Table of Contents

  • The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which was held in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005, drew up an action plan to bridge the digital divide and build an inclusive, people-oriented information society. World leaders committed themselves to regularly review and follow up progress in implementing the action lines outlined in the WSIS Outcomes.

  • The 2016 edition of the WSIS Stocktaking Report is the continuation of the WSIS Stocktaking Report series. This eighth edition in the series reflects around 350 activities relating to ICTs for development, submitted to the WSIS Stocktaking Platform for the period March 2015-March 2016, each one highlighting the efforts deployed by stakeholders involved in implementation of the SDGs. The eighth edition offers a considerable number of examples of emerging trends in actions designed to decrease the digital divide and build an inclusive information society. The report is based on the multistakeholder approach, including input from stakeholders from all over the world responding to ITU’s official call in 2015 for stocktaking updates and new entries. The inputs from WSIS action line facilitators and co-facilitators also contributed to the present report.

  • It is important to stress here that ITU has been contributing enormously to WSIS implementation and follow-up from 2005 to the present.

  • The effective participation of governments and all stakeholders is vital in developing the information society, an endeavour which requires cooperation and partnerships among all such parties. This action line is intended to promote the development of national e-strategies, including the necessary human capacity building, taking into account different national circumstances.

  • As stated in the Geneva Plan of Action, ICT infrastructure plays an important role in achieving the WSIS objectives and SDGs. This chapter illustrates some of the initiatives that ITU participated in and launched of relevance to this category.

  • ITU-D held numerous workshops, conferences and symposia, making materials widely available free-of-charge on the web. In addition, a number of information-rich resources have been made available including web-based information portals and practical ICT toolkits, and online databases have been launched and/or existing resources updated.

  • Capacity building and ICT literacy are essential for building an inclusive information society.

  • Confidence and security play an essential role in the information society. Governments, in cooperation with the private sector, are working to prevent, detect and respond to cyberthreats and misuse of ICTs by: developing guidelines that take into account ongoing efforts in these areas; considering legislation that allows for effective investigation and prosecution of misuse; promoting effective mutual assistance efforts; strengthening institutional support at the international level for preventing, detecting and recovering from such incidents; and encouraging education and raising awareness. Thus, the projects reported on in this chapter showcase the ways in which stakeholders are contributing on an ongoing basis to building confidence and security in the use of ICTs.

  • Governments should foster a supportive, transparent, pro-competitive and predictable policy, legal and regulatory framework that provides the appropriate incentives to investment and community development in the information society.

  • ICT applications can support sustainable development in different sectors such as public administration, business, education and training, health, employment, environment, agriculture and science within the framework of national strategies. This chapter illustrates how ICT applications can maximize social and economic benefits for society.

  • More than 50 per cent of the approximately 7 000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 per cent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 per cent of the world's population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and fewer than a hundred are used in the digital world. ICTs are playing the role of enabler for preserving cultural and linguistic diversity thanks to web- and mobile-based solutions.

  • This category encourages the media - print and broadcast, as well as new media - to continue to play an important role in the information society, through the development of domestic legislation that guarantees the independence and plurality of the media. Additionally, it takes appropriate measures - consistent with freedom of expression - to combat illegal and harmful media content, and seeks to encourage media professionals in developed countries to establish partnerships and networks with the media in developing countries, especially in the field of training.

  • The information society should be subject to universally held values, promote the common good and prevent abusive uses of ICTs. It takes steps to promote respect for peace and to uphold the fundamental values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, shared responsibility and respect for nature. All stakeholders should increase their awareness of the ethical dimension of their use of ICTs and all actors in the information society should promote the common good, protect privacy and personal data and take appropriate actions and preventive measures, as determined by law, against abusive uses of ICTs such as illegal and other acts motivated by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, hatred, violence, all forms of child abuse, including pedophilia and child pornography, and trafficking in, and exploitation of, human beings. Lastly, this category focuses on inviting relevant stakeholders, especially academia, to continue research on the ethical dimensions of ICTs.

  • International cooperation among all stakeholders is vital to the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action and needs to be strengthened with a view to promoting universal access and bridging the digital divide, inter alia by providing suitable means of implementation. Governments of developing countries should raise the relative priority of ICT projects in requests for international cooperation and assistance with infrastructure development projects from developed countries and international financial organizations. Within the context of the UN Global Compact, and building upon the United Nations Millennium Declaration, it is important to build on and accelerate public/private partnerships, focusing on the use of ICTs in development. This action line also invites international and regional organizations to mainstream ICTs in their work programmes and assist all levels of developing countries in becoming involved in the preparation and implementation of national action plans to support the fulfilment of the goals indicated in the Declaration of Principles and in the Geneva Plan of Action, taking into account the importance of regional initiatives.

  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) remains committed to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process, and to implementation of the WSIS goals beyond 2016. ITU recognizes and highly appreciates the extremely valuable contributions made by stakeholders to enable the continuation of WSIS monitoring and reporting. There can be no doubt whatsoever that, in today’s fast-moving world, innovation and efficiency are vital to success. Accordingly, the WSIS Stocktaking 2016 Report shares with you the most recent updates and success stories in the WSIS stocktaking process.