WSIS Forum 2018

Statement of Peter Major, Vice-Chair of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development

Excellency, Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Chairman of the WSIS Forum, Honorable Ministers, Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen!

On behalf of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development it is an honor for me to greet the participants of the WSIS Forum 2018.

Let me take the opportunity to express my appreciation to the co-organizers of the Forum, to the ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP all specialized agencies of the UN, the regional organizations and all stakeholders, last but not least to the sponsors who contributed to the holding of this event.

The CSTD is a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It was established in 1992 to provide the General Assembly and ECOSOC with high-level advice on relevant issues related to science, technology and innovation through analysis and appropriate policy recommendations or options in order to enable those organs to guide the future work of the United Nations, develop common policies and agree on appropriate actions.

Since 2006, the Commission has been mandated by ECOSOC to serve as the focal point in the system-wide follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the information Society (WSIS) and to advise the Council thereon, including through the elaboration of recommendations to the Council aimed at furthering the implementation of the Summit outcomes. I want to mention some of the of tasks of the Commission related to its mandate on WSIS:

  • The Commission reviews and assesses progress at the international and regional levels in the implementation of WSIS action lines;
  • It shares best and effective practices and lessons learned and identifies obstacles and constraints encountered;
  • It promotes dialogue and fosters partnerships, in coordination with other appropriate UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies, to contribute to the attainment of the Summit objectives and the implementation of its outcomes and to use information and communication technologies for development and the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, with the participation of Governments, the private sector, civil society, the UN and other international organizations in accordance with their different roles and responsibilities
  • The CSTD through its Secretariat prepares the report of UN Secretary General on “Progress made in the implementation of and the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes at the regional and international levels” based on input from UN specialized agencies, regional organizations and IGF Secretariat.

 The Commission, in addition to its inter-sessional panel, meets annually for a period of one week to discuss among others two selected topics related to science and technology with focus on the implementation of the SDGs. The main topics for the 21st session of the CSTD this May will be

1.    The role of science, technology and innovation to increase substantially the share of renewable energy by 2030

2.     Building digital competencies to benefit from existing and emerging technologies, with special focus on gender and youth dimensions

The outcome of the discussions will be forwarded to the UN GA and ECOSOC, and transmitted as a contribution to the High Level Political Forum of the UN.

According to its mandate the CSTD prepares the ECOSOC draft resolutions related to

-       Science and Technology for Development (Science resolution)

-       Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS resolution)  

The WSIS resolution drafted during the 20th session of the Commission and  endorsed by ECOSOC in July 2017  Recognizes the value and principle of multi-stakeholder cooperation and engagement that have characterized the World Summit process since its inception and that are clearly recognized in the 2030 Agenda, and notes that many activities that support the objectives of the World Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals are being implemented by Governments, international organizations, the private sector, civil society, academic and technical communities and multi-stakeholder partnerships in their respective roles and responsibilities”

At this point I want to mention the Working groups of the CSTD requested by relevant resolutions of the UN GA. The  Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (WGIGF), a multi-stakeholder working group – in its final report produced 45 recommendations, approved by ECOSOC and noted by the UN GA in its WSIS+10 outcome document. I am pleased to note that the majority of the recommendations have been implemented.
The work of the Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation, a multi-stakeholder working group (WGEC) was recognized by ECOSOC and the UN GA, and UN GA final document on WSIS+10 requested the Chair of the CSTD continue the work by constituting a new working group.

The CSTD WGEC 2.0, a multi-stakeholder group of experts held four meetings, with valuable contributions, discussions and draft recommendations, but did not come to a consensual agreement on a report with recommendations. This outcome indicates the difficulty of the task, and reflects the complexity political situation. The discussions contributed to better understanding of the issues and different positions and serve as basis for further deliberations.
The WSIS+10 outcome document reaffirms the tasks of the CSTD related to its mandate on WSIS and calls for
“the continuation of annual reports on the implementation of outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, through the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, to the Economic and Social Council, taking into account the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in this regard invite the high-level political forum on sustainable development to consider the annual reports of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development. We encourage the members of the United Nations Group on the Information Society to contribute to the reports.”

I hope to have given you some insight into the work of the Commission in general and related to WSIS in particular. This year the WSIS Forum once again showcases good practices and successes of the multi-stakeholder cooperation. The valuable information related projects, the discussions and recommendations will be reported to the CSTD for consideration during its upcoming annual meeting and will be taken into account in the drafting the ECOSOC resolution on “Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society”.

Let me reiterate my appreciation to the co-organizers and take the opportunity to wish you a very successful WSIS Forum.

Thank you for your attention


WSIS Forum 2018  19th-23 of March the full AGENDA




WSIS Forum 2018 - Opening ceremony

After 5 days of WSIS Forum 2018 (outcomes in contributions SI News April 2018)

Highlights video – WSIS Forum 2018