Highlights and Outcomes

Highlights, Announcements, and Key Outcomes

The annual World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum is a global multistakeholder platform facilitating the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing sustainable development, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in close collaboration with all WSIS Action Line co-facilitators and more than 30 UN agencies. The Forum provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving information and knowledge societies.

The WSIS Forum 2023 hybrid week was held from 13 to 17 March in Geneva, Switzerland, and brought together experts, policymakers, and diverse stakeholders from around the world to discuss information and communication technologies (ICTs) for sustainable development. This year’s Forum theme is WSIS Action Lines for building back better and accelerating The Forum hybrid week welcomed over 2,700 participants attending both on-site and remotely, from 150 countries worldwide. The Forum gathered more than 150 high-level representatives of the wider WSIS stakeholder community, including Ministers and Deputies, Ambassadors; and leaders from the private sector, academia and civil society.

This year’s Forum hybrid week had several innovative session formats and featured around 250 sessions, including open space talks, thematic workshops, country workshops, WSIS Action Lines Facilitation Meetings, knowledge cafes, WSIS Prizes, high-level track sessions, and many more. The stakeholders appreciated the new innovative formats, which fostered more participatory and collaborative exchanges with engaging dialogues.

The WSIS Forum 2023 continued with virtual workshops from April to May 2023. These workshops brought together a cumulative total of 5,000 participants (livestreams and session recordings on Zoom and Facebook). The event featured 50 virtual workshops and showcased the expertise of over 200 speakers.

The WSIS Forum 2023 saw a significant milestone, as the first female Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Minister of Digital Transformation, Republic of Slovenia, chairing the WSIS Forum 2023. Summarizing the high-level track, the Chairperson highlighted that "international cooperation and multistakeholder engagement are the key, therefore, processes as WSIS are an immense contribution. They bring us together to meet and build meaningful partnership. And they are of immense help on our way towards achieving sustainable development goals".

The concrete outcomes of WSIS Forum 2023 will enable stakeholders to strengthen implementation of WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes. Some of the highlights and key outcomes of the WSIS Forum 2023 are the following:

WSIS Forum 2023 Stats


  • The WSIS Forum 2023 featured high-level keynote speeches from global leaders, including the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, who emphasized the importance of the Forum to build a free and fair information society for all people, everywhere; his video message is available here.

  • 30+ exhibitions spaces showcased ICTs for sustainable development. The exhibitors displayed a wide range of technologies and innovative solutions addressing global development issues. The WSIS Forum 2023 partners also exhibited their projects and initiatives. The exhibition spaces also featured virtual reality tools that provided participants with different immersive experiences, such as to explore the reality of the indigenous people of the Amazon, to explore the enigmatic world of M.K.Čiurlionis paintings from Lithuania, and to explore the XR Olympics. The exhibitors came from governments, civil society, private sectors, technical community, academia, youth, and the international organisations. The WSIS Forum 2023 photo contests winners and finalists photos enriched the exhibition space and the venue.

  • The United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) reiterated its commitment to the WSIS process and WSIS Action Lines implementation as well as to strengthen the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes. UNGIS members discussed the preparation of an action plan to leverage the profile of UNGIS and to contribute to other global processes on digital for development issues. Contributions in a video format by the UN Heads of UN Agencies are available on WSIS Process YouTube channel.

  • The announcement of the WSIS Prizes 2023, as an integral part of the WSIS Stocktaking, took place during the Forum with 18 winners and 72 champions celebrated globally for their efforts in implementing WSIS Action Lines and advancing the SDGs. In addition, the winning entries of the WSIS Forum Photo Contest 2023 were unveiled, depicting how ICTs are playing a vital, enabling role on the road to achieve the SDGs.

  • Announcement and awards of the WSIS Special Prizes and Activities have also contributed to the overall celebration of ICTs and its economic, social, cultural, and environmental impact around the world:

  • Networking tool: 600 participants used networking tool imeetyou@wsis for networking with onsite participants - LinkedIn.

