ICT4SDG | SDG2
March 19, 2018

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2018 kicks off in Geneva

By ITU News

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2018 kicked off today with a range of compelling sessions on everything from building vibrant ICT-centric ecosystems to disaster risk reduction to machine learning for 5G systems.

More than 2,500 information and communication technology (ICT) experts from around the globe have assembled at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to advance technological solutions to meet the challenges of sustainable development.

This year’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum marks 15 years since the first summit held in Geneva, demonstrating that the foundations of a “just and equal information society” set by the Geneva Plan of Action in 2003 are still crucial to all WSIS stakeholders.

Since then, the WSIS forum has grown to become the leading ICT for development event in the world.

“[The WSIS Forum] is our common platform to review the achievements of [information and communication technology] developments, to discuss the challenges and opportunities, to showcase innovation and to share best practices,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

With diverse stakeholders from around the world, the WSIS Forum brings together global commitments to create and maintain an information society that brings benefits to everyone, everywhere. And this year includes increased focus on how to leverage the power of ICTs to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s range of engaging Forum sessions and more than 200 specialized workshops and interactive exhibitions, prizes and a new track focused on Youth in ICTs, proves that as ICTs evolve, so will the processes that shape them.

Innovation Track @ WSIS Forum

This year’s Innovation Track @ WSIS Forum, Accelerating Digital Transformation: Building Vibrant ICT Centric Innovation Ecosystems, provides a unique opportunity for high-level dialogue, cooperation and partnership building. The full-day session identified good practices for supporting innovation ecosystems and funding policy for high impact, sustainable ICT projects.

View the Live Webcast here. 

Youth in ICTs

In a new track, the WSIS Forum is promoting the ideals and principles of the United Nations among youth participants including a special track for students and young people aged 18-35 to explore how ICTs can help achieve the SDGs.

In the Cloud Café, youth will participate in an exchange of knowledge with subject-area experts, to advance ways that youth can help advance the work of the UN. In a session, Vloggers for SDGs, participants will discuss how YouTube has changed the way development organizations communicate with the public – hint the rise of video blogging (Vlogging).

And the second-annual global Hackathon, the #HackAgainstHunger organized by ITU, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Impact Hub, brought together more than 75 coders, food and agriculture experts and innovators to develop new ICT solutions to end world hunger.

WSIS Prizes and Champions

The WSIS Prizes 2018 winners and champions will be announced during WSIS Forum 2018. The WSIS Prizes recognize outstanding projects that have proven successful in leveraging the power of ICTs in support of the SDGs. This year, approximately one million online votes were cast for the 492 projects nominated out of 685 submitted.  The WSIS Champions will form a key part of our global and grassroots community engaged in online and community advocacy.

Exhibition

Attendees at WSIS will have the chance to view and interact with “ICT Solutions for SDGs” including drones for social development, robotics, artificial intelligence – and virtual reality experiences. A Photo Contest Exhibit and TEDxGeneva event are also part of the full schedule of events.

Celebrating ingenuity, these innovative projects you are about to discover showcase ICT solutions in areas as diverse and critical as the internet of things for development, e-agriculture, information accessibility, cybersecurity, VR and education, autonomous robots, gender empowerment, and the implementation of WSIS Action Lines towards the SDGs.

15 years of impact

WSIS is celebrating 15 years of impact, going back to the first WSIS meeting in 2003 when delegates from 175 countries met in Geneva to unite to build a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented information society.

This first UN summit open to all identified 11 concrete Action Lines in the Geneva Plan of Action.

WATCH THE VIDEO to learn more about the origins of WSIS.

To learn more about the WSIS 2018 and its lineup of compelling sessions and top leaders in ICT for development — or to register, or participate from wherever you are in the world, please visit the WSIS Forum 2018 website.

Participation in WSIS Forum 2018 is free and open to all, though advance registration is required for security purposes. Please register here: bit.ly/WSIS-2018-Register.

The full WSIS Forum 2018 Agenda available here 

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ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2018 kicks off in Geneva

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