>> MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for coming to this session.
I would like to invite those in the back to the front and maybe we can start the meeting. As you know, the remote participation is experiencing some difficulties. We would have our speaker, our panelists from UNCTAD to join us. If it doesn't work, I will read his statement on behalf.
So thank you very much, again, for coming. This is the process‑related meeting toward the forum 2019. It's the first physical meeting after its launch in July this summer and we will go through some of the already announced partnerships, also talk about the open calls and invite the communities to contribute and take them through. It's a great pleasure for us to have today Ms. Sasha Rubel from UNESCO, and Mr. Deniz Susar from UNDESA and we would like to invite them to give some opening remarks. Sasha, please.
>> SASHA RUBEL: Thank you very much. Colleagues from UNCTAD and UNDESA and the ITU, thank you for being here despite your plenary happening at the same time very far from here. Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of UNESCO, I'm pleased to greet you as one of the coorganizers of the which is in the framework implementation of the world summit action likes for SDGs WSISforum 2019, information and technological sustainability development goes is at the heart of UNESCO mandate and endeavor. UNESCO is the agency with the mandate to uphold freedom of expression and promote the free flow of ideas by word and message, UNESCO works to increase inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of UNESCO's domains of competence. And I'd like to recognize several of my colleagues in the room that are working very actively on that including Jacko Dutois (phonetic) who is the coordinator of our information for all programs as well as Guillerme who is responsible for the CI program in Montevideo. So you can see we're in force in our intergovernmental programs and via our presence in the field, coordinated by our executive director in the field Cedric Wacholz (phonetic) working in place follow‑up in the work in the framework of WSIS. Ladies and gentlemen, our vision of universal knowledge societies relies upon a free and open use of new technologies that can foster capabilities to access as well as contribute to global knowledge pools. Access to information and knowledge now carries a much wider connotation and includes access to the Internet, access to other digital technologies and the ability to create an enabling environment to seek and receive knowledge online. It also includes strategies to produce digital content and innovative technologies that can enhance skills, particularly with regard to women. Later on in this forum I look forward to the work we'll be doing jointly in the other U.N. in the hackathon leading up to the WSIS Forum in 2019. As you know, UNESCO continues to serve as the facilitator for six of the WSIS access lines, access to knowledge, e‑learning, e‑science cultural diversity and identify, linguistic diversity and local content, media and ethical dimensions of the information society. In this regard we're working through Internet universality frameworks to support the Internet as a right‑spaced, open, accessible and multi‑stakeholder tool also known as the Rome principles. We have developed tools to assess Internet policies and how they are enhancing democracy and building knowledge societies to build and ensure sustainable development and in this regard we have developed Internet universality indicators along these principles. In this regard, I'd like to invite you to our open forum that will be occurring tomorrow on measuring a free, open right‑spaced and inclusive Internet. It will happen tomorrow, Tuesday, from 4:10 to 5:10 in Room X and I invite all of those interested to attend not only because of the interesting information but the Room 10 is the traditional executive board and one of the most monumental rooms in our headquarters. Dear colleagues, as I mentioned, this year in the WSIS Forum 2019 we will be coordinating the WSIS hackathon in the form of lifelong learning and lose private the WSIS Forum in Geneva. We'll be doing this in partnership with the ITU but in partnership with the private sector and other U.N. agencies and we look forward to placing emphasis on the role that digital enterprises play in ensuring ICTs play a role. In addition to this hackathon we'll be producing three high‑level panels dedicated to questions related to accessibility, cultural heritage and artificial intelligence and indigenous languages. As many of you know, 2019 is the international year of indigenous languages based on a recommendation by the permanent forum on indigenous issues. UNESCO is working very actively in this regard to make sure that indigenous languages are preserved also in the online environment and in this regard we look forward to working with other U.N. agencies in partners in the public and private sector to make sure that indigenous languages are preserved and promoted in cyberspace. In closing I'd like to underline that in taking the combined WSIS SDG operational framework forward that we are working with the ITU UNESCO's position is clear. Universal access to information and knowledge and freedom of expression are the foundations for inclusive and sustainable development. In empowering every woman and man they are fundamentally forces for dialogue, mutual understanding and lasting peace. I take this opportunity to thank everyone in this room for your continued cooperation. UNESCO colleagues, U.N. colleagues and colleagues from Civil Society and the public and private sector, and I look forward on behalf of UNESCO continuing to work with you to implement our commitments in the framework of WSIS and to building knowledge societies around the world jointly. