World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and Inter-agency Working Group on ICT Meeting

4 Oct 2016
Bangkok, Thailand

Background

In the outcomes of the UN General Assembly overall review on the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (GA Resolution A/70/125), regional commissions are invited to coordinate the implementation of the WSIS at the regional level. In this context, the ESCAP adopted its resolution 72/10, mandating the ESCAP secretariat to support the member States and relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the WSIS action lines, and in particular, to hold a regional review of the implementation of the Summit action lines as part of the session of the Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation; and coordinate United Nations agencies and partners in the regional review and follow-up towards harmonized approaches in the implementation of the Summit.

This meeting on the regional review of the WSIS implementation will provide a platform for information sharing and collection of regional inputs on the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, in particular WSIS Action Lines, towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The vital role of ICTs as a catalyst for development is specifically recognized in the new development framework “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, which acknowledges that “the spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress and to develop knowledge societies, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, as does scientific and technological innovation across areas as diverse as medicine and energy”. To that end, the WSIS-SDGs Matrix, developed by the UN Action Line Facilitators, clearly shows the linkage between each Action Line and the 17 SDGs and provides rationale for each (www.wsis.org/sdg).

More specifically, the main purpose of this meeting is to provide a platform for stakeholders, in particular Action Line Facilitators, international and regional organizations, experts and government representatives, implementing the WSIS Action Lines at the regional level, to share good practices, foster partnerships, identify regional challenges and opportunities, while strengthening alignment between implementation of the WSIS and SDGs. This meeting will provide structured opportunities to network, learn and participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on the WSIS implementation.

In this context, this meeting will focus on sharing of best practices and flagship initiatives, such as

- Emerging trends, challenges and opportunities in building inclusive information and knowledge societies (WSIS Action Line Facilitators)
- Examples of national sustainable development plans integrating the ICT components and opportunities for UNDAF (UN and government experts)
- Sharing of best practices (WSIS Prize Winners from the region) and flagship initiatives (Relevant stakeholders)
- Multi-stakeholder discussion on strengthening implementation of WSIS Action Lines to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs

This meeting will also serve as the Inter-agency Working Group on ICT, thereby facilitating information sharing among the WSIS Action Line Facilitators at the regional level. This meeting will be supported by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP, playing leading facilitating role in the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action (para 109 of the Tunis Agenda), UNESCAP (UN Regional Commission) ; and other UN Agencies UN agencies playing a leading facilitating role in the implementation of the WSIS Action lines.

The outcomes of this meeting will serve as inputs to the WSIS Forum (12-16 June 2017, Geneva, Switzerland) and its open consultation process, WSIS Stocktaking, WSIS Prizes, thereby bringing to forefront emerging trends, opportunities and challenges from the regional layer in a multi-stakeholder format. Regional good practices shared will be highlighted at the global level within the framework of the official WSIS Stocktaking process. In addition, outcomes of the meeting will be reported to the ESCAP Committee and Commission sessions.

Objectives of the meeting:

- Building regional capacity on the WSIS implementation review process and its alignment with 2030 Agenda:
- Building awareness on the enabling role of ICTs in sustainable development and programming of future UNDAFs
- Regional review of the WSIS action lines implementation in accordance with ESCAP resolution 72/10
- Interagency collaboration on ICT for sharing of information and best practices from national, regional and global experiences including for the WSIS Prize Winner 2017.
- Contributing as the regional formal submission to the WSIS Forum 2017 Open Consultation Process by bringing the regional trends, challenges and opportunities to the global dialogue on the WSIS implementation.