World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is celebrated annually on 17 May to highlight the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) in our lives and promote its positive impact on global societies. This day marks the anniversary of the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. This year, the theme is digital innovation for sustainable development.

Date 2024-05-17 Author BIK Team Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience children and young people
telecommunication global network around planet earth

Background

The origins of WTISD trace back to 1969 when the ITU first initiated the observance of World Telecommunication Day. Later, in November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the United Nations General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day. Consequently, the UN General Assembly endorsed the proposal in March 2006, combining both observances into what we now know as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The primary aim of this day is to raise awareness about the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as to bridge the digital divide.

Digital innovation for sustainable development 

Digital innovation has emerged as a critical driver of sustainable development, transforming various sectors and fostering inclusive growth. By 2030, digital technologies can help achieve 70 per cent of the UN Sustainable Development Goals targets.

For instance, implementing smart agriculture technologies can enable farmers to optimise water usage and increase crop yields, promoting food security and sustainable farming practices. Similarly, telemedicine and mobile health applications can expand access to medical services in remote areas, reducing healthcare disparities. Digital platforms can potentially empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing them access to global markets and financial services, fostering economic resilience and growth.

However, digital gaps hinder innovation in many parts of the world. Therefore, it is crucial to advocate for new policies, investments, and digital education to help countries keep up with the fast-changing digital landscape. 

This year, join the WTISD 2024 celebration with events in different parts of the world. Additionally, a virtual live-streamed hour from the TV Studio at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, will bring together experts and innovators to chat about digital impact.

Better Internet for Kids for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

As we celebrate WTISD, it is important to focus on creating a safer and more inclusive digital environment for children. The internet offers many opportunities for learning, creativity, and networking, but it also poses significant risks, such as cyberbullying, online exploitation, and exposure to harmful content. Ensuring a better internet for kids requires concerted efforts from governments, industry, educators, and parents. Discover more about our work and initiatives: 

  • Safer Internet Day is a special celebration that takes place in February each year. It aims to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all, especially for children and young people. As part of the celebration, we encourage everyone—including children and young people, parents and caregivers, teachers and educators, policymakers, industry, and others—to join "Together for a better internet."
  • Safer Internet Forum is a key annual international conference in Europe where policymakers, researchers, law enforcement bodies, youth, parents and caregivers, teachers, NGOs, industry representatives, experts and other relevant actors come together to discuss the latest trends, opportunities, risks, and solutions related to child online safety and making the internet a better place.
  • The Digital Service Act is a series of rules and regulations for online platform providers aimed at creating a safer digital space for all users – with some rules especially designed to protect minors online – where fundamental rights are respected and protected.

Discover more about World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

Related news