Broadband Commissioners at WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event 2024

The WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event, taking place from 27 to 31 May 2024, celebrated two decades of remarkable progress since the inception of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The summit, which unfolded in two phases – Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in 2005 – laid down the foundational framework for global digital cooperation, aimed at fostering inclusive and sustainable information and knowledge societies. Building on this legacy, the WSIS+20 Forum stands not only as a testament to the enduring vision set forth by WSIS but also as a critical juncture for reflecting on the journey thus far, assessing the achievements, and navigating the complexities of a rapidly transforming digital landscape. 

Co-organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UNESCO, UNDP, and UNCTAD, and co-hosted by ITU and the Swiss Confederation, the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event served as a dynamic multistakeholder platform. There, global leaders, policymakers, and innovators came together to take stock of the progress achieved since the Geneva Plan of Action in 2003, identify key trends, tackle challenges and explore opportunities. 

The agenda for the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event featured a diverse lineup of esteemed panelists from across the globe, representing government, private sector, civil society, academia, and international organizations, and including several Broadband Commissioners, all coming together to shape the future of global digital cooperation. 

Broadband Commissioners discuss digital policies to advance equity & inclusion

The Broadband Commission hosted a session during the event titled, “
Digital Policy Perspectives: Digital Policies to Advance Equity & Inclusion” on 30 May. The session convened a distinguished panel of experts from the Broadband Commission, along with other high-level guest speakers, who shared invaluable insights on the formulation of digital policies that champion equity and inclusion. Broadband Commission Executive Director, Ms. Sulyna Abdullah opened the session by stating, 

We are stronger when we are more diverse, when we can see, hear from, learn and understand different points of view. Digital technologies, and more recently, AI technologies and AI systems, should be inclusive by design

This sentiment set the tone for the discussions that followed, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusivity in digital innovation. The panel explored critical areas such as AI, connectivity, government digital services, and data governance, discussing how embedding equity and inclusion within these domains can serve as the foundation of forward-thinking digital policies. Participants introduced to innovative approaches and exemplary best practices from around the world, setting new standards for achieving digital inclusivity and ensuring that technological advancements benefit everyone, leaving no one behind.

Additional Commissioners in attendance at the event included (this is not a comprehensive list of all Commissioners in attendance): 

  1. Dr. Ann Aerts, Head, Novartis Foundation
  2. H.E. Mr. Mohammed Saud Al Tamimi, Governor, Space and Technology Commission (CST), Saudi Arabia   
  3. H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Director General, Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), UAE  
  4. H.E. Ms. Deemah AlYahya, Secretary-General, DCO  
  5. Mr. Bocar Ba, Chief Executive Officer, Samena Telecommunications Council  
  6. Ms. Doreen Bogdan Martin, Secretary General, ITU  
  7. Dr. Rumman Chowdhury, Parity Responsible Innovation Fund  
  8. Dr. Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO  
  9. Ms. Isabelle Mauro, Director General, GSOA  
  10. Mr. Andrew Sullivan, President and CEO, Internet Society  
  11. Mr. Dongyu Qu, Director General, FAO 

Commissioners took part in several discussions at the WSIS +20 Forum, including but not limited to these sessions: 

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