WSIS Forum 2017 will be held from 12–16 June 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. More info.

Creative Internet-Based Solutions to Social and Economic Development

Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)

ICT breakthroughs for achieving the SDGs

This session seeks to acknowledge the important contributions by Internet innovators to the development of the Information Society. The objective of the session is to reflect on the role that the Internet plays for a steadfast achievement of the SDGs, as well as the barriers and challenges to overcome.


Sylvia Cadena, Community Partnerships Specialist - APNIC

Speakers / panellists

The workshop moderator, Sylvia Cadena (Community Partnerships Specialist, APNIC - Australia) will set the scene placing the different elements of the conversation for the discussants to argue their points, looking for meaningful channels of participation where Internet innovators can contribute and be part of a roadmap to achieve the SDGs.

The session is structured to encourage the audience to engage and actively participate.

The starting point of the session will comprise kick-off remarks by the following speakers (3 min each):

● Carolina Caeiro (Coordinator of Development Projects, LACNIC - Uruguay) will introduce to the discussion trends, mechanisms and challenges funding for Internet development in the south in light of change the SGDs and the reduction of development portfolios, based on their work with the FRIDA program in Latin America and the Seed Alliance.

● Jovan Kurbalija (founding director of Diplo Foundation and Head of the Geneva Internet Platform - Switzerland) will talk about e-learning platforms and remote participation tools to develop critical capacities for meaningful participation in Internet governance processes as well as the challenges for the unconnected to engage in this processes.
● Dr. Marion Jansen (Chief Economist, International Trade Center - Switzerland) will contribute to the discussion from the perspective of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and capacity required by them to leverage technology in their service/goods delivering, including through e-commerce.

The following discussants will join remotely to comment on the kick-off remarks and will start a conversation:

● Nick Ashton-Hart (Consultant, Senior international policy and operations - joining from Nepal) will provide views about the SDG’s process and the UN discussions

● Dr Anja Kovacs (Director, Internet Democracy Project - joining from India) will add a point of view from the perspective of the most marginalised communities, raising questions about challenges relating to access and the implications of not addressing them effectively in particular– remote participation.

●  Mwendwa Kivuva (Project Manager, AFRINIC - joining from Kenya) will introduce to the discussion how the links with the entrepreneur sector engagement and commitment to achieve the SDGs, entrepreneurship and fostering innovation, based on their work with the FIRE program in Africa and the Seed Alliance.

The moderator will open a conversation with the floor and there will be a round of final comments from those panelists that will like to  round the discussion.

Link to WSIS Action Lines
  • C1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
  • C2. Information and communication infrastructure
  • C3. Access to information and knowledge
  • C4. Capacity building
  • C6. Enabling environment
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-government
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-business
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-learning
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-health
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-employment
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-environment
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-agriculture
  • C7. ICT Applications: E-science
  • C8. Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content
  • C11. International and regional cooperation

Internet amplifies the capacity to understand, communicate and serve the communities that are struggling to get out of poverty.

▪   Understand: innovations allow to collect, survey, map and analyze data at a scale not seen before, allowing to design and implement better services for communities. However, the challenge remains to bring computer power to the edges of the network as well as reliable and robust networks in developing economies to be able to access the data and the applications needed in real time, from the field.

▪   Communicate: Internet based applications have changed the way communities engage, by facilitating direct communication between citizens and politicians, by encouraging ordinary people to report the world around them supporting not only journalism but also citizen's science. However, there are challenges to reach productive dialogue, in-depth analysis and meaningful participation linked to outcomes.

▪   Serve: Internet based innovations allow to deliver services, simplify processes and share responsibilities, by enabling the provision of health services, access to information and education, access to government services, job generation, and facilitating small to medium sized enterprises in reaching global markets, among other benefits. However, many of the communities that will benefit from these services are still behind as they are not yet connected, the connectivity is too expensive, precarious or unreliable, or the necessary technical and/or commercial skills are required for opportunities to be capitalised upon.

In order to make the most of what the Internet has to offer an environment where investment, deployment and rollout of services are aligned with the technical capacity required for maintenance and growth as well as effective use relevant to local needs, cultural context, accessible in local languages and the skills and training to exploit opportunities. Such an environment requires effective cooperation as no stakeholder can deliver a holistic  alone, and disseminating what works and in what context is a key to successful outcomes.

Link to the Sustainable Development Process
  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
  • Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Internet will clearly play an important role for the achievement of SDG's and the panel will touch on practical examples and trends, as well as barriers and challenges to achieve them. 

Session 147
  • Monday, 09:00 – 10:45
  • Room L, ITU Montbrillant
  • Thematic Workshop

WSIS Forum 2016 | WSIS Action Lines: Supporting the Implementation of SDGs
2–6 May 2016, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Place des Nations, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland