World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

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Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times

The COVID-19 crisis has not only highlighted the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for continued functioning of societies but has also brought to the fore the startling digital inequalities between and within countries.

ITU Members have stepped up and engaged in activities that have proven essential in saving lives and sustaining economies. They have demonstrated their remarkable resilience in the face of challenging times.

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of accelerating digital transformation and advancing the goals and targets of the Connect 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.

WTISD 2021 is an opportunity for ITU membership to continue to push for digital transformation by promoting national strategies on ICT development, smart policies to encourage investments, cooperation, and partnership. ITU invites you to actively participate in commemorating the theme of WTISD 2021, “Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times”, throughout the year with national, regional, and international initiatives to accelerate digital transformation.

Background

The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

History

World Information Society Day

World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973 as Resolution 46.

World Telecommunication Day

In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The updated Resolution 68 invites Member States and Sector Members to celebrate the day annually by organizing appropriate national programmes with a view to:

  • stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council
  • debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society
  • formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership

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