During the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society, held in 2003 and 2005, world leaders recognized the critical importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as key enablers of economic and social development.
In the Tunis phase, WSIS requested that the Economic and Social Council oversee
the system-wide follow-up of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes of the Summit.
With a strong commitment to ensuring the successful follow-up of the WSIS, ECOSOC
has incorporated the follow-up of the Summit as part of the integrated follow-up
of the major United Nations conferences and summits. ECOSOC also adopted a Resolution
last year to strengthen the Commission on Science and Technology for Development,
to assist it in this important work.
This year, on the occasion of World Information Society Day on 17 May, I urge all
stakeholders to recognize the significant role of ECOSOC in promoting the importance
of information and communication technologies for the achievement of the internationally
agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
I encourage ECOSOC to continue its efforts to focus global attention on the importance
of ICTs in the 21st century and to deepen understanding of the benefits that the
Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to all the
peoples of the world.
ITU, which has had the mission of connecting the world since 1865, is committed
to working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the goals set by the WSIS
are met. Our theme for the celebration this year is “ICT and Youth”, in recognition of the importance that ICTs can play in developing future generations of citizens.
Actions to broaden access to communications are a central element of our mandate.
One example is ‘Connect the World’, a multistakeholder initiative that was launched at WSIS. Measures to ensure cybersecurity also will be a key priority of ITU in
the coming years.
Working together, we can ensure that that the full benefits of ICTs are brought
to bear on such persistent problems as poverty, disease and hunger. By making the
most effective use of the new ICT tools, we can make a difference.