The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that the spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies. ICTs have become an essential part of long-term social and economic development, and new online services, such as e-health, e-government, and e-education, have enlightened people’s lives. For users, there is an ever-expanding variety of services and applications to serve their information, communication and entertainment needs. All the above relies on strong, resilient, available, secure and trustworthy communications infrastructure and services. Promoting access to ICTs is ITU's core mandate, and we truly believe in the need to foster greater access for everybody.
It is recognized that the Information and Communication Infrastructure is indispensable in expediting Broadband Access to new technologies by developing countries and countries with economies in transition on a non-discriminatory basis. We celebrate the fact that between 2000-2015, global Internet penetration grew 7 fold from 6.5% to 43%. ITU figures show that over three billion people are now online. However, statistics show that much more needs to be done. (. However, 4 billion people from developing countries remain offline, representing 2/3 of the population in these countries) Internet use continues to grow steadily, through fixed and especially through the rapid adoption of mobile broadband, and the increased adoption of smartphones around the world, reaching a global average 6.6 percent growth in 2014. However, it is also true that the Internet’s worldwide penetration is still only 40%. Rural and remote areas remain largely unconnected to this essential public asset as they face challenges in attracting private sector investment. The absence of regional connectivity between states with access to submarine cables and landlocked countries, and the scarcity of cross-border backbone links is causing gaps in access. It’s also important to remember that stakeholders in emerging economies are equally, if not more, at risk from cyberthreats, as the remaining billions of Internet users will primarily come from developing and least developed countries. While it is true that infrastructure roll-out is essential, targeted policies and effective regulations remain key to make broadband even more secure and to make roll-out more affordable by reducing the cost of deploying ICT networks while creating an enabling environment that encourage trust, security, investment and growth. Regulators and policy makers need to keep pace with and carry out a delicate balancing act between creating the right incentives and enforcing necessary rules.
This session will draw from the WSIS Action Lines and SDG matrix a new tool developed by a number of United Nations agencies and coordinated by the ITU to map how ICTs may contribute to the implementation of the new SDGs. This Matrix serves as an easy reference for stakeholders engaged in shaping the future of both, the SDGs and the WSIS processes beyond 2015 (www.wsis.org/sdgs
This session will provide an opportunity to learn more about the key role played by the ITU in evolution of an outcome oriented WSIS Process corresponding of the fast paced information and knowledge society and to the real needs of the WSIS multistakeholder community. The WSIS Process includes the implementation of the Action lines, WSIS Forum, WSIS Stocktaking, WSIS Project Prize, UNGIS and Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
As initiator and organizer of the WSIS, the first ever multistakholder UN summit held in two phases, Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has been playing an important lead role in the implementation and annual follow-up of the WSIS outcomes.
ITU is the sole Facilitator of Action Lines C2 (Information and communication infrastructure) and C5 (Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs); upon the UNDP’s request the ITU accepted to play the role of the Facilitator of Action Line C6 (Enabling Environment), and is actively engaged in the implementation of Action Lines C1, C3, C4, C7 and C11 as co facilitator and partner for C8 and C9.
Each year during the WSIS Forum, the activities and projects of the Action Lines are reported and future activities are discussed in a multistakeholder format, with stakeholders from across the sectors participating actively. In order to ensure the appropriate coordination of multistakeholder implementation activities and continuing to evolve to the needs of the information society, the Annual WSIS Action Line Facilitators Meeting (Tunis Agenda, Para 109), is also held as an integral component of the WSIS Forum.
The session will begin with a short 3 minute video on ITUs activities, in particular in the area of C2, C5 and C6.
Mr Malcom Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU
H.E. Ms Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology, PAKISTAN
- H.E. Ms Magdalena Gaj, President of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), POLAND; Chairman of WSIS Forum 2015
- H.E. Mr Noomane Fehri, Minister of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy, TUNISIA
- H.E. Mr Patrick Nyirishema, Director General , Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), RWANDA (tbc)
- Mr Cyril Ritchie, President, CoNGO
- Mr Giacomo Mazzone, Head of Institutional and Members Relations, EUROPEAN BROADCASTING UNION
- Mr Jovan Kurbalija, Director, DIPLOFOUNDATION & Head, GENEVA INTERNET PLATFORM
- Dr Robert Pepper, Vice President, Global Technology Policy, CISCO (tbc)