INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION: World Summit on the Information Society 10-year review sets vision for post-2015 development agenda
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Geneva -- More than 1600 participants including around 100 Government Ministers and leaders from international organizations, from business, civil society and academia are meeting in Geneva this week to review progress on the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) over the last ten years and to set priorities for the post-2015 development agenda.
"Information and communication technologies have long been recognized as key enablers for bridging the digital divide and achieving the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental balance and social inclusion," said Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. "We must do everything in our power to increase access to ICTs and broadband connectivity across the world, including reaching people in remote areas, land-locked countries, small island developing states and the least developed countries. This will empower millions of people and enable us to meet our development goals in the post-2015 era."
With the rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the mainstreaming of ICTs into everyday life, the link between these technologies and human development has become increasingly important. It has therefore become necessary to consider the development of an inclusive information society in the broader context of the post-2015 development agenda, and this has been outlined in the WSIS+10 Vision for WSIS Beyond 2015 document, which will be endorsed today.
"The WSIS+10 Outcome Documents will provide a set of fresh priorities for joint action oriented towards the further development of the global ICT ecosystem, while focusing on the power of ICTs in facilitating development," noted ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Tour at a Press conference today. "We are now paving the way for ICTs to contribute productively in achieving the objectives of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda."
The need to protect and reinforce human rights, both online and offline, and expanding access to ICTs to all, particularly to vulnerable and marginalized people has been emphasized along with the development and availability of simplified devices to facilitate digital inclusion.
Capacity building to keep pace with advancing technology, multilingualism in the use of ICTs, preserving cultural heritage in the digital age and addressing environmental challenges with green ICTs are considered priorities along with promoting a digital economy and e-commerce.
Governments are encouraged to implement appropriate national strategies and policies for the advancement of ICTs as enablers for social and economic development and to facilitate enabling regulatory, legal and investment environments to facilitate ICT for Development.
Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs, notably to protect personal data and privacy and to strengthen the security and robustness of networks has been emphasized along with enhancing national and regional capacity to address cybersecurity challenges by encouraging a culture of responsibility and joint efforts of all involved parties. Further strengthening cooperation between all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels is required, the WSIS+10 Vision document notes.
The WSIS+10 Statement on Implementation of WSIS Outcomes reviews progress over the past ten years. The Statement reaffirmed the importance of ICTs in the further development of the information society, stimulating innovations, empowering different groups of people in developed and developing countries, providing access to information, and fostering economic and social growth. It invites UN system organizations and stakeholders to take full advantage of ICTs in addressing the development challenges of the 21st century and to recognize them as cross-cutting enablers for achieving the three pillars of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental balance and social inclusion.
The Final WSIS Targets Review was launched on 10 June indicating significant progress in ICT use, access and infrastructure development but with mixed results in bridging the digital divide.
The WSIS Stocktaking Report 2014 draws attention to key achievements by different stakeholders worldwide. WSIS Success Stories provides a key reference point to WSIS projects which were awarded the 2014 WSIS Project Prizes.
The World Summit on the Information Society was held in two phases, in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. The WSIS+10 High-level Event has been coordinated and organized by ITU, and co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD, and UNDP.
UN Agencies FAO, ILO, ITC, UNDESA, UNODC, UPU, UN Women, WMO, WHO, WFP, WIPO and the UN Regional Commissions also played a key facilitating role. The WSIS High-level Event was supported by governments and the private sector, including the United Arab Emirates and Intel (as Strategic partners) as well as Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland along with Cte d'Ivoire, Tunisia, IFIP, ISOC, and ICANN.
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