More than 2,500 information and communication technology (ICT) experts from around the globe will convene in Geneva, 12-16 June, for the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2017 (WSIS Forum 2017). WSIS Forum 2017 represents the world’s largest annual multi-stakeholder gathering of the information and communication technologies for development community, and is co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, in close collaboration with all UN agencies.

This year’s forum will focus on sustainable development trends and inclusive ICT initiatives in key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) priority areas such as health, education, gender empowerment, the environment, infrastructure and innovation. Participants are set to include at least 500 high-level policy-makers from 150+ countries, including government ministers and experts, civil society leaders, academics, business leaders and international organizations.

“It is with great pleasure that ITU joins together with all United Nations agencies, in particular UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP to facilitate WSIS Forum 2017. We look forward to welcoming the global ICT for development community to Geneva so that they may work together to leverage the power of ICT for achievement of the SDGs,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

WSIS Forum has become a real demonstration of how the WSIS and SDGs processes are being aligned at the implementation level, building on the WSIS-SDG Matrix developed by UN WSIS Action Line Facilitators. An interactive mapping tool is available for the WSIS Forum 2017 Agenda to emphasize the linkages between the Action Lines and the SDGs identified by WSIS stakeholders in their respective sessions and workshops.

The WSIS Forum 2017 agenda features more than 200 specialized workshops covering a wide array of topics identified through a participatory process with WSIS stakeholders. As part of this, will be a special stream of virtual reality (VR) for development sessions bringing together high-level personalities, world class VR experiences, and a focus on education. Additionally, all coders are invited to participate in a special Hack for Health focused on highlighting e-health. There will also be a special track led by ITU and UNIDO, which will address SDG9 focusing on ICT-centric innovation.

WSIS Prizes 2017 winners and champions will be announced during WSIS Forum 2017. WSIS Prizes recognize outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies around the globe that leverage the power of ICTs in support of the SDGs. This year, a record 1.1 million online votes were cast for 345 nominated projects.

WSIS Forum 2017 will result in several concrete outcomes that will enable stakeholders to strengthen implementation of WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes.