Highlights, Announcements, and Key Outcomes
The WSIS Forum 2022 final week welcomed more than 1,000 physical participants, with more than 30,000 remote participants since 15 March. Information and communication technology (ICT) experts and implementation actors contributed to and participated in the recent World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2022 to foster partnerships, showcase innovation, exchange best practices and announce new tools and initiatives to use ICTs (WSIS Action Lines) to advance the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For the last 20 years, WSIS Process and its components, specially the 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 15th of March we had over 250 sessions, including thematic workshops, country workshops, WSIS Action Line Facilitation meetings, high-level dialogues, high-level policy sessions, 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 indigenous languages, older persons, accessibility, education, youth inclusion, employment, gender empowerment, the environment, infrastructure and innovation. The forum provided a platform to celebrate the power of innovation through emerging technologies such as metaverse, AI, IoTs, blockchain, 5G and many others.
WSIS Forum 2022 was chaired by H.E. Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), Minister, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigeria. The Forum was co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, in close collaboration with all UN agencies involved. The Chairman proposed and agreed to continue his Chairmanship until next Forum. Chairman highlighted that he firmly believes that the 2025 WSIS Review process will be a critical global milestone and that we need to focus our attention to designing a review process that is thorough, inclusive and effective. "I am willing to invest my own time and effort in guiding this process" he said. He suggested that we form a high level expert group that will work towards designing this 2025 WSIS Review, also taking into account the guidance from the upcoming ITU plenipotentiary conference.
Digital technologies offer solutions to all these challenges. In these past 11 weeks, this year’s WSIS Forum has brought to life the many benefits of ICTs in areas as critical and diverse as education, health, financial inclusion, climate change, accessibility, cybersecurity, smart cities, and many more. Over the course of the week, we are going to have the opportunity to hear from and engage with some of the world’s foremost government, international organization, business, civil society and academic leaders about their hopes and expectations for the future of ICT, said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
The final week witnessed the continued importance of the WSIS Process in charting the path for the implementation of the SDGs. There was wide-spread support amongst Ministers, Heads of Regulators, High level Policy Makers, Civil Society, Private Sectors and Academia Representatives on the continued strengthening of the WSIS Process beyond 2025. The importance of designing a 2025 review process that is thorough inclusive and effective and which takes into account new developments in technology, policy and related processes was also emphasised by the WSIS Stakeholders.
The concrete outcomes of WSIS Forum 2022 will enable stakeholders to strengthen implementation of WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes, and include among others:
WSIS Forum 2022 was also an opportunity for partnerships to be forged and valuable tools and initiatives to be launched. The full list of Official WSIS Forum 2022 Outcomes and the below publications will be made available on the WSIS Forum 2022 website.