Eighteen tech for development projects were awarded today in Geneva, Switzerland at the opening of the
10th World Summit on the Information Society Forum
, the world's largest fully crowdsourced event for the tech for sustainable development community. Until 12 April, the Forum features more than 250 sessions on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development, including on cybersecurity, e-health, gender equality, blockchain for refugees, 5G and Internet of Things infrastructure, and enabling environments for tech and innovation.
“As we mark the Forum's 10th anniversary, let's remember that this decade has seen a period of extraordinary growth and progress for ICTs," said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General. “But with progress come challenges. So today, I'm calling on you to work together across sectors and industries to make technology work for development – and for everyone. It is up to all of us to ensure that ICTs and these emerging technologies continue to prove a force for good."
WSIS Prizes recognize individuals, governments, civil society, local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private-sector companies for leveraging the power of tech towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly called for a close alignment between the WSIS process –
11 Action Lines - and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Year on year, the WSIS Prizes gain in popularity. This year, for the eighth edition of the contest, a total of 1062 projects were nominated, compared to 492 last year. Furthermore, two million people and entities voted on the projects, which is almost twice as many as in 2018.
- The nominated projects cover the globe: almost one-third of the projects (29%) originate from Asia and the Pacific; 27.7% from Western Europe and North America; 19.4% from Latin America and the Caribbean; 16.9% from Africa; 6.5% from Eastern Europe; and 0.5% are international projects.
- One-fifth (20%) of the projects benefit women and almost another fifth benefit youth, followed by remote and rural communities, people with disabilities, the elderly, unemployed and poor, indigenous and nomadic people, refugees and internally displaced people, and migrants (4%).
- One-third of projects were submitted by the private sector (33%), followed by government (27%), civil society (23%), academia (11%) and international organizations (6%).
The WSIS Forum is co-organized by ITU, UNCTAD, UNDP and UNESCO, in close collaboration with more than 30 other United Nations agencies. More than 3000 ICTs experts and stakeholders from around the world come to network, showcase innovation, exchange good practices, and share new initiatives and information on the use of tech for good.
The WSIS Forum 2019 is generously supported by:
- Gold Plus Partner: United Arab Emirates
- Gold Partner: Saudi Arabia
- Partner for Specific Activities: Japan, Oman, Switzerland, IEEE
- Contributing Partners: Poland, Rwanda, Elm, ICANN, Internet Society
- Supporting Partners: University of Geneva – Geneva Tsinghua Initiative, IFIP
Check out all the excitement of the WSIS Prizes 2019 on social media using the hashtag #WSIS