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Press Release

ICT stakeholders to advance Sustainable Development Goals at World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2018

More than 2,500 information and communication technology (ICT) experts from around the globe will convene in Geneva, 19-23 March 2018




Geneva, 01 March 2018

More than 2,500 information and communication technology (ICT) experts from around the globe will convene in Geneva, 19-23 March 2018, for the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2018 (WSIS Forum 2018). WSIS Forums represents the world's largest annual multi-stakeholder gathering of the  ICT for development community, and is co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, in close collaboration with all UN agencies.

This year's forum will focus on sustainable development trends and inclusive ICT initiatives in key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) priority areas such as health, hunger, education, youth inclusion, employment, gender empowerment, the environment, infrastructure and innovation. Participants are set to include at least 500 high-level policy-makers from 150+ countries, including government ministers and experts, civil society leaders, academics, business leaders and international organizations.

"It is with great pleasure that ITU joins together with all United Nations agencies, in particular UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP to facilitate WSIS Forum 2018. We look forward to welcoming the global ICT for development community to Geneva so that they may work together to leverage the power of ICT for achievement of the SDGs," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

The WSIS Forum has become a real demonstration of how the WSIS and SDGs processes are being aligned at the implementation level, building on the WSIS-SDG Matrix developed by UN WSIS Action Line Facilitators. An interactive mapping tool is available that emphasizes the linkages between the Action Lines and the SDGs identified by WSIS.

The WSIS Forum 2018 agenda features more than 200 specialized workshops covering a wide array of topics identified through a participatory process with WSIS stakeholders. As part of this, there will be a special display of "ICT Solutions for SDGs" including drones for social development, robotics, artificial intelligence – and virtual reality for development sessions bringing together high-level personalities and world class virtual reality experiences. A Photo Contest Exhibit and TEDxGeneva event are also part of the full schedule of events.

Additionally, all coders are invited to participate, on 18-19 March, in a special ITU/FAO-supported Hack Against Hunger focused on the development of ICT solutions to end world hunger.

This year's WSIS Forum is special, as it marks 15 years since the first summit held in Geneva, demonstrating that the foundations of a "just and equal information society" set by the Geneva Plan of Action in 2003 are still crucial to all WSIS stakeholders.  

WSIS Prizes 2018 winners and champions will be announced during WSIS Forum 2018. WSIS Prizes recognize outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies around the globe that leverage the power of ICTs in support of the SDGs. This year, approximately one million online votes were cast for the 492 projects nominated out of 685 submitted.  

WSIS Forum 2018 will result in several concrete outcomes that will enable stakeholders to strengthen implementation of WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes.

This year's WSIS Forum is generously supported by:  Platinum Partner: UAE; Gold Partner: Saudi Arabia; Partner for Specific Activities: Japan, Rwanda, IEEE, Switzerland; Contributing Partner, Poland, Oman, ICANN, ISOC; Supporting Partner: Swiss Engineering.

Participation in WSIS Forum 2018 is free and open to all, though advance registration is required for security purposes. Please register as soon as possible at: bit.ly/WSIS-2018-Register.

WSIS Forum 2018 Agenda available here

For more information, please visit bit.ly/WSIS-2018