  • The Ministerial roundtable at the WSIS Forum 2023 (13-17 March), benefited from the presence and contributions of 40 Ministers/Deputies. In an innovative format with 3 breakout rooms chaired by Ministers (Gambia, Philippines, UAE), 3 topics were discussed:

    • ICTs rescuing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development WSIS Action Lines for building back better and accelerating the achievement of the SDGs

    • World Summit Information Society Ministerial Contribution to the Global Digital Compact Consultations

    • Exploring the Potential of Space for all as a Driver of Sustainable Development

    The Ministerial roundtable of WSIS Forum 2023 concluded with the following:

    • They emphasized that harnessing the power of digital will be vital to rescuing the SDGs. ICTs are a powerful tool that should be fully leveraged towards this goal. The WSIS process provides an existing and well-functioning framework for accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.

    • They invited all stakeholders to harness the power of digital and leverage the alignment between the WSIS process and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, as well as the SDG Digital Day to accelerate the achievement the SDGs.

    • They recognized that discussions on Our Common Agenda and especially its Global Digital Compact are complementary to the WSIS Framework. Therefore, they invited all stakeholders to leverage the learnings of the implementation of the WSIS Framework and related process in their deliberations of Our Common Agenda.

    • They recognized the enormous potential that Space holds in global efforts to connect the unconnected and beyond. Thus, they invited all stakeholders to work together to ensure that Space is leveraged in a safe and sustainable manner.

  • The WSIS Forum 2023 Ambassadors roundtable discussion took place on 13 March 2023, featuring approximately 50 Ambassadors to UN in Geneva, where they deliberated on the following topics:

    • Leveraging the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the need to bring about an inclusive, prosperous, sustainable, safe and trusted digital future for all;

    • Meaningful communication and Geneva community’s role in effective implementation of UN Processes;

    • WSIS+20 review process and the future of WSIS beyond 2025 – identifying emerging trends, challenges and opportunities for implementing the WSIS Action Lines;

    • WSIS+20 review and the Global Digital Compact (GDC)

      • GDC discussions could consider ongoing multistakeholder discussions on WSIS+20. The WSIS Action Lines are particularly important as they capture emerging trends, opportunities, and challenges in the digital world beyond 2025. WSIS Forum will continue to play an important role in digitalization;

      • Global Digital Compact process must reflect the needs of developing countries to create more equitable prosperity and reduce structural inequalities. Questions on the GDC process, including its linkages with the Summit of the Future, were raised. Mexico informed that during the GDC discussions in Mexico, the imperative of closing the digital divides was discussed to produce tangible elements to be included in the future Global Digital Compact to be adopted at the Summit of the Future in 2024;

      • To avoid duplication, the WSIS+20, Global Digital Compact, and Summit of the Future should be synergized. Some highlighted strengthening the role and contribution of the Geneva community towards can contribute to Global Digital Compact discussions with Sweden, Rwanda, and the UN Tech Envoy. WSIS+20 is important to achieve the common goal of connecting humanity.

  • The WSIS Forum 2023 provided a platform for multistakeholder consultations on the WSIS+20 review. The discussions reflected on the achievements of the WSIS process in the past 20 years, its future direction, and its interconnection with other global processes, including the Global Digital Compact. Despite the progress made in the past 20 years of the WSIS process, there are still many complex challenges to overcome. It is paramount to maintain the momentum towards a digital future that is inclusive and sustainable, with technology serving the needs of everyone, leaving no one behind. All stakeholders are invited to contribute to the WSIS+20 Forum High-level Event in Geneva, from 27 to 31 May 2024, and its upcoming open consultation process, which aims to ensure wide participation in and broad ownership of the Forum. The Forum continues to collect input from stakeholders on emerging trends, challenges and opportunities on WSIS Action Lines for 20 years of their implementation and beyond.

