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ITU-T and WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society)

As the UN specialized agency for ICTs, ITU was proud to have played the leading role in the organization of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). WSIS identified ITU as the moderator/facilitator for action lines C2 (Information and Communication Infrastructure) and C5 (Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs) of the Tunis Agenda, and as a potential partner for a number of other actions lines.


ITU-T Role


The Geneva Declaration of Principles (§44) emphasized that:

‘Standardization is one of the essential building blocks of the Information Society. There should be particular emphasis on the development and adoption of international standards. The development and use of open, interoperable, non-discriminatory and demand-driven standards that take into account needs of users and consumers is a basic element for the development and greater diffusion of ICTs and more affordable access to them, particularly in developing countries. International standards aim to create an environment where consumers can access services worldwide regardless of underlying technology.’

The Geneva Declaration of Principles (§64) recognizes, inter alia, that ITU’s core competence in standards development is of crucial importance in building the Information Society.

All the Action Lines of the Geneva Plan of Action require the development of standards in order to meet the expectations of WSIS stakeholders for successful implementation. The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) is the pre-eminent worldwide telecommunication standards body and cooperates with other international and regional standards development organizations to provide a worldwide harmonized panorama for ICT standards to ensure interworking, interoperability, availability of services and network access.

WTSA Resolution 75 (Johannesburg, 2008) highlighted ITU-T’s contribution in implementing the outcomes of the WSIS, and led to the establishment of the Dedicated Group on Internet-related Public Policy Issues.

ITU-T Activities


ITU-T activities undertaken are mainly related to WSIS Action Lines C2 (infrastructure) and C5 (cybersecurity) where ITU has the lead facilitation role, but also to the Action Lines C3, C4, C7, C8 and C11 and the work of the Internet Governance Forum.

ITU-T Study Groups considered the WSIS 2003 Geneva Plan of Action and the 2005 Tunis Agenda for the Information Society as essential reference points for their work programmes in standardization. The table below is an example of the mapping between ITU-T SG activities and WSIS Outputs:


Major ITU-T SGs ITU-T SG Activities WSIS Outputs
SG2 , SG3, SG11, SG13, SG15 ​Next Generation core and access networks ​Action Line C2
SG17 ​Cybersecurity ​Action Line C5
SG9 , SG16 ​Multimedia services ​Action Lines C2, C3, C8 and C9
SG5 , SG12, SG16 ​Quality of Service Tunis Agenda §45
SG3 ​International Internet Connectivity Action Line C2,Tunis Agenda §27c and §50d
SG5 ​ICTs and climate change Action Line C7
SG16 , SG17 e-health Action Line C7

In addition, other ITU-T cross-Study Group activities also contribute to the implementation of WSIS outputs. The table below names a few:

Workshops and seminars Action Lines C4 and C7, Tunis Agenda passim
Emergency telecommunications Tunis Agenda §91c
Child help lines Tunis Agenda §92
Bridging the Standardization Gap (Resolution 123) Action Lines C2 and C6
Accessibility Action Line C3
Internet Governance Forum Tunis Agenda, §29-82
Conformance Assessment and Interoperability Action Line C2


Latest report of WSIS implementation and follow-up activities in ITU-T is submitted to the ITU Council Working Group on WSIS and the ITU Council.