Background

Noting that preparations had begun for a General Assembly High-level Event on the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in December next year, the Secretary-General invited ITU and UN/DESA to provide comments on activities on this topic.

Discussion

Mr. Touré began his remarks by noting that a WSIS+10 High-Level event took place in Geneva in June 2014, with the objective of providing the necessary vision for the way forward beyond 2015 and to ensure that ICTs remain high on the political agenda over the next decade. Two consensus documents, developed using an open and inclusive preparatory process called the WSIS+10 Multi-stakeholder Preparatory Platform, emerged from the event; “WSIS+10 Statement on Implementation of WSIS Outcomes” and “WSIS+10 Vision for WSIS Beyond 2015”.  In addition, ITU also informed the CEB that a comprehensive study, “Final WSIS Targets Review: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward”, had been launched, which evaluates the progress in achieving the targets established at the WSIS.

Mr. Touré also noted that ITU had recently concluded its 19th Plenipotentiary Conference, hosted by the Republic of Korea. During the conference, which brings together ITU’s 193 Member States and 700 sector members, the WSIS+10 outcome documents had been endorsed and ITU had been called upon to continue WSIS-related activities. In addition, the conference had adopted the “Connect 2020” framework, which includes a set of global ICT goals and targets, and invites Member States to identify institutional linkages between ‘WSIS beyond 2015’ and the ‘Post 2015 Development Agenda’. He underscored the need to ensure that these two important global agendas come together.

In concluding his remarks, Mr. Touré encouraged heads of other UN Agencies, particularly those facilitating WSIS Action Lines, to pursue similar activities, so that a fully-measurable framework for the implementation of WSIS Action Lines could be established. He noted that much progress had been made the 2003 and 2005 phases of WSIS, but that more was needed to make the world a better place for all, as we usher in the global knowledge society.

The USG of DESA, Mr. Hongbo Wu, thanked the ITU Secretary-General for his comprehensive overview on the WSIS+10 activities and noted the close working relationship between ITU and UN/DESA on this issue. Mr. Wu provided CEB with an overview of the future of WSIS, noting that the WSIS-related General Assembly resolution of 31 July 2014  included four components; an intergovernmental preparatory process; a multi-stakeholder consultation process; the appointment by the President of the General Assembly of two co-facilitators in June 2015; and a two-day high-level meeting of the General Assembly. The process will result in an inter-governmentally-agreed outcome document.

Mr. Wu noted that, while the resolution provided a roadmap for the next steps for a WSIS review, the process and outcome would benefit from a system-wide common vision on the future of the information society. He suggested that CEB, under the leadership of the Secretary-General, come together to support Member States and multi-stakeholder communities to define the future of information society. He also mentioned that the outcome of WSIS+10 could be an important part of the legacy of the Secretary-General. In concluding his remarks, Mr. Wu thanked Mr. Touré for his contributions and leadership.

Action

The Secretary-General thanked both Mr. Touré and Mr. Wu for their informative briefing, agreed that the system was in a position to contribute to the WSIS+10 process and in that regard would welcome and be guided by recommendations presented ITU and DESA.