  • The WSIS Forum 2023 also provided a platform for multistakeholder discussions on the Global Digital Compact. The co-facilitators of the GDC, H.E. Mr. Claver Gatete, Ambassador of Rwanda, and H.E. Ms. Anna Karin Eneström, Ambassador of Sweden, were present at the WSIS Forum and had the opportunity to interact and listen to the views of multistakeholders on the future on GDC and the importance of the WSIS process beyond 2025. Mr. Amandeep Singh Gill, UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Technology, was also present at the Forum.

  • For its second edition, the Mayors track at the WSIS Forum 2023, co-organized by ITU and Geneva Cities Hub, provided an opportunity to discuss how smart cities are the drivers of innovative sustainable development and enablers to respond to challenges related to climate change and achievement of the SDGs. Mayors presented concrete projects and local achievements on scalable and replicable good practices of digital solutions for climate change adaptation and energy transition. They also interacted during a multistakeholder High-Level Dialogue engaging with High-Level representatives from the private sector, UN organizations and the civil society on ways to accelerate digital transformation and building more resilient cities.

  • Along with the Forum and High-Level Track sessions, the WSIS Forum 2023 also featured a variety of social events that provide on-site participants with opportunities to network and engage in an informal setting.

  • Permanent Mission of India organised Yoga: wellbeing and mindfulness sessions with professional instructors during the WSIS Forum 2023, which provided on-site participants with breathing exercises to relax and unwind from the busy Forum schedule as well as to improve the mindfulness.

  • The virtual component of the WSIS Forum 2023 expanded the Forum’s outreach, enabling active engagement, learning, and knowledge sharing for participants globally in a digital environment.

  • ITU piloted a new application called Wordly that provides AI Interpretation, captioning and translation during the accessibility sessions at the WSIS Forum 2023 virtual workshops. This is a cloud based solution that provides these services in more than 25 languages, including the six official languages of the UN.

  • The daily video highlights and interviews are available here. For the WSIS Forum 2023 pictures and photos, please see here.



  • The WSIS Forum 2023 contributed to advancing the global digital agenda and promoting the use of ICTs for sustainable development, through the multistakeholder approach, fostering dialogue and meaningful discussions around key ICT-related issues and trends.

  • The WSIS Forum 2023 provided an open, crowdsourced, and inclusive platform for building networks and partnerships, facilitating the exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences, and promoting collective action towards achieving global goals.

  • The Forum demonstrated a strong commitment and active participation from stakeholders across all sectors, including governments, private sector, technical communities, civil society, and academia to the shared vision of the WSIS. The engagement and contributions of these stakeholders were critical in shaping the discussions and outcomes of the Forum and in driving progress towards achieving the WSIS and SDG goals.

  • The Forum proved the WSIS process and the WSIS Action Lines to be a good example of a well-functioning framework for accelerating the achievement of the SDGs and this global platform continues to evolve reflecting the scope, pace, complexity, and impact of today’s digital transformation.

  • UN WSIS Action Line Facilitators, ILO, ITC, ITU, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNDESA, UNESCO, UNEP, UPU, WHO, WMO, and UPU assessed the contribution of the Action Lines since 2003 and discussed the challenges and opportunities.

The WSIS Forum 2023 has been successful, thanks to the commitment and generous support of our partners:

  • Platinum partner: United Arab Emirates

  • Gold Plus partner: Saudi Arabia

  • Partners for Specific Activities: Japan, Huawei, IEEE

  • Contributing Partners: Bahrain, Rwanda, Switzerland, United Kingdom, ICANN, ISOC

  • Supporting partners: The General Delegation of Wallonia-Brussels, Belgium; Global Coalition On Aging; IFIP; Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)

All stakeholders are invited to participate and contribute actively to the WSIS Forum 2024, which will be branded as WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event, scheduled to take place from 27 to 31 May 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland.