Q2/2020 - VII. United Nations Commission on Science and Technology Development (CSTD)

23rd CSTD session, 10 – 12 June 2020, virtual meeting

At the 23rd session of the CSTD, the annual report by the UN Secretary-General on progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was presented. In 143 paragraphs, the 22-page report describes in detail the numerous activities within the framework of the WSIS lines of action. The report notes that in the 15 years since the adoption of the Tunis Agenda, the global information society has changed dramatically. Many of the problems of the 2020s, such as social networks, cyber security or artificial intelligence, were not yet visible in 2005. Nevertheless, one constant in the rapidly changing context remains the WSIS call for the creation of a “people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society”. As regards Internet governance, the report recalls the recommendation of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation (WGEC) to continue the dialogue on this topic. The WGEC had ended its work in 2018 without any results. The report gives credit to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin. It also refers to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLP) and draws attention to the WSIS Review Conference (WSIS+20) planned for 2025[1].

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] Commission on Science and Technology for Development, twenty-third session [virtual informal meeting], 11 – 12 June 2020, Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels, Report of the Secretary-General 128. The nature of the information society continues to change dramatically. The Internet and social media have become fundamental to the lives of those who are online, but even those who are not personally connected are increasingly affected by the growing prevalence of ICTs in Government and business. Many of the technologies, products and services that dominate the current information society were in their infancy at WSIS, including social networking and cloud computing, big data and the Internet of things. Seven of the eight largest companies in the world today, by market capitalization, are data management companies that have grown rapidly since WSIS. Their reach extends beyond their origins in software and the Internet, to frontier technologies that are setting the stage for the evolving information society, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and quantum computing. One constant in this rapidly changing context, however, has been the WSIS vision of a “people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society”. 133. Hopes placed in new technology will only be realized through dialogue and cooperation between the information society and other areas of international governance. The United Nations has a central role to play in this. In five years’ time, when the United Nations General Assembly reviews outcomes from WSIS, it will also need to look forward, in the light of the information society of the day, to identify ways of bridging persistent digital divides, maximizing the benefits of the information society, minimizing the risks that have become identified with it and leveraging ICTs to address the broader global challenges being faced. It will be particularly important for Governments and development partners to facilitate digital development in countries that are at risk of competitive disadvantage in the growing digital economy, to ensure that all countries, including the least developed countries, participate in future growth. 134. Achieving a forward-looking outcome from the 20-year review of WSIS will require much more extensive evidence about the impact of ICTs in different sectors and geographic contexts, foresight into the implications of frontier technologies and partnership between Governments, businesses and other stakeholders. The work to generate that evidence, secure that foresight and build those partnerships will be a priority for the United Nations system over the next five years.“ See: https://unctad.org/en/pages/MeetingDetails.aspx?meetingid=2239