World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF-21)

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At WTPF-21, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) members gathered to discuss some of the pressing policy issues emerging in the telecommunication and ICT landscape. Participants met to adopt non-binding opinions and produce the Chairman’s report.

The theme was Policies for mobilizing new and emerging telecommunications/ICTs for sustainable development. It focused on opportunities, challenges, policies to foster sustainable development.

The Internet Society and WTPF

The Internet Society participated as a Sector Member of ITU. The WTPF-21 process allowed for an open discussion about key topics related to our mission, particularly on Growing the Internet and enabling policies for access. We are actively contributing to the process and promoting complementary access solutions, such as community networks, to connect the unconnected in rural, urban, and remote areas.

Digital technologies, including the Internet, have been a lifeline during the COVID-19 global health pandemic, enabling business continuity, education and learning, social and human connections, and the facilitation of e-health and e-government services. At the same time, it has exposed and exacerbated social and economic inequities, which are greatest among those that have no Internet access. Without Internet access, a key enabler for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments will fall short of their obligations. The WTPF-21 was an opportunity to gather various ideas and reach consensus on policies and strategies that can enable access and connectivity to help achieve the SDGs.

About the World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF)

WTPF is hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It facilitates sharing of ideas and information around emerging issues resulting from technological advancements and the changing telecommunication landscape. WTPF is held on an ad hoc basis once there is consensus among Member States to reconvene one.[1]

The non-treaty forum is open to all to ITU Member States and Sector Members (consisting of organizations from civil society, private sector, and technical communities). All participants are entitled to speak at this forum which is intended to promote open dialogue and the exchange of information by all participants.

WTPF does not adopt resolutions or recommendations. Instead, the forum produces consensus opinions that reflect common views and adopts a chairman’s report. Much of the agenda is structured accordingly and discussions are based on the Secretary-General’s report (which is prepared on the basis of discussions in a multistakeholder group of experts) and contributions received. WTPF opinions may be referenced in ITU resolutions which are a continuous and iterative process that lends it way towards building the ITU’s future work program.


[1] The Covid-19 global health pandemic has forced the postponement of quadrennial gatherings such as the World Telecommunication Assembly 2020, which will be held in Geneva on March 1-9, 2022, and the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2021, which will be held in Ethiopia in 2022.

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Date and Time

Thursday 16 December 2021 –

Saturday 18 December 2021

Location

Geneva and Online

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