Nº 4 2015 > WSIS Forum 2015

Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development

Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development

Ten years after the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), representatives of government, civil society, the private sector and international organizations convened in Geneva on 25–29 May 2015 to identify emerging trends, fresh priorities and innovations for advancing the ’ICT for development’ agenda.

The WSIS Forum is a unique global platform for multi-stakeholder coordination of implementation of WSIS-related activities, projects, and initiatives. It aims to define strategies and tactics to help countries and organizations harness the power of ICTs to meet development goals more effectively.

The WSIS Forum was co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, in collaboration with a number of UN sister agencies (UNDESA, FAO, UNEP, WHO, UN Women, WIPO, WFP, ILO, WMO, UN, ITC, UPU, UNODC, UNICEF and the UN Regional Commissions). This year’s Forum attracted over 1700 stakeholders from more than 140 countries. More than 70 Ministers and deputies, several Ambassadors, CEOs and civil society leaders participated. Remote participation increased significantly during the course of the event.

The WSIS Forum is an effective platform for the coordination of multi-stakeholder implementation activities, information exchange, knowledge creation and the sharing of best practices. It continues to help facilitate multi-stakeholder and public/private partnerships to achieve development goals through ICTs. The Forum provides structured opportunities to network, learn and participate in debates and consultations on WSIS action-line implementation.

The High-Level Track on 26 and 27 May included the Opening Segment, Policy Statements, a WSIS Prize-giving ceremony recognizing grassroots innovation in the field of ICTs for social good, and the Ministerial Round Table. It focused on innovation, partnerships and the linkages between ICTs and the Global Sustainable Development Agenda.

During the High-Level Track, eighteen WSIS Prizes were awarded, recognizing the outstanding achievements of a range of organizations in strengthening implementation of the vision and targets set by WSIS across the eleven WSIS Action Lines. Over 300 projects were nominated for the 2015 contest, with the award winners elected through online voting involving over 100 000 stakeholders from around the world. For a list of winners and winning projects, please see the WSIS website www.itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2015/

The Forum Track on 25, 28 and 29 May provided a platform for multi-stakeholder coordination of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. It consisted of various interactive sessions, an Exhibition, world cafés, thematic workshops, country workshops and UN Regional Commission meetings, with the involvement and participation of all WSIS Action Line Facilitators, other UN agencies and WSIS stakeholders. Key topics on the agenda this year included innovation, accessibility, gender empowerment, sustainable development (the UN ’Post-2015 Agenda’), cybersecurity, and WSIS beyond 2015 (WSIS+10).

The Outcomes of the WSIS Forum 2015 were presented on the final day. These will be submitted to the UN Commission on Science and Technology, the UN General Assembly and the ITU Council. They comprise:

  • The High-Level Policy Statements, providing a platform for high-ranking WSIS Stakeholders to express their views on the achievements, challenges and recommendations on the implementation of WSIS Action Lines, emerging trends and matters of strategic importance to the development of the ICT sector.
  • The Forum Track Outcome Document, summarizing more than 150 sessions held during WSIS Forum 2015.
  • The WSIS Action Line and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Matrix, launched during the WSIS Forum 2015. To underline the key role of ICTs in promoting sustainable development, WSIS Action Line Facilitators developed the WSIS-SDG Matrix exploring and demonstrating the direct linkages between the WSIS Action Lines and the proposed SDGs.
  • The WSIS Stocktaking Report 2015, presenting data on implementation activities and sharing of best practices towards advancing development goals.
  • The WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2015, presenting greater insights into the key ICT success stories of the WSIS Prize Winners from the WSIS Stocktaking database.

This year’s WSIS Forum programme benefited from the strategic partnership and contributions of the Platinum Partner (United Arab Emirates) and Gold Partners (the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Intel Corporation). The Forum benefited from other contributions by partners (including Japan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland) and the Contributing Partners (Poland, Rwanda, ICANN, the Internet Society, and the International Federation for Information Processing).

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