WSIS Forum 2012 launches 10-year review to measure goals set at UN World Summit on the Information Society
Geneva, 14 May 2012 — Stakeholders from government, civil society and the private sector are meeting in Geneva this week to agree on an effective and meaningful review process (WSIS+10) for measuring progress towards targets set in 2005 in Tunis at the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and to forge a common vision for new actions beyond 2015.
Co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, the WSIS Forum 2012 event (14-18 May) is the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. It aims to define strategies and tactics to help countries and organizations more effectively harness the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, now just three years away.
Topics on the agenda include rural development, ICT infrastructure, cybersecurity, multilingualism, environmental sustainability, education, healthcare and innovation. Over 1,500 representatives from around 150 countries are expected to attend the week-long event, which comprises almost 140 sessions.
High-level speakers at the opening ceremony, which took place this morning at the headquarters of the International Labour Organization, included Ministers and deputies from over 35 countries, including Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
They were joined on the podium by Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU; Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General, UNCTAD; Juan Somavia, Director-General, ILO; Janis Karklins, Assistant Director-General, UNESCO; H.E. Ambassador Obaid Salem Saeed Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative, United Arab Emirates; John Davies, Vice-President, Intel Corporation and General Manager of Intel’s World Ahead Program; and Cyril Ritchie, President of the Conference on NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO).
In his opening address, Dr Touré confirmed that the Plan of Action for the Overall Review of the Implementation of the WSIS Outcomes (WSIS+10) has been endorsed by the Chief Executives Board of the United Nations, with ITU accorded the leading managerial role in terms of responsibility for the WSIS+10 Review Process. “This is a clear demonstration that ICTs continue to remain right at the top of country-level agendas – and it is our responsibility to ensure that they continue to stay there up to and beyond 2015,” said Dr Touré.
The opening ceremony also saw the awarding of WSIS Project Prizes to 18 distinguished winners from around the world, recognizing projects that have made an outstanding contribution to the WSIS implementation.
The opening session was followed by a Ministerial Round Table on the topic of WSIS: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Beyond 2015, which welcomed Ministers and top officials from 35 countries and territories including Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Burundi, France, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the USA and Zambia.
High-level Dialogues on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th will cover:
- Governance of Cyberspace and Cyberpeace
- Advancing the Green Agenda
- Women & Girls in ICT
- ICTs for Post-conflict Reconstruction
Encompassing an increasingly popular exhibition component, the Forum offers delegates a diverse range of meetings and activities, including Interactive WSIS Action Line Meetings, Action Line Facilitator’s Meetings, Interactive Sessions, Country and Thematic Workshops and Knowledge Exchanges. Afternoon sessions each day will also feature the release of a number of new publications and briefings from participating organizations. The WSIS Forum 2012 programme also includes meetings of the Internet Governance Forum.
The WSIS agenda is the result of a comprehensive open consultation process involving all stakeholders. Spanning six phases, this year’s process welcomed 150 contributions from 50 countries.
Remote participation is an integral component of the event. Each session can be joined remotely at: http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2012/Information/RemoteParticipation.aspx. Live and archived webcasts of key sessions can be viewed at: www.itu.int/ibs/WSIS/201205forum/
This year’s WSIS Forum programme has been further strengthened thanks to the strategic partnership and contribution of the United Arab Emirates (government) and Intel Corporation (private sector). The Forum has also benefited from contributions by partners including Belgium-Liege, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Oman, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Videos, photos, live and archived webcasts, and transcripts of speeches can be found at the WSIS Forum 2012 Newsroom at www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/wsis/index.aspx, or on the main event website at http://www.wsis.org/forum.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a UN process that was initiated in two unique phases in order to create an evolving multi-stakeholder platform aimed at promoting Information Society at the national, regional and international levels. The goal of WSIS is to achieve a common vision, desire and commitment to build a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information. The Final Review of this process will take place in 2015. www.wsis.org
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For over 145 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.