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sasha. It's been a great pleasure to be working with UNESCO and other organizers of the WSIS process also with our other colleagues from the U.N. and other contributors. I would like to see if we have the colleague from UNCTAD present remotely. If not, maybe we can have Torbjörn join us later. They have shared with me their statement to read on their behalf. It would be my pleasure. On behalf of Mr. Torbjör Fredriksson, chief the ICT Policy Section, Division of Technology and Logistics of UNCTAD, this is the following statement: UNCTAD is proud to be organizer of the WSIS Forum 2019. We've been involved in this for many years and it's a valuable sounding board for our work in the digital economy and an excellent opportunity to engage with stakeholders beyond our traditional intergovernmental framework. Thank you to ITU and UNESCO for organizing this first physical meeting on the process. UNCTAD wants to encourage all those stakeholders participating today both on‑site and remotely, to start preparing for their impactful contributions to the WSIS Forum 2019. April is not far away. Views of multi‑stakeholders are distinct to the WSIS Forum and we're here to listen to you and particularly in our case to hear your inputs on the economic and trade impacts on the information society and the ICT for development. UNCTAD is not the only coorganizer of the WSIS Forum but also a cofacilitator of the action line C7 on e‑business along with the international trade center and the universal postal union. UNCTAD contributes to this action line through its work to help developing countries join the digital economy and get the maximum benefits of e‑commerce. For developing countries to develop an enabling environment for e‑commerce, they must look at the number of policy areas, including ICT infrastructure and services, awareness‑raising and skills development, the legal and regulatory framework, electronic payments, trade logistics and financing for e‑commerce. We would like to invite WSIS stakeholders in any of these areas to contribute to e‑commerce for development through the UNCTAD e‑commerce week. Like the WSIS Forum, the UNCTAD e‑commerce week is open to all kinds of stakeholders. There is a first regional e‑commerce week next month. The Africa e‑commerce week is taking place in Nairobi from 10‑14 December 2018 and you can register online by going to our dedicated website. Just Google UNCTAD Africa e‑commerce week to find it. On the theme empowering African economies in the digital era, the African e‑commerce week will examine ways to enhance Africa countries to engage in and benefit from the digital economy. There will also be the fifth global e‑commerce week in Geneva from 1‑5 of April 2019 back to back with the WSIS Forum. As you will notice this is the week preceding the WSIS Forum 2019 and we hope that you will be able to join us. The theme of the week will in 2019 be from digitalization to development. Please save the date and registration for that event will open early next year. Thank you very much for your time attending this meeting and we look forward to a rich exchange with you in the coming months.
Thank you again to our coorganizers, I should also mention our colleagues from the UNDP who could not be present with us here today. We're very happy with so far the WSIS Forum has been evolving with the support of many stakeholders coming to the WSIS Forum and we're looking forward to continuing to work with all of you. Maybe I can now share some practical and more detailed information about the upcoming WSIS Forum 2019 and later I will invite the leading facilitator on behalf of UNDESA, Mr. Susar, to address the floor and we have with us today, WSIS prize‑winner from USOC, Joyce. Joyce, maybe I can come sit in your place, it will be easier to control the presentation.
>> JOYCE DOGNIEZ: Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: The upcoming WSIS Forum takes place in April 2019. The topic and the theme of this WSIS Forum is communication and information technologies for achieving and sustaining development goals. I will share with you and you have this presentation online already so I will just quickly go through what will WSIS Forum showcase this year as we are already doing it for many years and some of the new formats we hope to receive by the contributions from the community. We have the WSIS Forum to showcase advancements for social development and change, technologies for drones, artificial intelligence, the world is rapidly growing and other blockchain technologies for development, design for thinking and so on will be showcased as the WSIS Forum based on the contributions we have received so far through the OCP process and also during the WSIS Forum 2018. The KPIs for the upcoming forum are as in the past. 2500 participants from 150 countries with more than 100 high‑level representatives from the governments and the private sector Civil Society academia and others. We're looking to have more than 150 workshops and sessions. We will be happy and pleased to announce and host the WSIS prize ceremonies with 18 WSIS winners and 72 WSIS champions. The WSIS Forum exhibition will also take place with more than 25 stands free of charge, as you all know. And we do hope to have the bulled multi‑stakeholder participation.
