additional clarification is sought on what the Secretariat is referring to or proposing
when discussing reassessing the minimum level of the Reserve Account and how it is
Part 5 Contributory Unit
5.2 Ratio between Member States and Sector Member’ Contributions
The text indicates that, for purposes of preparing this Financial Plan, an increase from 1/5
to ¼ of the contributory unit has been applied to Sector Members and Associates.
However, there is no justification provided for this unauthorized increase. This skews the
budget figures based on unsubstantiated premises. The Financial Plan should be prepared
using the current 1/5 ratio. If the Secretariat wishes to propose such a change, full
justification in terms of expenditure and cost must be provided and approval requested.
Part 6 Projected Income
6.7 Reserve Account
The U.S. is pleased to see that the ITU has not included any withdrawal from the Reserve
Account in calculating this Financial Plan. The ITU cannot continue to rely on the
Reserve Account to balance the budget as in the past.
Part 7 Projected Expenditure
7.1.2 No provision has been made for additional staffing in the General Secretariat as a
result of WSIS outcomes. This is appropriate, as most WSIS-related implementation
should be undertaken in the Sectors and, with the conclusion of the Summit, resources
devoted to that phase of WSIS can be reprogrammed to assist with implementation
7.1.4 Infrastructure Buildings
Justification for upgrades and renovations for buildings need to be provided in light of
limited budgetary resources.
7.1.8 Secretary General Office and Departments
This section lists nine additional posts being added to the Secretariat. Six are related to
security. The question arises if in-house employees and provision of such services is the
appropriate mechanism or if this is a service that can be outsourced more efficiently.
Two positions are envisioned for IM. Again, it is unclear if full consolidation of IM
services has taken place within ITU to utilize the IM staff as fully and effectively as
possible. What extra-budgetary resources were used in the past and why are they no
longer available?
One position is proposed to be reactivated in the finance section. ITU has already
completed substantial work in moving toward results-based budgeting. Why is this being
requested at this time?
7.2 Radiocommunication Sector
With no RRC being planned in this Financial Plan period, this results in a savings of 10
million CHF. However, the R budget rises. Additional justification for why the full
amount of savings is being reallocated to other activities is needed.
7.3 Telecommunication Standardization Sector
Substantial increases in funding are envisioned, including for WTSA regional
consultation sessions (121 to 353) and study group meetings (3,891 to 4,572). Additional
concrete justification for such figures is needed.
7.4 Telecommunication Development Sector
Substantial increases in funding are envisioned, particularly in RTDC (742 to 1104),
TDAG (435 to 852) and study groups meetings (1577 to 2377). Additional concrete
justification for these figures is needed.
Annex I Assessment Matrix between Objectives and Outputs
The United States compliments the ITU on the useful matrix provided in Annex I.
Analysis of this matrix allows for a more accurate picture of the use of the Union’s
resources and provides some indication of the priorities of the sectors. Greater
disaggregation of the information in the sector matrixes would be useful, for example by
providing greater breakout of costs by study group, showing concentration of activity by
individual study group. The model used in ITU-D for the Programs should be applied to
other outputs in all sectors as well.
We would note however that it remains difficult to discern the level of WSIS expenditure
as some of such activities may be dispersed in several outputs. For example, the General
Secretariat in the matrix has a line for WSIS at 460,000 CHF; that WSIS line in 7.1 is
listed as 0. In addition, it appears that WSIS-related activities may be also undertaken
under New Initiatives (from 0 to 202,000 in 7.1 and listed as 1,276,000 in Annex I) and
projects (3,500,000 in 7.1 and 3,981,000 here).
Annex II Pending Items
The majority of these items should remain unfunded or be incorporated into Sector
budgets, with appropriate offsets being made to allow higher priority items to be
undertaken first. Some items may be duplicative, such as the security projects and WSIS
or unnecessary such as IT services. In all, this section asks for 24 new positions to be
created, the majority of them in the General Secretariat. This would run counter to
efforts made over several years to make the Union more effective and cost efficient and
to streamline the staffing to an appropriate level.
Annex V Draft Decision 5
Paragraph 1.3 should include interpretation so as to read “that expenditure on
interpretation, translation and text processing…” This is in line with the recommendation
of the Working Group on Languages to provide total budgetary information regarding the
provision of all language services to the Members.
The United States does not support the inclusion of paragraphs 4 and 5 in their entirety.
OP 4 is redundant and addresses items already taken into consideration by Council as part
of budget deliberations and decisions. OP 5 addresses the authority of Council to
override the decisions of the Plenipotentiary Conference in reference to the limits
established to the contributory unit for the quadrennial period. The United States does
not support inclusion of this additional provision and believes that Paragraph 7
adequately addresses any adjustments that must be made.