NTRA participated last week at the WSIS Forum 2017 that took place in Geneva, Switzerland and organized by ITU in cooperation with several UN agencies. The Forum overviews programs and activities of organizations mandated with the implementation of the Action Lines of WSIS, the Summit held in 2003 and 2005 as its outcomes were reviewed in 2015. The Forum represents a unique opportunity for its comprehensive review of joint projects across organizations and countries around the globe.
The World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) 2017 represents the world's largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. This global multi-stakeholder platform facilitates the implementation of WSIS Action Lines for advancing sustainable development. It provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving Information and Knowledge Societies.
The Forum is co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, in close collaboration with all WSIS Action Line co-/facilitators and other UN organizations (the International Labor Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, e United Nations Environment Program, the Universal Postal Union, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the United Nations Regional Commissions).
The Forum comes in follow up to the outcomes of the UN General Assembly Overall Review of the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes (Res. A/70/125) and with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Res. A/70/1). In fact, the WSIS Forum is constantly evolving and strengthening the alignment between the WSIS Action Lines and the Sustainable Development Goals. The WSIS Forum will therefore serve as a key forum for discussing the role of ICTs as a means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, with due regard to the global mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The WSIS Forum builds upon the outcomes of the UN General Assembly Overall Review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes (UNGA Resolution 70/125), which recognized the necessity of holding this Forum on an annual basis and called for a close alignment between WSIS and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) processes.
The Forum has built upon two main tracks, the High-Level Track (by high-ranking officials of the WSIS Stakeholder community, representing the Government, Private Sector, Civil Society and consisted of the opening segment, interactive policy dialogues, ministerial round table, and a high-level networking program and a prize ceremony) and the Forum Track that gave the attendees a series of action line meetings, thematic workshops and knowledge exchanges.
It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) won the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) prize— for the second consecutive year— for Egypt’s National Program for ICT Accessibility in Education for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), implemented by MCIT nationwide.
Egypt’s participation this year aims at shedding more light on the cross-cutting targets and action lines across both the international Sustainable Development Agenda and the WSIS Action Lines, with the objective of further developing coordination across various organizations and countries in these areas, opening way to creating more effective partnerships, and directing international organizations resources in a way that reflects countries’ priorities, particularly those of developing countries.
Furthermore, several UN organizations are conducting numerous activities on the sidelines of the WSIS forum, most importantly the preparatory meeting of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF), hosted later this year by the government of Switzerland. It should be noted in this respect that the Government of Egypt hosted the fourth version of the IGF in 2009 in Sharm el-Sheikh, and is a permanent member of the UN Secretary General’s international Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group since 2006.