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WSIS Forum Considers Role of ICTs in Achieving the MDGs

18 May 2012: The 2012 World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS Forum 2012) was held to provide a platform for discussions of how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can address global challenges, such as climate change, and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), WSIS Forum 2012 was held from 14-18 May 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland. It aimed to provide opportunities for networking, learning and participating in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on implementation of the WSIS process.

The Forum included high-level dialogues, interactive sessions, country and thematic sessions, knowledge exchanges, exhibitions and social networking events. Recognizing the role of ICTs in creating a sustainable world and driving the transition to a low-carbon economy, the high-level opening session of the Forum was held on the theme, “ICT for Sustainable Development: WSIS beyond 2015” and provided participants the opportunity to network, learn and share towards the WSIS process beyond 2015.

Speaking at the opening, Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General highlighted the role of ICTs in addressing the sustainable development challenge, stressing how the discussions and recommendations during the Forum could contribute to the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The Forum launched the WSIS Stocktaking Report, which summarizes the ongoing WSIS Stocktaking process, and among other things, provides a detailed look at the role of ICTs in the transition towards a green economy, and also contains related on sustainable development, climate change and environmental challenges in the future. In addition, the Forum's high-level dialogues focused on: governance of cyberspace and cyberpeace; advancing the green agenda; women and girls in ICT; and ICTs for post-conflict reconstruction. During the thematic workshops, participants discussed: climate change monitoring and disaster risk reduction (DRR); enhancing public/private cooperation for sustainable growth; the role of ICTs in poverty eradication; strategic uses of ICTs for development; girls in ICT; social networks, information and power; and freedom of expression and the Internet. [WSIS Forum 2012 Website] [WSIS Forum 2012 Outcome Document] [UN Press Release] [Publication: Report on the WSIS Stocktaking 2012]