Highlights & Outcomes
More than 3000 information and communication technology (ICT) experts and implementation actors contributed to and participated in the recent World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2019 to foster partnerships, showcase innovation, exchange best practices and announce new tools and initiatives to use ICTs to advance the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For the last 10 years, WSIS Forum has proven to be an efficient global multi-stakeholder platform that is open and inclusive for all to exchange knowledge and information, enhance collaborative networks, and to share best practices in the ICTs sector.
From 8-12 April, over 300 content-rich workshops, knowledge cafes and open-space talks enabled on-site as well as virtual participants from over 150 countries to engage with more than 500 high-level representatives of the wider WSIS Stakeholder community, including ministers and deputies, ambassadors; and leaders from the private sector, academia and civil society. Aligned with both WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs, this year's programme focused on highlighting the linkages between the two, including SDG priority areas such as health, hunger, ICT accessibility, education, youth inclusion, employment, gender empowerment, the environment, infrastructure and innovation. The forum provided a platform to celebrate the power of innovation as we witness the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution ushered in by emerging technologies such as AI, IoTs, blockchain, 5G and many others. While this offers many opportunities, there are also many development challenges including the risk of a new digital divide.
WSIS Forum 2019 was chaired by H .E. Mr. Mustafa Jabbar, Minister, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Bangladesh. The forum was co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, in close collaboration with all UN agencies.
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. People’s lives have been transformed. With the emergence of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G and other new technologies, the next decade will continue to bring enormous opportunities," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
The concrete outcomes of WSIS Forum 2019 will enable stakeholders to strengthen implementation of WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes, and include among others:
- UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) reiterated commitment to the WSIS Action Lines implementation and alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes, with a UNGIS Joint Statement to be released during the high-level political forum 2019, UNDP and ITU were appointed as the UNGIS co-chairs for the year 2019-2020.
- UN Regional Commissions committed to strengthen regional-level WSIS action through multi-stakeholder platforms and a series of regional face-to-face meetings. WSIS will be continue to be included in the UN Regional Coordination Mechanisms and WSIS4SDG will become one of the pillars of the regional SDG Forums.
- Launch of the WSIS Forum 2019 Agenda mobile application developed by the University of West Indies and ITU.
- Ministerial Round Table participants emphasized the importance of the WSIS Action Lines framework as a key UN framework for work on the information and knowledge societies, and reiterated that many national digital agendas were built upon it. They applauded the WSIS Forum for creating global partnerships and collaborations. WSIS Prizes were cited as an important global recognition of impactful ICT projects. The need for sharing existing resources and for strengthened collaboration for building digital skills and ICT incubation programmes and fighting cyberattacks was highlighted.
- ITU, UNESCO and University of Geneva organized the Hackathon, Hacking Solutions for Lifelong Learning and Livelihoods.
The forum also included the announcement of the WSIS Prizes 2019 winners and champions, which represented all seven continents and all WSIS stakeholder groups. In addition, the winning entries of the WSIS Forum Photo Contest 2019 were unveiled, highlighting how ICTs are playing a vital, enabling role on the road to achieving the SDGs.
WSIS Forum 2019 was also an opportunity for partnerships to be forged and valuable tools and initiatives to be launched. The full list of Official WSIS Forum 2019 Outcomes, and the below information materials are available on the WSIS Forum 2019 website.
- WSIS Forum 2019: Outcome Document
- WSIS Forum 2019 High Level Track Outcomes and Executive Brief
- WSIS Action Lines Supporting Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (2019)
- WSIS Stocktaking Report 2019
- WSIS Forum 2019 and SDG Matrix
- WSIS Stocktaking Success Stories 2019
- WSIS Forum 2019: Report - WSIS Action Lines Contributing towards Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality
WSIS Forum 2019 was made possible through the generous support of its strategic partners – Gold plus partner: United Arab Emirates; Gold Partner: Saudi Arabia; Partners for Specific Activities: Japan, IEEE, Oman, Switzerland; Contributing Partners: Poland, Rwanda, ICANN, ISOC, ELM; Supporting Partner: IFIP and University of Geneva.