Celebrating the winners of the 2021 WSIS Prizes
Sustainable development requires a fine balance between different kinds of sustainability. Alongside key climate and environmental concerns and a host of related socio-economic factors, the other kind of sustainability – related to business and investment – also matters.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes aim to recognize this timely convergence of business, social and environmental sustainability.
As we mark the 10th anniversary of these key annual awards, I had the great pleasure to congratulate all 18 winners of the 2021 WSIS Prizes contest.
From free nation-wide WiFi programmes to national financial inclusion initiatives, the winning projects were globally recognized with more than 1.3 million online votes.
I was especially heartened to see innovative digital television and radio tools, capacity-building programs fostering online education and cybersecurity, and other ICT applications enabling e-government, e-health, and e-business services.
The WSIS Prizes have focused on one goal since their launch a decade ago: to highlight examples of beneficial and sustainable ICT use for communities everywhere to replicate. Projects that demonstrate how ICTs can accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strengthen international cooperation are especially needed as the world responds to and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A growing communityWithin our own community dedicated to promoting the benefits of ICTs, we have seen more projects, promotional activities, and higher overall engagement each year.
I am also pleased to see the good use of the WSIS Stocktaking database, which was introduced in 2004 and now has more than 14,000 entries. The database has helped inform evidence-based policy by providing replicable and sustainable ICT solutions.
This year, 1,260 ICT-related projects were submitted to the WSIS Prizes contest, bringing the grand total to over 4,000 submissions since 2012.
I also commend this year’s 72 champions, the 360 nominees, and all those who have shared projects with the global ICT development community.
Every year, the WSIS Prizes Champions represent the top five most voted-for projects under the WSIS Action Lines. I am confident each of you will be instrumental change-makers in achieving the SDGs during this Decade of Action!
Celebrating positive ICT impactThe WSIS Forum represents the world's largest annual gathering of the ICT for development community. This year’s virtual format extended the reach of WSIS to an even wider community, giving our champions and winners a larger audience with whom to share their stories.
Their impactful ICT solutions, along with the packed Forum agenda, have brought us together to celebrate the power of technology to make a positive difference in the world.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) remains committed to the annual WSIS Stocktaking and Prizes, and to implementing the WSIS goals beyond 2021.
I also invite all our awardees to celebrate their remarkable success back home with their local and regional communities.
Together, let us keep building on this momentum to make the world safer, more sustainable, and more connected – a world where no one is left behind and ICT development opportunities have no bounds.