The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
17th May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.
This year, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day highlight the theme “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”, which was adopted by ITU Council
in 2009 and follows up on the theme for 2010: “Better city, better life with ICTs”.
ICTs are increasingly in demand to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, ICTs provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy.
Half the world’s population resides in rural districts and far flung communities. This half — three billion people — represent the poorer, less educated, and more deprived cousins of our urban citizens. Indeed, latest figures indicate that as many as 70 per cent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas. They are also among the least connected to the benefits of ICTs. We cannot allow this situation to continue.
As the leading specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICT), ITU looks towards its Members to raise awareness of the role of ICTs in creating fresh opportunities for a better life through long-term, sustainable development, not least among the most vulnerable sections of our society.ICTs and related e-applications
are key instruments in improving governance and rural services, such as providing community health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, education, food and shelter; improving maternal health and reducing child mortality; empowering women and the more vulnerable members of society; and ensuring environmental sustainability. As ICTs increasingly dictate lifestyles and behavior patterns and power the growth of trade and commerce, rural communities must not be allowed to fall behind cities in their quest for connectivity.