Two Maasai men look at their cell phones in front of camels.
An invaluable mobile app helping Kenyan pastoralists beat the drought. Photo: ITU

Connect 2030

ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The theme “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” highlights the ICT advances for transition to smart and sustainable development. It will focus on specific ICT-enabled solutions and emerging trends for fostering economic, environmental and social sustainability.

The Connect 2030 Agenda is a shared global vision for the development of the telecommunication/ICT sector. Under its five strategic goals – Growth, Inclusiveness, Sustainability, Innovation and Partnership.

The SDGs recognize that the spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress and to bridge the digital divide.

Background

The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

History

World Information Society Day

World Telecommunication Day 1969 poster

World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973 as Resolution 46.

World Telecommunication Day

In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The updated Resolution 68 invites Member States and Sector Members to celebrate the day annually by organizing appropriate national programmes with a view to:

  • stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council
  • debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society
  • formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership
António Guterres

Information technology can be a beacon of hope, allowing billions of people around the world to connect. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these connections… are more important than ever.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

How is the telecom industry coping with COVID-19?

The current COVID pandemic is testing the telecom/ICT industry in many ways, some of which are only just becoming apparent. Increased traffic demand has led the industry to adopt measures to keep services available to people at the time when they need them most. Operators have increased data allowances and broadband speeds and added capacity to their networks. While streaming platforms have decreased their video quality to leave more broadband for essential services.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.