The WSIS outcomes that are programmed for the 2019 forum are reflecting from the outcome document the high‑level track, also the WSIS section line supporting the implementation of the SDGs, WSIS report the continuation of the WSIS report, matrix and success stories.
It is a great pleasure to also remind you that the first WSIS annual forum took place in 2009. Since its establishment in 2005 ‑‑ 2003 and 2005 WSIS process implementation lines were taken by the URN agencies within their working groups or related to the WSIS Forum and in 2009 we have announced and established the first annual forum where we bring all of you together in Geneva to discuss how the WSIS action line is implemented. Next year we will be celebrating the implementation of WSIS process and there will be some special events dedicated to this amazing anniversary.
Another announcement we look forward to is the accessibility day at the WSIS Forum or the special events that we are exploring to have together with our community and I also invite you to contribute to this day.
I will now go to your reminder of the open calls. As you know, WSIS Forum is crowd‑sourced the content and the format of the forum is crowd‑sourced. We are reaching out to the community and asking you for your proposals and suggestions on what would be the next topic, the next session, who should be the speakers, and I please invite you to follow this through online submission forms and the next physical meeting and so on. Also the high‑level track on the 9th and 10th of April at WSIS Forum, the speaker requests for ministers, CEOs and head of organizations will be available soon. Finally, the deadline for this open consultation process is 10 February 2019. We also call for high‑level track facilitators with the same deadline and the photo contest, something we started three years ago and so far has proved to be quite a successful exercise. As many know sometimes looking for a particular photo that will explain the ICT for development projects is not so easy to find when you're making your presentation so you're trying to enrich your websites and this was the idea where we started actually to call for these photos from around the world from the ground and we have received so far many amazing photos, I invite you to check the WSIS photo content 2017 and 2018 results.
The prizes deadline is at the end of this month and I will talk more about it later.
As I mentioned these are the five phases of the open consultation process. The launch tack place on the 2nd of July. Today we're having the first physical meeting and the next physical meeting is sometime in January‑February, we'll announce the date. Final deadline is end of February 2019 and the final brief will be on March 8th, 2019.
As I mentioned, all the submissions are to be taken electronically. I do invite you to share this information with your communities and your networks. It is very important that we receive as many contributions and many proposes through the OCP process and shape the forum for the next year following the submissions.
The WSIS stock‑taking process, one of the integral parts of 2004 or the WSIS process in general is in calling again for taking report 2019, the deadline is end of the month together with the WSIS prizes, and what we are looking into releases to the WSIS stocktaking process is to look at the good processes that are helping the development and also sustainable development goals. The forum, as you know, since 2016 when it had the final review in New York by the United Nations General Assembly aligned, online together with sustainable goals and is linking the process with its important global agenda. The same WSIS Forum and WSIS agenda we're trying to see how our particular projects on the ground are helping advance a particular sustainable development goal or its targets. The report itself will be accomplished during the WSIS Forum next year and you should all know and should be proud that the WSIS stocktaking database currently has more than 10,000 entries and has a growing community of more than 350,000 stakeholders that were submitting and contributing to the WSIS stocktaking process since 2004. Since 2012 one of the integral parts of the WSIS stocktaking was the WSIS prizes process and since 2010 we have been launching, we have launched the WSIS stocktaking platform and all the submissions are to be taken electronically.
One of the most globally recognized contests best practices for SDGs goals is the WSIS prize contest. It was established in 12 and we're looking forward to the eighth edition of this contest and maybe, you know, you should all know that we've been growing rapidly since 2000 ‑‑ since its beginning and in 2015 when we reached the magic number of 300 submissions, last year we had 492. The itself, we're looking to have more than 500 submissions in 2019 and we'd like all of you to share this amazing opportunity to promote ICT projects around the world especially those under the radar of the greater efforts on helping development. All the calls have to be submitted online and I do have the WSIS ‑‑ WSIS and ITU has a booth here at IGF, No. 36 ‑‑ 37 so please come and I'll share more information on how you should be promoting this process within your communities and networks and further on which are the phases to follow especially the online voting phase that will take place at the end of the year.
The open call for the WSIS Forum 2019 high‑level track facilitators is also very important. As you know, during the high‑level segment we are looking forward to having the high‑level dialogues and the moderators coming from different sectors, as you know, government, Civil Society, government and academia are all invited to present their representatives in order to best moderate and shape these high‑level dialogues for the purpose of development.
In addition to this, as I mentioned WSIS Forum took place for the first time in 2012 and now we have the new call 2019 depicting how ICTs are enabling sustainable goals and general development. The photos will be collected on the 10th of February, 2019, and the call also is to be ‑‑ and the submissions are to be submitted electronically. Please find all the information in the WSIS Forum 2019 website.
This is a slide on the WSIS Forum building blocks, things that are happening during the WSIS Forum in the past and things that we most ‑‑ will have in 2019 with the different innovations. Of course I invite you to explore all of them and see how are we addressing different issues within the different‑shaped format.
Some of the innovations that we started and some of the new tracks that we included in the ‑‑ in the WSIS Forum in the past and as we are looking forward to see also in 2019 would be the virtual reality for sustainable development goals, also we are working together with the locally licensed TED talks, in Geneva which are looking at their speeches during the WSIS Forum, also we started the hackathon in 2017. Our first hackathon was on coding for e‑health. This year we have coding for hack against hunger and next year we're working together with our colleagues from UNESCO to organize hackathon on e‑learning. Something that I would like to hear more from our colleague Sasha from UNESCO. Youth engagement is something we started last year, actually this year in 2019, last edition of the WSIS Forum and we're looking forward to have this track strengthened in the future, together we're bringing the vloggers and YouTubers to this forum, organizing special events for them where they can be empowered and we can hear their suggestions, challenges and opportunities for the young generations and we are also looking into hearing from them something that would benefit the youth around the world related to the use of ICTs for development.
And now we are back to the slide on the 2019 hackathon, coding for e‑learning. Please see the information on the slide and Sasha would maybe like to share more information about this.
>> SASHA RUBEL: Sure, the theme of this year's hackathon will be hacking solutions for lifelong learning and livelihoods. This builds on a lot of the work that UNESCO is doing to encourage those skills and digital entrepreneurship notably in the framework of our work in the youth mobile initiative, part of this framework which is encouraging young girls and women to develop digital skills to produce local solutions for local challenges related to sustainable development. At UNESCO we promote open solutions and free and open source software and one of the things that we are looking at is how to use open solutions to develop locally targeted solutions for issues ranging from maternal health to access to educational textbooks to peace‑building, to issues related to mother tongue and languages across the African continent. And one of the things that we will be doing we'll be building on our experience with youth mobile as well as our experience promoting media and information literacy in partnership with our education sector who is developing guidelines related to digital skills, digital policy frameworks and digital entrepreneurship. This hackathon will be building on hackathons we've seen across particularly the African continent but also globally in partnership with our private sector partners which include SAP, looking at how to bring together the public and private sector to develop local digital solutions to issues related to lifelong learning and livelihoods. So we look forward to working jointly with our U.N. partners as well as with the private sector and some of our beneficiaries on the ground to making this a success.
>> MODERATOR: I will open the floor for questions after the presentations, Renata.
