ITU PP-14 Day 7: ITUs Budgetary Black Hole

By on 28 Oct 2014

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Image credit: ITU Pictures

Monday of the second Plenipotentiary week here in Busan began with a statement from Secretary General Touré about the reduction of Member State contributions to the ITU.

Each Plenipot, Member States are asked to set their level of financial contribution in Units. You may increase the number of units you pay at any time, but you may only reduce the number by 15% per Plenipot. While some made small increases, two administrations made significant reductions.

The result is that the ITU budget drafted by the Secretariat for approval at the Plenipotentiary now has CHF 13.5 million less than anticipated. This is on top of an additional CHF 7 million they were hoping to raise from a new initiative to charge more organizations for phone numbering resources that are currently getting access to those for free. That is a solution that may not garner too much support from those assembled here in Busan.

If the 2016 – 2019 ITU budget is severely constrained significant cuts will need to be made. Programs such as the capacity building program are likely at risk. The Secretariat must find the savings quickly to keep the Conference budget negotiations on track.

One solution, which would face quite a lot of resistance, would be to dip into the reserve fund. Currently it stands at CHF 30 million, which Touré says is double the reserve required by the Constitution and Convention.

Almost immediately following, China took the floor and offered an extraordinary contribution of USD 2 million to offset the defunding from other Member States. The US (30 units) Japan (30 units) and Germany (25 units) remain the ITUs largest supporters in terms of Contributory Units.

Monday was the last day of elections with the Radio Regulations Board and ITU Council elections held in a single vote. Delegates had to be patient after one of the two vote counting machines shipped to Korea for the purpose was ‘out of order’. So even after an additional 30-minute coffee break was extended by 25 minutes and allowed to run for an additional 20 minutes on top of that, there was still no result. The Chair adjourned the meeting and asked delegates to return at lunch time when the results were finally announced.

All election results are available on the ITU website, but for Region E, which includes the APNIC region, the following 13 Council Members were appointed: China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Kuwait, UAE, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand, India and Pakistan.

At the end of the day, beginning at 5:30 pm and concluding at 10 pm, the Ad Hoc Group on Internet Related Matters reconvened after Saturday’s session and continued to work on Resolution 101 on “Internet Protocol-based networks” before returning to Resolution 133 “Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized (multilingual) domain names”.

Even with two days to consider the outstanding issues in the resolution on IDNs, one delegation in particular continued to block consensus, steadfastly refusing to concede points where logical arguments and factual statements against it were offered by delegation after delegation.

Resolution 101 proved just as difficult as expected and the discussion was concluded with several parts still failing to reach consensus. One particular new proposal in Document 79 (listed below) drew a strong reaction from many speakers. The provisions are reproduced here.

[invites Member States

  1. to continue to participate actively in the discussions and development of international public policy issues related to Internet resources, including domain names and addresses, their possible evolution and the impact of new usages and applications, cooperating with the relevant organizations, and to contribute to the CWG-Internet and ITU study groups in this regards;
  2. to protect their Internet Protocol-based networks from unlawful surveillance at the international level through the development of international Internet-related public policy,]

These and many more issues will take several more sessions to resolve before the work of this Ad Hoc Group is complete.

RESOLUTION  101: Internet Protocol-based networks

Documents

RESOLUTION 133: Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized (multilingual) domain names

Documents

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