Committed to connecting the world

AI for Good Global Summit

COVID-19 response and recovery

Hero Banner Covid-19
"As the world recovers from and adjusts to the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic, ITU is mobilizing around the United Nations' call to build back better. As the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, we are now more than ever committed to bringing the benefits of these technologies to people everywhere.​​"
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao

The COVID-19 crisis has not only highlighted the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for continued functioning of societies but has also brought to the fore the startling digital inequalities between and within countries.

Bound by the powerful belief that technology can be a source of good for everyone, ITU Members have stepped up and engaged in activities that have proven essential in saving lives and keeping economies going. 

​ITU is helping countries to fully utilize digital technologies to respond to and recover from COVID-19, and to build preparedness for similar future global emergencies. Now more than ever, the world needs to be able to rely on ICTs and ITU's leadership in promoting universal, secure, reliable and affordable connectivity. 

Consult the list of its COVID-19 initiatives, activities and partnerships he​re​​, and read core COVID-19 messages he​re​.​

​​​ITU News
  READ the latest ITU news
ITU Podcasts
LISTEN to ITU podcasts on how COVID-19 has ​affected the telecom sector, and the economy and society at large.  
ITU Videos
WATCH the latest ITU videos on the ​ socio-economic effects of COVID-19. ​


Giga 5 August 2021​​ - Broadband connectivity can accelerate progress towards all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many global inequalities, including the digital divides between and within countries. Countries with strong digital ecosystems are more resilient to shocks and emergencies and have better responded to the pandemic. Read the new Giga report and learn how school connectivity can empower communities in Asia and the Pacific. ​​​

GSR 30 July 2021​​ -  As part of its Connect2Recover initiative, ITU is launching a research competition to identify promising proposals that will accelerate digital inclusion during the global COVID-19 recovery. The competition aims to improve research focus on digital resiliency and inclusion, build a global research community of think tanks and academic institutions around digital inclusion, and to promote knowledge sharing. The submission deadline is 31 August. Details are available here.​​​
Digital financial inclusion 22 July 2021​​ -  Growing use of digital financial services has turned the COVID-19 crisis into opportunity, enabling previously unbanked people and small firms to join the financial system. While digital financial inclusion was a development priority before the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s really become indispensable now as a central element of broad-based sustainable recovery efforts. Read more here.



Main COVID-19 response & recovery initiatives​​

Connect to recover Connect2Recover aims at reinforcing the digital infrastructure of beneficiary countries and better means of utilizing digital technologies (e.g. teleworking, e-commerce, remote learning and telemedicine) to support COVID-19 recovery efforts and preparedness for the “new normal”, as well as potential future pandemics.​

REG Covid Platform Global Network Resiliency Platform (REG4COVID)
To address the strain experienced by telecommunication networks, vital to the health and safety of people, ITU has launched a new platform​ to ​pool experiences and innovative policy and regulatory measures.​

WSIS ICT Repository ICT Case Repository​
The ICT Case Repository​ collects innovative ​projects and activities on how ICTs are assisting stakeholders in their everyday life, work, and in ​combating challenges caused by this extraordinary situation.

Digital transformation CISCO CYB4COVID​
While always crucial, it is particularly at times like this that we need to ensure that our systems and networks ​are secure. On CYB4COVID​, ITU shares information about initiatives, actions, resources and projects on cybersecurity that are designed to help ensure communities remain connected safely and securely​ ​here. ​​​


Digital Health Ad-hoc group on digital technologies for COVID health emergency
Part of the ITU-WHO Focus Group on Artificial Intelligence for Health, the new group aims to establish best practices in the use of AI at each lifecycle of a public health emergency. It will review AI and other digital health technologies’ performance in combatting COVID-19 and future health emergencies. ​
G20 SG meetingExtraordinary G20 ​Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting
ITU supports the G20 Digital Economy Ministers in their commitment to sharing information in a secure manner and encouraging the research and development of digital technologies for health. G20 statementITU Secretary-General blog​

ITU WHO statementReaching all, including those not connected to the Internet, with vital information
ITU and WHO, with support from UNICEF, will work with telecommunication companies to text people directly on their mobile phones with vital health messages​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

COVID-19 resources & latest trend analyses​

ITU’s new report – Pandemic in the Internet age - considers the critical actions and initiatives undertaken early in the COVID-19 pandemic and examines their efficacy and sustainability in the medium and longer term. It recommends actions and regulatory measures aimed at addressing the digital divide, driving digital deepening, effecting digital transformation, and building digital resilience.

REG4COVID discussion paper ITU’s report - The telecommunication industry in the post-COVID-19 world - explores operational and business models, as well as financing strategies, that can facilitate the deployment of ICT infrastructure among unserved populations and deliver universal connectivity in the post-COVID-19 world. ​ ​​​​​​​​​​
Connect to recover Giga’s report "Connecting the Dots" summarizes the key accomplishments of this ITU-UNICEF initiative to connect every school and its surrounding community to the Internet. As the COVID-19 pandemic u​nfolded globally in 2020, Giga mapped Internet access in over 800,000 schools, welcomed 10 partners and developed work plans in 17 countries. Giga was highlighted as a “key way forward towards digital transformation” in the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. ​

According to the joint UNICEF-ITU report "How many​ children and youth have Internet access at home?", the lack of connectivity due to COVID-19 doesn’t just limit children and young people’s ability to connect online. It prevents them from competing in the modern economy and isolates them from the world. The lack of Internet access is costing the next generation their futures.

The COVID-19 global health emergency has dramatically underlined the importance of harnessing the full power of digital technologies to strengthen health systems and programmes. The Digital Health Platform Handbook aims to assist countries to advance their national digital health system through the use of a digital health platform, which provides the underlying foundation for various digital health applications and systems used to support health and care services.

REG4COVID discussion paper New ITU REG4COVID discussion paper analyses the measures taken in the COVID19 context to address Last Mile Connectivity (LMC) issues and identifies best practices. It examines the market aspects of last-mile connectivity, with a view towards promoting and setting up sustainable infrastructure solutions, and provides guidance for private sector and civil society stakeholders to act upon the LMC opportunities available today. ​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
ITU News Magazine
UN COVID ImageFind out how the whole of the UN system is
addr​essi​ng COVID-19
 in their spheres of expertise. ​​​​