World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2020: Theme, Significance, History

May 17 is observed as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day every year.

It marks the anniversary of creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as well as signing of the first International Telegraph convention in the year 1865.

Today, when we are living in a world fully laden with telecommunication and information technology, this day not only highlights the importance of these sectors but also emphasizes on resolution of wide ranging issues associated with it.

Objective of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

The prime objective behind celebration of this day is to raise awareness about the plethora of prospects that can be availed by the society and economies with the use of the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT).

The day also raises awareness about the digital divide and ways to bridge that divide.

History

World Information Society Day was celebrated for the first time in 1969.

The year 2020 marks the 51st anniversary of the first official celebration of this day.

The day was formally instituted in 1973 by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos.

In November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly called a World Summit on the Information Society.

world telecommunication and information society day

It was at this World Summit where the declaration of May 17 as the World Information Society Day was made with the objective to focus on the importance of ICT and related issues.

Another subsequent declaration was made in 2006 at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Turkey in November 2006.

In this Conference, It was decided to jointly celebrate the World Telecommunication Day and World Information Society Day on May 17

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Theme

World Telecommunication Day is celebrated around a theme every year.

Theme for 2020 is “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

The Connect 2030 Agenda is a shared global vision.

It intends to accentuate the role and contributions of ICT in accelerating the implementation and accomplishment of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It also focuses on bridging the existing digital divide.

Connect 2030 Agenda incorporates five strategic goals under it. These are:

  • Growth
  • Inclusiveness
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Partnership

Themes of Previous Years

  • 2010: Better city, better life with ICTs
  • 2011: Better Life in Rural Communities with ICTs
  • 2012: Women and Girls in ICT
  • 2013: ICTs and improving road safety
  • 2014: Broadband for Sustainable Development
  • 2015: Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of innovation
  • 2016: ICT entrepreneurship for social impact
  • 2017: Big Data for Big Impact
  • 2018: Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All
  • 2019: Bridging the standardization gap

Events/Activities

In order to mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, various events and activities are organized all across the globe.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic most of these events have gone virtual.

Initiatives like webinars, discussions, virtual meetings, online workshops are scheduled to mark the observance of this day.