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UN’s WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event to chart the next phase of action for digital and sustainable development

​​After two decades of action connecting technology and sustainable development, ministers and other high-level officials will chart the course for the next phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) at the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event taking place from 27 to 31 May in Geneva, Switzerland.

With less than six years to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - and with 2.6 billion people still living without the Internet - the WSIS+20 Forum will address challenges, log achievements, and consider future work to ensure that everyone, everywhere is meaningfully connected and that technology advances peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

High-level participants from over 160 countries will analyse key emerging trends shaping the world, including artificial intelligence, space for sustainable development, and other fast-evolving topics. Participants will include representatives from governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, the technical community, the UN System and intergovernmental organizations.

A ministerial roundtable will consider 20 years of WSIS implementation to achieve the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“WSIS has stood the test of time," said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “As we approach the 20-year review of the UN General Assembly-mandated World Summit on the Information Society, the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event is an opportunity for the entire WSIS community to take stock of achievements and continue to address new and emerging digital challenges and opportunities – at stake is our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as we move toward the adoption and implementation of the Global Digital Compact."

A unique mandate and a global priority

This WSIS Forum is the world's largest and most inclusive platform on sustainable digital development. It is also the only international, multistakeholder process mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to unify and coordinate global work in this important field.

The WSIS process was agreed at international conferences held in 2003 and 2005, and it is built on “Action Lines" – a set of 11 priority areas for UN efforts to connect technology and development that also provide guidance to policymakers and other stakeholders.

WSIS was established before the UN Sustainable Development Goals were agreed in 2015, and the process has been adapted to meet the requirements of the SDGs. The process continues to evolve with technology and development trends to help accelerate the achievement of the global goals.

While the WSIS Forum meets annually as a global platform for knowledge exchange, sharing of best practices, and partnership building, this year's WSIS+20 Forum High Level Event will consider global efforts over the last two decades alongside topics such as emerging technology, cybersecurity, digital governance processes, digital public infrastructure, digital inclusion, capacity building and digital education.

The WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event outcome will inform the UN General Assembly WSIS+20 review scheduled for September 2025 to identify how WSIS processes can support the Global Digital Compact expected to be agreed as part of the Summit of the Future later this year.

Working together for a sustainable digital future

The WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event is co-hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Swiss Confederation, and is co-organized with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with the engagement of more than 40 UN partners.

A list of high-level participants, including ministers, heads of regulatory authorities, and industry executives, is available here.

At the event, the annual WSIS Prizes will recognize use cases from grassroots efforts around the world on how digital technology is supporting sustainable development.

For more information on the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event, please consult the event website and draft agenda.