L'oeil de la Genève Internationale
June 2017

Co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, in close collaboration with all UN agencies, the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) 2017 takes place at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva this week (12-16 June) and is expected to welcome more than 2,500 international participants from 150+ countries, thus representing the world's largest annual multi-stakeholder gathering of the information and communication technologies (ICT) for development community.

Serving as a key platform for discussing the role of ICTs as a means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, this year's forum will focus on sustainable development trends and inclusive ICT initiatives tackling a wide range of issues, from access and digital divide, health, education, the environment, cultural diversity, infrastructure and innovation.

The programme of WSIS Forum is completely crowdsourced by multistakeholder community, representing the government, private sector, civil society, academia and international organizations, providing 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 WSIS Forum 2017 agenda
features more than 200 specialized workshops covering a wide array of topics identified through a participatory process with WSIS stakeholders. As part of this, there will be a special stream on virtual reality (VR) for development sessions, while coders from around the world are invited to participate in a special Hack for Health focused on highlighting e-health. Some of the innovations this year is the WSIS Photo Contest which provides opportunity to the multistakeholder community to picture how ICTs are playing an enabling role in achieving the SDGs, while TEDxGeneva will bring inspirational talks about the future crossroads.

In the context of leveraging the power of ICTs in support of the SDGs on the ground, for the sixth year in a row the prestigious WSIS Prizes contest continues to recognize outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies around the globe. Based on the results of over 1.1 million online votes that were cast for 345 nominated projects, 18 winners will be awarded during this year's WSIS Forum.

The winner of WSIS Forum Photo Contest is from Mexico. "ICTs provides equal opportunities for a better future" represent an interactive session on robotics in Mexico, which aims to give children insight and develop their ICTs skills from an early age. Puntos Mexico Conectado Project seeks to bridge the digital divide in order to increase the access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and maximize the endless possibilities they have to offer. The PMC program achieves this objective by installing one center in each state of Mexico, generally located in areas that are highly marginalized with elevated poverty rates. In this way, the program benefits those who are less likely to have access to either connectivity or computers in their everyday life.

(Text provided by ITU)