[Read more session reports from WSIS Forum 2017]
Organised annually by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), this interactive session aims to share information and review the WSIS Stocktaking process and WSIS Prizes process to help achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Mr Houlin Zhao (ITU Secretary-General) shared an overview of the WSIS Stocktaking process and WSIS Prizes 2017, highlighting that this ninth edition of WSIS Stocktaking has set a new record of global multistakeholder engagement in the implementation of WSIS Action Lines for SDGs, with more than 600 project submissions. Zhao urged all stakeholders to participate in the WSIS Forum and share their comments to improve the process.
Ms Margaret Bernard (Senior Lecturer, Computer Science Department of Computing and Information Technology, University of the West Indies) reiterated the importance of knowing the SDGs and shared information about the AgriNeTT, an e-agriculture project, which was the WSIS 2016 champion.
She discussed the launch of the ICT4SDG App and the various features currently available, including the SDGs information page, a matrix depicting the links between the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs, and the work done so far.
Mr Vladmir Stankovic (WSIS Policy Analyst, Strategic Planning and Membership Department, ITU) said that the ICT4SDG app just launched and will soon be having more updates and features, including a WSIS application on trade, best practices followed across the globe on SDGs, and links between the WSIS forum and process. He added that they were exploring how the WSIS stocktaking platform can be used in the app. Stankovic mentioned that this app is aimed to work as a social media tool to aid people working on ICTs and SDGs.
Possible features to be added to the app, he shared, could be news and information about the WSIS, and a WSIS heatmap. Furthermore, they want to make the application available in different languages.
While stocktaking, Stankovic pointed out that the participation by stakeholders in the process is growing, saying that this year 60 000 new people voted and 1.1 million total votes were cast; out of 467 projects submitted, 345 ICT stories were selected. He shared with the participants that all the 90 projects (72 champions and 18 winners) selected showed the link between the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs. In terms of submissions, Stankovic shared that 14% submissions were from Africa, 13% from Americas, 22% from the Arab region, 25% from Asia Pacific Region, 11% from CIS, and 12% from Europe. In terms of sectors, 41% submissions were from government, 22% from businesses, 16% from civil society, 6% from international organisations, and 13% from other entities. The reports he shared were available in the ITU bookshop.
The key highlights of the year Stankovic shared were the launch of the WSIS SDG application, introducing of the heatmap, regional reporting, and looking for feedback to improving the submissions and reviewing of this year, and reaching out to new communities. He shared that next year they would encourage communities to submit short reviews of their projects. He added that they are keen to make the process more community friendly and interactive, and are seeking input to improve engagement and contribution from the community.
Stankovic shared that the translation of content is an issue and encouraged people to volunteer for it.
For capacity building and publicity, he shared information from the initiatives undertaken by the WSIS Forum, such as blog stories highlighted on their website, videos on their YouTube channel, photo contests, as well as the WSIS Forum's social media platform initiative. He encouraged community members to share information about WSIS stocktaking from their websites.
Suggestions were made to improve outreach about the WSIS prizes amongst the local community.
There was a suggestion to maximise outreach of the WSIS events in an ongoing manner, including during the preparation stage, by being more interactive in collecting information and input from the sessions, increasing publication channels, sharing sessions, and information on the profile of the attendees and providing a rating system of the sessions.
Greater outreach to engage people from underserved communities and youth was also highlighted.
There were discussions on setting up prizes based on WSIS Action Lines and diversifying prizes based on the winner's age.
by Amrita Choudhury