Official Opening Segment

Session 256

09:00–13:00, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 Room 1, CICG Captioning Interpretation: EN/FR/AR/ZH/ES/RU Opening Ceremony Speakers/Panellists  Link to WSIS Action Lines  Link to SDGs  Documents 

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The Opening Ceremony sets the priorities of the WSIS Forum 2018, bringing forth a wide range of topics within the Global Information and Knowledge Societies while emphasizing the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), WSIS Action Lines in particular, regarding the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this way, the WSIS Forum 2018 builds upon the outcomes of the UN General Assembly Overall Review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes (UNGA Resolution 70/125), which recognized the necessity of holding this Forum on an annual basis and called for a close alignment between WSIS and the SDG processes.

The WSIS Forum 2018 will therefore serve as a key forum for discussing the role of ICTs as a means of implementation of the SDGs and targets, with due regard to the global mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNGA Resolution A/70/1). The WSIS-SDG Matrix, developed by UN WSIS Action Line Facilitator and presented at the WSIS Forum 2015, will serve as the mechanism to map, analyse and coordinate the implementation of WSIS Action Lines, and more specifically, ICTs as enablers and accelerators of the SDGs.

The ceremony will begin with opening statements from the host, co-organizers, partners and representatives of stakeholders engaged in the WSIS Process. The Opening Ceremony will conclude with the handing out of the WSIS prizes.

The format, agenda, and the thematic focus of the Forum is a result of an open consultation process with the involvement of all WSIS Stakeholders. The Forum will build upon two tracks, the High-Level Track, and the Forum Track.



Opening Ceremony (Statements):
  • Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General (Video message)

  1. Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General

  2. Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU

  3. H.E Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Deputy Director General, Telecommunication Sector, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates (Platinum Partner)

  4. Ms. Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD

  5. Mr. Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General, UNESCO

  6. H.E. Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Salem Al-Ruwais, Governor, CITC, Saudi Arabia (Gold Partner)

  7. Mr. Yi Xiaozhun, Deputy Director-General, WTO

  8. Mr. Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, UNITAR

  9. Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President, World Bank Group

  10. Mr. Peter Major, Vice- Chair, UNCSTD

  11. Mr. Huidi Li, Executive Vice President, China Mobile

  12. Mr. Cyril Ritchie, First Vice President, The Conference of NGOs (CoNGO)


Appointment of the Chairman of the WSIS Forum 2018 and Announcement of High-level Track Facilitators
  • Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU

  • Chairman Elect:  H.E Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Deputy Director General, Telecommunication Sector, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates


High-level Strategic Dialogue - Multistakeholder Partnership for WSIS Implementation
  • Chairman — H.E Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Deputy Director General, Telecommunication Sector, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates

  • Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU (Moderator)

  • UNECE — Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary

  • UNESCWA — Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary

  • Rwanda — H.E. Mr. Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa, Minister, Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MiTEC)

  • Japan — H.E. Mr. Masahiko  Tominaga, Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (International Affairs), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

  • Oman — Mr. Dr. Salim Al Ruzaiqi, CEO, Information Technology Authority

  • Poland — Mr. Marcin Cichy, President, Office for Electronic Communications

  • Switzerland — Mr. Thomas Schneider, Ambassador and Director of International Affairs, Swiss Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM)

  • IEEE — Ms. Karen Bartleson, Past President and CEO

  • ICANN — Mr. Tarek Kamel, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO for Government and IGO Engagement

  • ISOC — Ms. Constance Bommelaer, Senior Director of Global Internet Policy 


Announcement of WSIS Forum 2018 Hackathon Winners



High-Level Strategic Dialogue – ICTs Advancing the Implementation of SDGs Celebrating 15 Years of Geneva Plan of Implementation
  • Chairman — H.E Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Deputy Director General, Telecommunication Sector, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), United Arab Emirates

  • Mr. Brahima Sanou, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU (Moderator)

  • Ghana — H.E. Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister, Ministry of Communications

  • Brazil — H.E. Mr. Andre Borges, Secretary of Telecommunications, Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication

  • India — Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary (Telecom), Vice-Minister, Ministry of Communications

  • Mexico — Ms. Yolanda Martinez Mancilla, Chief of National Digital Strategy, Government of Mexico - Office of the Presidency

  • H.E. Amb. Janis Karklins, President of WSIS 2005 Preparatory Committee for the Tunis Phase

  • Prof. Vladimir Minkin, Chairman of the Multistakeholder Preparatory Process, WSIS +10 High-Level Event  2014, Geneva

  • Mr. Marc Furrer, Former Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM)

  • Mr. Ridha Guellouz, International Expert in ICT strategies , President - Tunisian ICT Association - ATTIC Tunisia

  • UNDP —  Ms. Maria Luisa Silva, Director, UNDP  Representation Office in Geneva

  • International Chamber of Commerce — Ms. Elizabeth Thomas-Raynaud, Senior Policy Executive


WSIS Project Prize Ceremony

Eighteen WSIS Project Prizes will be awarded during this session recognizing successful initiatives by governments, private sector actors, civil society members and partnerships between all stakeholders. The winners are awarded for their tremendous efforts and achievements on implementation of WSIS outcomes.

  • Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU
    Awarding 18 Winning Projects

Session's link to WSIS Action Lines

  • AL C1 logo C1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
  • AL C2 logo C2. Information and communication infrastructure
  • AL C3 logo C3. Access to information and knowledge
  • AL C4 logo C4. Capacity building
  • AL C5 logo C5. Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs
  • AL C6 logo C6. Enabling environment
  • AL C7 e-Gov logo C7. ICT Applications: E-government
  • AL C7 e-Bus logo C7. ICT Applications: E-business
  • AL C7 e-Lea logo C7. ICT Applications: E-learning
  • AL C7 e-Hea logo C7. ICT Applications: E-health
  • AL C7 e-Emp logo C7. ICT Applications: E-employment
  • AL C7 e-Env logo C7. ICT Applications: E-environment
  • AL C7 e-Agr logo C7. ICT Applications: E-agriculture
  • AL C7 e-Sci logo C7. ICT Applications: E-science
  • AL C8 logo C8. Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content
  • AL C9 logo C9. Media
  • AL C10 logo C10. Ethical dimensions of the Information Society
  • AL C11 logo C11. International and regional cooperation

Session's link to Sustainable Development Process

  • Goal 1: No poverty logo Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2: Zero hunger logo Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3: Good health and well-being logo Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
  • Goal 4: Quality education logo Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5: Gender equality logo Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation logo Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy logo Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth logo Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure logo Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities logo Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities logo Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production logo Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13: Climate action logo Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 14: Life below water logo Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
  • Goal 15: Life on land logo Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions logo Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals logo Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development


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