>> AUDIENCE: Sorry, I'm jumping in with a comment during your presentation but really interesting and exciting because the most difficult thing in hackathons is to get a good number of participation of women and we have human rights gender and youth session tomorrow at 4:40 which will be a town hall format. Everyone can present and invite a project. So I'd really appreciate it if you can come and share the invitation, but most of all, I have been in WSIS now for years. I am a huge fan. And I've always been to the hackathon spaces as well. And I think one thing that would be really important is to make it a fluid, open space because not only you need to attract women but you have women of several ages of several expert teases. You have here cyber security hackers who are ‑‑ you look at them and you would never guess and they would love to participate in a hackathon so leaving the space open for possible dropin contributors would be really interesting and dropin mentors would be really interesting to engage more of the community because the community is a fan of those spaces and it's quite nice to hear that it will be there again. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Renata. We ‑‑ this forum and WSIS process are taking the gender issue seriously and also the hackathon this year actually had quite a big number and very ‑‑ the representatives was equally footed and I'll share with you more particular information on how many participants, actually, altogether were 79 participants but how many were women and how many were men, and definitely we'll be following your work and thank you for your contribution.
Maybe I can just continue to share with you that all who are interested in the ICT for development are invited to join the hackathon. The teams will be set up in three to eight ‑‑ 3 to 8 people per team and also not only those who are capable of coding but those who want to share their concepts are free to join. Please inform us to your willingness to be in the hackathon by e‑mail but also at the WSIS Forum there will be a link for this.
As you all know WSIS Forum is the budgetary event. We would like to thank to all of those who have been pouring the WSIS Forum in the past and the ongoing call for the new partnerships is also available on the WSIS Forum 2019 website. It's contributions to the WSIS fund and trust. The partnership packages are strengthened this year also by including the strategic ‑‑ the silver strategic partner and I would like to also announce so far confirmed partners, the gold sponsor is Saudi Arabia and the contributing partners are coming from Poland, Switzerland and ICANN. Thank you all again for contributing and I would like to invite all of you to consider joining WSIS Forum 2019, exploring the partnership packages and contribute to this important event and process in general.
These are the social media channels WSIS process and WSIS Forum are using heavily. Last year we also included the Instagram channel. We already have a lot of followers on Twitter and Facebook, YouTube is also a channel we use for all our highlights, videos, interviews we have, high‑level speakers, participants, also the WSIS prize winners, I invite you to explore all of our social media channels and contribute from your site.
Finally, we came to the final ‑‑ to the last slide inviting you all to, again, contribute and participate and to thank you for all your contributions so far. These are the important websites, the WSIS online presence and also you may write to us on the WSIS website. We can come back to the slide if you have questions later on and right now I'd like to invite Deniz from UNDESA who will give a short presentation related to how are they contributing to the WSIS process especially to the access lines that they are facilitating. Maybe I can do it from here for you.
>> DENIZ SUSAR: Sure. First slide, please.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Deniz, the floor is yours.
>> DENIZ SUSAR: Thank you, Vladimir, we are very happy to be part of the WSIS Forum. I am coming from United Nations department of economic and social affairs. And we are the cofacilitator for three WSIS action lines. You can see them in the next slide. So C1, the role of public goodness authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development. C7, e‑government, and C11 international and regional cooperation. As you know, this IGF forum is an outcome of the WSIS summit, so we are here because of WSIS and we are very happy also and thankful to UNESCO for hosting us here.
I would like to use my short time to give you an update, what we've been doing in the C7 e‑government. But before that, these are the work areas in our department. So we work a lot with intergovernmental support. That means we support Member States in their discussions in technology for development issues together with (?) every year, as you know there's a resolution in New York in the general assembly on how we can use this technology for development. We also do a lot of capacity development that's on e‑government. We work with different countries to improve their e‑government development. And we also do research and analytical work and Vladimir, if you can, give me the publication next to you. This is one of our flagship publications, it's called U.N. e‑government survey. We've been doing this every other year since early 2000s. We also have a UNDESA booth, I think No. 56 in the village, you can go and get copies there. Next slide, please.
So what is U.N. government r e‑r e‑government survey, it's the only survey that addresses the state of e‑government in 193 U.N. Member States. It's used as a benchmark tool to measure e‑government development, build governments' capacity, and provide policy recommendations.
In the last edition, we are looking at sustainable and resilient societies but in one of the chapters we also look at emerging technologies, new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and how those are used by governments. So I would like to look at that later and it's also available on our website.
So let me allow you briefly mention our methodology. So when we measure e‑government development, we end up providing an index called e‑government development index. That's a composite index of three subindexes. The first one is online service index. So to construct online service index, we look at national portals and of the 193 U.N. Member States, we have around 160, 170 different features that we check, and you can also those features that in the index of the survey. So it starts with weak features and it goes for advanced features such as like making transactions online, et cetera.
And the second component is telecommunication infrastructure index. This data is coming from ITU, mostly is there infrastructure available in the country to use e‑government and the third one is human capital. So is there enough human capital to use the e‑government services. Next, please?
So these are the indicators that we use in the telecommunication infrastructure index. It goes with number of Internet users, mobile subscribers, et cetera, all data coming from ITU and we work closely with ITU's ICT development index.
The next set of data is human capital index, and it's coming mostly from UNESCO so it's a joint collaboration agencies use per year.
Next. Maybe some ‑‑ if you ‑‑ a few highlights from the recent publication. So as you see, we classify countries according to their score. Very high is those countries score .5, high 050 and 075, the top section of the graphs, the green and the purple one are increasing over the years since 2003 and blue the lowest is decreasing. So we see an improvement, a natural improvement in e‑government development around the world. Next, please.
If you look at regions overall, there is no surprise, Europe is leading and followed by Americas and Asia and if you look at the subcomponents, I mentioned there are three different components of EGDI, OSI, HCI, TII, HCI human capital is highest in all regions and infrastructure is the lowest contributor in all regions so that also tells us, confirms us that we all need to work on connectivity. Next, please.
So, for example, this is one finding also with ITU data, if you look at Africa, they spend maybe 14 persons of their GDP on mobile broadband but their connection is very low compared to other regions. And if you look at Europe, the percentage of income we spend on mobile broadband is much less and it's more available here. Again, we all end up at connectivity. Yeah, next.
So if I can give you some rankings, so in the globally ‑‑ Denmark is number one followed by Australia and Republic of Korea, U.K. was number one in 2016. And these countries are pretty much very close to each other, so there are really not that much different among the top 10 or 20 and as you see most are European. Next.
So what we found when we checked online services, three most common online services is utilities payment, submission of income taxes, and registration of new businesses. And this checking of the portals, we use two researchers speaking the language of that country. Usually these people are students in the U.S. and then there are additional checks within our department. Next, please.
Another trend is countries are increasing their data online, so we see the increasing trend in the number of open government data portals worldwide so from 2014 to 2018.
One subindex that we use is e‑participation index we call it so how citizens in remote parts in policy‑making. For that we look at the information, information needs to be available, e‑consultation and e‑decision‑making so different tools. In that one ‑‑ next, please. Yeah.
So, again, usual suspects are leading the ranking in that one.
This year, in the 2018 edition, for the first time we looked at local service delivery, local online service delivery. We selected around four regionally balanced and as much as possible we tried to look at the capital, if not we looked at largest ‑‑ sorry, we first tried to look at the largest city in that country and most of the time that was also the capital city, but it's different for some countries. So we checked how municipalities are providing e‑government services to citizens. As you know, most of the things that we do with government is happening at the local level. So you can look at Chapter 7 for the details of that study. This was done together with United Nations University. I can just share with you because of time, there are some results. So Moscow is the number one in that, according to our findings, followed with Cape Town, Tallinn and London. These are the cities that scored 75% or more, and, as I said, we only looked at 40 cities, we're planning to expand this work in the coming years.
So if you look at ‑‑ if you compare cities and countries, again, it's the same classification. If you look at very high, Y axis is the cities, so if you look at very high, so, for example, Madrid, Spain is a very high country and Madrid ended up with a very high ranking. The outlier here is Mexico City, why México national portal performs very well in our assessment, the portal of Mexico City is only medium so we can see that in México, for example, there is a lot of focus on national portal development but not much in the city level. And same you can say for Berlin or Toronto.
Sorry, on the other hand, there are also opposites so country can be low but the city, for example, Bangkok, but the city is medium.
I mean, what you can take away from my presentation ‑‑ last slide, please ‑‑ so we do this e‑government survey every two years. Every even years. European countries are leading, and only four countries from Africa is about the world average. The progress in Asia and Americas is slow but at least we can notice that. And we see that more and more countries providing online services to do most vulnerable groups. And all 193 U.N. Member States have online portals and 140 of them provide transactional services. So thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Deniz, for this thorough presentation. We look forward to the report to be presented at the WSIS Forum 2019, with most likely some updates. Thanks a lot and I would like now to address and allow our WSIS prize winner in 2019 from Internet Society, for the project digital schools chapterathon, it was rewarded in the integrity regional and international cooperation, we have Ms. Joyce Dogniez.
>> JOYCE DOGNIEZ: Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to present or to talk a little bit about the project that we did. At the Internet Society we promote a global connected secure and trustworthy Internet. And as you'll probably I hope agree on, the Internet is probably one of the most powerful tools for inclusion. And when we use it for a force of good, it can really enable but also accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
Now, we believe that everybody has a very important role to play in the Internet ecosystem and also in the implementation of the sustainable development goals and that's the only way we will be able to actually achieve those very ambitious goals that have been set is through partnership and collaboration. Now, for 15 years now, I think it is, right, Vladimir, the WSIS Forum has really been a key platform to discuss important sustainable development issues related to ICT. And so for the Internet Society sustainable development, we're an organization that exists now almost 26 years, sustainable development as such is nothing new. It's something that measuring sure that the ICT is used for the improvement of the people's lives is something that is really at the heart of the organization, but we also know that the key of the success to that lies with the people. It lies with the local communities, it lies with the people on the ground. And it lies to the communities that actually use the Internet to improve the lives within their own communities. So this is one of the things where we are very proud and very honored to have achieved the WSIS prize this year. The prize was given for the project that was done by our chapter, we have 135 chapters globally. And the chapters zone, that's how we played with the word was around digital schools or Internet and education so digital schools. And the WSIS prize is what we saw as really giving the opportunity to people to ‑‑ basically an opportunity for people to showcase the importance of the work they do at local and at regional level. But, again, shining the light on projects that are tackling some of the biggest problems related to ICT. And so what we did is we invited our global community, our chapters, to participate in this marathon or chapterathon as we called it and we had 30 chapters that said, yeah, we'll play the game, we'll play, we'll run the marathon, we'll do the chapterathon and they developed 30 projects in their respective countries and so the projects were ranging from connecting schools to the Internet, some of them did coding classes for teaching classes for kids, for girls, some of them was about training the teachers, understanding that it if you don't train the teachers you actually don't get the results for the education, it's not just the kids that we talk about, it's also the teachers we need to educate. Some of them are projects about raising awareness around safety on the Internet. Child safety, online safety. Some of them developed an online platform for school, helped to create educational and local content in local language. So they became very creative, I have to say. So those are some of the examples, you can actually go and visit I'm sure the WSIS prize website to find out more details about the specific projects. So the projects actually contributed not only to SDG 4, so education, but ‑‑ but also SDG 5 gender inclusion, really looking at bringing in girls and young women in the use of ICT. But to us the most important piece was also that it really showcased the importance of global partnership and so adding another number we also had SDG 17. And so looking at collaboration and partnership was really what made the difference because the chapters really talked to each other, they found ideas, they collaborated at local level but also among themselves. And so what we saw is that it was really ‑‑ it made a difference. We really saw that for the kids in the schools, for the teachers, for the parents in some cases, it really made a difference through small projects but if you actually amplified and managed to scale them at a regional or even a global level in this case it really makes a difference.
And so specifically for the WSIS prizes, I have to say that it created an amazing buzz not only around the prize that we won, I mean, they were very proud, we were very proud of everybody that was involved and that actually did the projects but it also created a buzz and it created a lot of discussion around the importance of the Internet and ICTs in general and around education and how it can support the achievement of certain goals. So we see that a lot of small projects are happening and WSIS prizes and a lot of the community involved in WSIS, they all come with amazing stores and amazing projects and having a platform like WSIS and having the recognition through WSIS projects, projects at a local level for people who often do this in a volunteer capacity really gives them a global platform to shine, to share, to collaborate and to potentially find new partners as well.
And so I just ‑‑ one, I want to say thank you, because, of course, we were very proud, but I also want to applaud the efforts that ITU and WSIS is doing with all the partners involved in providing the opportunity to the people that actually participate. So last words, I would, again, you know, say please, I mean, share your stories, apply for the prizes, it's to the reach of anyone. Any small, large, medium NGO that has or organization that has projects deserve to be seen and deserve to be heard and deserve to have the opportunity to shine and to be able to share and partner potentially to then scale their projects at a bigger level. So thank you very much for the opportunity and looking forward to the 2019 version of it so thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Joyce, very much. The best promotion for something you do always comes through the words of others. 2018 WSIS prizes has been a great run for Internet Society and we do hope that you will continue to promote your work through the WSIS prizes and perhaps share your database of ICT projects, I'm sure you have a lot of them, we would love to have them all. And this is something in addition that I would also like to add to all of you participating here physically or remotely, do use the opportunity, we have only two more weeks until the deadline, submission is fairly simple, it is online on the WSIS prizes website, promote your work, but don't forget to promote the work of others. I'm sure you have someone from your community on your networks, maybe a neighbor, maybe a talented kid in school who is doing ‑‑ already doing amazing work, what are the ICT projects, don't think only about the big, funded, great projects but also great in the sense of funds or the (?) but also think about the small projects. Sometimes people have a hard time to even connect but they're doing their best to maybe open a blog or a Facebook page to inform their neighborhood or their small community about some potential challenges or opportunities and this is already an ICT project. It is using ICT technologies and to help some communities, small community development. So, again, submit your projects by the 30th of November, promote this on your websites, reach back out to us, as I mentioned we have the boot here, No. 37, I can help you share more promotional material that you can put on your websites, on your social media channels, let's make the record and moreover, let's promote those who should be promoted.
Before we conclude, we have four more minutes, I would like to open the floor for questions, also if anyone has a question remotely our colleague can help with that. Ask some of you have been submitting and contributing to the WSIS Forum in the past, if not, if this is new, please do explore our websites. We've been building WSIS prize ‑‑ WSIS Forum and WSIS prizes each year. You can track the historical WSIS process on WSIS.org where you can see how we started in 1998 with the proposition to have WSIS summit established and 2003 and 2005 later on in 2009 and so on although in this meeting the focus is on 2019 by exploring the past, you will see what was the experience we had so far and how others contributed and how you can also follow or maybe even make innovations. As I mentioned, we are open to your suggestions, this is the open consultation process meeting and it is focused and dedicated on you telling us what you think the next forum and other WSIS‑related processes should be like. And, again, I would like to open the slide on the open calls. Please make sure that you do follow the deadlines. It is very important that we reach ‑‑ you reach out to us prior to these deadlines, and before closing, maybe someone from the panel would like to share final remarks? Sasha?
>> SASHA RUBEL: What an honor to close this session! I would like on behalf of all of the U.N. agencies that are involved both present today so ITU and UNDESA but also UNCTAD and UNDP who are not here with us today renew the commitment that U.N. has for sustainable development but also to bridging the divides that exist, let's say, and working both with the public and private sector to make our commitments in the framework of the WSIS follow‑up a reality and a success, so we look forward to see you in the spring in Geneva where it will be warmer than it is now so I'm sure people will be happy to participate to continue this discussion and would also like to reiterate that anybody who's interested both in the hackathon and in contributing with their ideas and proposals are most welcome. The platform that exists which is the WSIS Forum is intended as Vladimir in the underline a crowd sourcing event and what we need from Civil Society and WSIS community is not only your ideas but also innovation to make sure that the U.N. with our Civil Society partners and private sector partners continue to put ICTs at the heart of sustainable development and development at large. So thank you very much for being here. Thank you to the U.N. agencies for the example of delivering is one at the highest levels as it concerns policies and programs and we look forward to welcoming you in Geneva in the spring.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Sasha, thank you all for joining this meeting. We came to the closing. Again, come back to us by mail, come to the websites or come physically at UNESCO or ITU booths at the IGF. Thanks again. And thank you for your help.