The Minister of communication and digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim pantami
The Minister of communication and digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim pantami

WSIS FORUM 2022: Honour for Nigeria’s Digital Economy Progress
By Gyem Fom

TECHDIGEST – The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a one-of-a-kind two-phase United Nations (UN) summit. It was established to create an evolving multi-stakeholder platform aimed at addressing issues raised by information and communication technologies (ICTs) through a structured and inclusive approach at the national, regional, and international levels.

The WSIS aims to achieve a shared vision, desire, and commitment to create a people-centered, inclusive, and development-oriented Information Society in which everyone can produce, access, use, and share information.

According to United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 56/183 (21 December 2001), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) would be held in two phases.

The first phase was held in Geneva from December 10 to 12, 2003, while the second phase was held in Tunis from November 16 to 18, 2005.

READ ALSO: ITU Appoints Pantami To Lead World Summit On Information Society Forum 2022

In 2003, there were 11,000 participants representing 175 countries, while in 2005, there were more than 19,000 participants representing 174 countries.

The WSIS Forum 2022 serves as a key forum for discussing the role of ICTs as a means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, with due regard to the global mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

A cluster of WSIS-related events has been held in Geneva every year since 2005, following paragraphs 109 and 110 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.

The WSIS Forum was renamed in 2009 after a collection of WSIS-related activities.

With time, the WSIS Forum has proven to be an effective mechanism for multi-stakeholder implementation of WSIS Action Lines and cross-cutting commitments on gender equality, information exchange, knowledge creation, and best practice sharing, and it continues to assist in the development of multi-stakeholder and public-private partnerships to achieve sustainable development goals.

Every year, the ITU hosts WSIS Forums, which are co-organized by the ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD, and UNDP in close cooperation with all WSIS Action Line Facilitators/Co-Facilitators (UNDESA, FAO, UNEP, WHO, UN Women, WIPO, WFP, ILO, WMO, UN, ITC, UPU, UNODC, and UN Regional Commissions)

The WSIS Forum will be held yearly through 2025 and its process must align with that of the SDGs, according to the UNGA’s 2015 Overall Review.

This year, the WSIS Forum began on March 15 in a virtual format, with the final week taking place at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from 30 May to 3 June 2022, with enhanced remote participation, under the theme ”ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion, and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs”.

Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has been named Chairman of the WSIS Forum 2022 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

A letter from the ITU Secretary-General to the Minister stated that he was appointed “in light of his overall commitment to Information and Knowledge Societies and the active role he has played in the WSIS Process”.

Pantami’s appointment has given Nigeria, and indeed the African continent, the unique role of managing the activities of the WSIS in its 20th year. The world has seen the huge achievements made by Nigeria’s digital economy under the leadership of the Minister. This has been attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari’s unwavering support for the industry.

The WSIS Forum programme is entirely crowdsourced with governments, civil society, the commercial sector, academia, the technical community, and international organisations all participating in the planning process to promote broad ownership and continuous improvement of the Forum.

The WSIS Agenda and Programmes are based on official proposals received during the WSIS Forum 2022 Open Consultation Process on Shaping the Themes and Format.

Fom Gyem writes from Wuye District Abuja
[email protected]

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