The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will on May 3 announce the 18 winners of the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony at Geneva International Conference Centre, as part of the annual WSIS Forum 2016 holding from May 2 to 6.
WSIS Prizes honour outstanding projects that leverage the power of information and communication technology (ICT) to accelerate socio-economic development.
According to the UN specialised agency for ICTs, more than 400 ICT success stories were submitted for the 2016 edition of the prize. Out of 311 nominated projects, 179 projects came from the government sector, 41 from the business sector, 31 from civil society, 14 from international organizations, and 46 from academia and other entities.
The regional distribution was: Africa region, 27 projects; Arab region, 86 projects; Asia & Pacific region, 73 projects; Americas region, 53 projects, CIS region, 31 projects and European region, 36 projects. Five nominated projects came from international organisations.
“ITU warmly congratulates this year’s winners and applauds WSIS stakeholders everywhere for outstanding efforts to harness the power of ICTs to reach the global connectivity targets that will play such an important part in achieving the 17 SDGs,” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao says.
The WSIS Prizes contest is open to all stakeholders: governments, private sector, civil society, international organisations, academia and others. The contest comprises 18 categories directly linked to the WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action.
In recognition that not every worthy project can win a prestigious WSIS Prize, this year will see the introduction of the ‘WSIS Champions’ selected from the 311 nominated ICT global success stories, according to ITU. Based on the results of the intensive Online Voting Phase, which saw over 245,000 votes cast by WSIS stakeholders, a selection of winning projects was made by the Expert Group. Eighteen of these projects will go on to win WSIS Prizes, and a remaining 70 ‘WSIS Champions’ will receive special certificates of achievement at a special ceremony prior to the Knowledge Café on May 4 entitled Implementing Best Practices and Addressing Challenges: Meet the Winners and Champions. The Champions will also be invited to participate in the WSIS Stocktaking and Prizes Interactive Session on May 6.
“WSIS Champions will form a key part of our global and grassroots community engaged in online and community advocacy, and we are delighted to support and recognize them,” Zhao adds.
Besides the highlighted relevance of the project to the respective WSIS Action Line as referenced in the Geneva Plan of Action, the selection process was based on the project’s impact on the community and linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals.