The seventh meeting of the ITU Council’s working group on Financial and Human Resources (WG FHR) was held from 30 January to 1 February in Geneva, Switzerland.
Various financial and accounting documents were presented, stressing that the current budget proposal is balanced, though a high percentage of the Union’s spending addresses personnel costs. The possibilities of generating additional revenue are virtually exhausted, while the steps taken to cut costs can no longer implement additional reductions as large as those carried out in 2015 and 2016. Proposals to revise the terms of reference of this WG were presented and discussed, along with a thorough revision of current methodologies regarding the participation of all stakeholders in ITU activities.
One subject of discussion was concern about the security of installations and participants at Union events. Options (with foreseeable costs) were presented to increase security levels to the recommended levels for United Nations agencies, as most such agencies have already implemented those recommendations.
The consultation on modernisation of the plenipotentiary conference was presented. It was highlighted that many improvements are technical and overall do not enable major progress in the efficiency of the conference’s work. There are important cultural questions regarding how the Union works and there is no consensus that the technical improvements are actually useful and able to achieve what they are proposed for, especially with respect to means of electronic voting.
Also noteworthy is the initiative to create an ethics officer and to produce an ethics policy for the ITU.