The Council of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has approved a new Strategic Plan for the Organisation for the period 2016 – 2020.
The new Plan is in line with the vision outlined to Council by Mr Shola Taylor as he assumed office as Secretary-General in September 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya and which is aimed at transforming the CTO for enhanced value for its membership.
The approved four-year Plan, which was first endorsed by the CTO’s Executive Committee in February, is an ambitious drive to make greater use the CTO’s status as an intergovernmental organisation, its strong historical position as a platform for consultation, and its wide member and partner network across five continents to enhance value for all its members. As a result, the new mission statement of the Organisation is to provide result-focused ICT leadership in the Commonwealth and beyond.
Speaking shortly after Council’s approval, Mr Taylor said that “this new Strategic Plan is the result of wide and thorough consultations with all our stakeholders, including for the first time all employees of the Organisation. I am most grateful for the input we received from members during this three months planning process; the Plan is designed to assist them as well as the global community in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals adopted last year, and I am confident that our new strategic goals reflect our members and partners’ expectations.
“ICTs provide the underpinning for our members’ socio-economic development efforts, just as health or education, and the CTO is ready to move in the direction set out in the new Plan in full support of all members.” Mr Taylor assured.
Key notable changes in the plan include:
- the introduction of Member Action Plans to be effective from April this year, as the main mechanism to respond to members’ needs. As part of this new approach, Member Account Managers have been appointed from the existing staff to maintain regular engagement with each member of the Organisation supplementing the dedicated membership division.
the introduction of the Affiliate Membership option open to governments of non-Commonwealth countries, as well as Academia Membership to encourage universities and tertiary educational institutions to take part in the Organisation’s work.
- the adoption of the unit of membership contribution to consolidate previously separate membership financial contribution scales into a single, simpler and fairer system.
the launch of a Development Assistance Programme (DAP) to support members’ ICT development efforts.
- the creation of a new HR and Administration department to report to the Secretary-General. This department will drive major improvements in recruitment, development and retention of CTO employees, as well as a closer realignment of the CTO’s employment conditions to the UN system.
- the creation of a new Technical Support and Consultancy division to identify, and to respond more directly and more effectively to members’ needs.
- a new Associate Consultants registration scheme open to qualified and experienced individuals as well as consultancy firms who will support the Secretariat in responding to members’ needs.
The new Plan is structured around 6 goals and 26 strategic objectives, as follows:
Enhance the value of the CTO membership and expand the CTO’s membership base
- Increase CTO membership from Commonwealth countries, non-Commonwealth countries and the ICT Sector.
- Establish Member Action Plans which define clear programmes and activities for each member.
- Establish a membership fee structure which provides flexibility, recognises members’ ability to pay and enables membership annual fees to cover the core budget of the organisation.
- Development and distribution of the Secretary-General’s quarterly reports and e-COMMONWEALTH magazine to members.
- Raise funds for development activities to support members through the Development Assistance Programme.
- Review and strengthen the CTO’s capacity building programmes.
- Organise events and undertake consultancies on subject matter that promote that the interest of members.
- Promote South-South and North-South cooperation among Member Countries.
Promote enabling regulatory environments
- Promote, encourage and facilitate the development of modern regulatory frameworks including ICT licenses, spectrum management, quality of service, digital switchover and Over-the-Top operators, aimed at creating an enabling environment for investment and development.
- Encourage the development and adoption of appropriate methods of collecting relevant statistical data.
Promote affordable universal and high-quality broadband connectivity
- Promote the adoption of enabling policies, technologies and regulatory measures to facilitate the rapid rollout of broadband infrastructure.
- Encourage cooperation between governments, regulators and service providers to develop networks suitable for the needs of members.
- Assist countries in developing and maintaining Universal Service Fund regimes.
Promote a culture of cybersecurity and effective cyber governance
- Encourage and support countries in the understanding of cybersecurity issues and in the establishment of cybersecurity frameworks and relevant standards.
- Facilitate the promotion of cyber governance and the Commonwealth’s engagement.
- Provide best practice guidelines for members, including Child Online Protection guidelines.
Promote the development and use of ICT applications for socio-economic development
- Encourage the development and use of e-applications, including e-government applications such as e-governance, e-health, e-education and e-agriculture, among others.
- Provide special assistance and support to countries identified by the United Nations as being vulnerable and in need of special assistance including Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and Landlocked Developing Countries.
- Promote the utilisation of ICTs for social and economic benefits for all countries.
- Promote the empowerment of women and girls using ICTs.
- Promote the empowerment of youths using ICTs.
- Promote the use of ICTs by disabled persons and other groups in need of special assistance.
- Assist member countries in utilising ICTs for disaster management.
- Encourage the development of business continuity strategies.
- Assist in the development and adoption of suitable strategies for dealing with e-waste.
Ensure effective coordination of Commonwealth countries at international ICT conferences and meetings
- Provide support in order to ensure the effective participation by the CTO Secretariat and Member Countries at important global and regional events related to all aspects of ICTs.