WSIS Forum 2016 © UNESCO

WSIS Forum 2017

 The next WSIS Forum will take place from 12 to 16 June 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.

As the programme of the WSIS Forum is entirely crowdsourced –the first event of its kind-, an Open Consultation Process has begun on the themes and format of the upcoming Forum. This process is designed to be inclusive and engage a wide variety of stakeholders from all areas of society. As part of this Open Consultation Process, a second meeting is due to take place on 14 February 2017. The deadline for submissions is 20 February and a final review meeting will be held on 14 March 2017. The final brief will be on 10 May 2017.

Contribute to the Open Consultation Process through online discussion on WSIS Knowledge Communities here.

  • For more information on the WSIS Forum and the Open Consultation Process, visit the official website

WSIS+10 AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and related targets were launched in 2015 as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals. It is a comprehensive agenda covering economic, social, and environmental change that advocates a transformational approach to development, serving as an international development framework as well as a point of reference for shaping national development strategies.

Agenda 2030 is innovative in recognising the growing importance of science and technology for furthering development. Paragraph 15 of Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development specifically mentions and acknowledges the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for development:

"The spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies"

ICTs have an important and valuable role to play in sustainable development. The implementation of WSIS Action Lines, which are organised thematically along areas of activity in which ICTs are harnessed for development, will therefore contribute directly to achieving the SDGs. 

WSIS Forum 2016

The last WSIS Forum took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2 to 6 May 2016. After the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the overall WSIS+10 Review by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, UNESCO -as a co-organizer- put forward ground-breaking discussions in innovative formats at the world’s largest annual gathering of the “ICT for development” community. The WSIS Forum brought together some 1800 participants, including 60 (vice-)ministers and representatives from the private sector, civil society, technical community and intergovernmental organizations. 

Key inputs to the WSIS+10 Review process at the UNGA

  • Outcome document of the CONNECTing the Dots Conference – Member States Requested UNESCO’s Director-General at the 196th session of the  Executive Board (decision 196 EX/SR.6) “to forward the outcome document of the “CONNECTing The Dots: Options for Future Action” Conference as a non-binding input to the post-2015 development agenda, the United Nations General Assembly World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) overall review process, and the high-level meeting of the General Assembly established by its resolution 68/302.”

The second WSIS+10 Review event, hosted by ITU in 2014, and its Outcome Documents - WSIS+10, Geneva 2014 is also a key input, to which UNESCO contributed.

INTERNET GOVERNANCE

Internet governance involves multiple stakeholders including government, the private sector, civil society, and the technical community developing and applying shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and activities that shape the use of the Internet. Internet Governance is an issue of high priority for UNESCO, and thus the organisation participates actively in the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

  • The next Internet Governance Forum on “Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth” will take place from 5 to 9 December 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Find out more here

BROADBAND COMMISSION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development was launched by ITU and UNESCO at the WSIS Forum 2010 in Geneva, with the aim of defining strategies for accelerating global broadband rollout and assess ways in which broadband networks could improve the delivery of various social services such as healthcare and education.

The next Broadband Commission Meeting will take place from 15 to 17 March 2017 in Hong Kong, China. 

  • Find out more about the Broadband Commission here. 

UNESCO and WSIS Action Lines

The Geneva Plan of Action, which was agreed at the first WSIS Summit in 2003, identified eighteen areas of activity in which governments, civil society entities, businesses and international organizations could work together to achieve the potential of ICTs for development.

UNESCO is responsible for six of Action Lines as listed below: