The World Telecommunication Development Conference focused on the theme ‘ICT for Sustainable Development Goals’ (ICT4SDGs) and considered how ICTs are accelerating attainment of the SDGs, among other topics.
WTDC-17 resulted in the Buenos Aires Declaration and the Buenos Aires Action Plan, which sets the priorities and programme of the ITU's Development Sector over the next four years.
20 October 2017: The World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17) addressed the future of the telecommunication and information and communication technology (ICT) sector and its contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WTDC-17 resulted in the Buenos Aires Declaration and the Buenos Aires Action Plan, which sets the priorities and programme of the International Telecommunications Union’s Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) over the next four years.
WTDC-17, which convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 9-20 October 2017, focused on the theme, ‘ICT for Sustainable Development Goals’ (ICT4SDGs). The conference addressed, among other issues: how ICTs are accelerating attainment of the SDGs; digital skills for youth employment; the role of the private sector; how to foster innovation that will drive the digital economy; emergency telecommunications; e-health; and cybersecurity. Participants also discussed national initiatives to overcome barriers to ICT affordability, connectivity, access and use in least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).
The Buenos Aires Declaration recognizes, inter alia: that technological change and opportunities provided by telecommunications/ICTs should be accompanied by measures to reduce poverty and inequalities and protect the environment. The Declaration further underscores the role of telecommunications/ICTs in health, education, agriculture, governance, transportation, energy, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management and climate change mitigation and adaptation. In the Declaration, delegates commit to accelerate the expansion and use of telecommunication/ICT infrastructure, applications and services for building and further developing the information society and bridging the digital divide.
The Buenos Aires Declaration calls for universally accessible, secure and affordable telecommunications/ICTs for implementing the SDGs.
On the SDGs, the Declaration calls for: promoting universally accessible, secure and affordable telecommunications/ICTs for implementing the SDGs; enhancing digital literacy and ICT skills to ensure inclusive, egalitarian and quality education; focusing on digital tools for monitoring SDG implementation; considering the needs of women and girls, persons with disabilities, and children in the use of telecommunications/ICTs; and equitable access to telecommunications/ICTs and to innovations that foster sustainable socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, job creation, gender equality, child online protection, entrepreneurship and the promotion of digital inclusion and empowerment.
On the WSIS, delegates commit to implementing WSIS Action Lines and call for adapting and reinforcing existing links between the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs.
The Declaration further urges, inter alia: policymakers and regulators to continue promoting access to telecommunications/ICTs; increased participation of developing countries in ITU activities to bridge the standardization gap; a multi-stakeholder effort in building an inclusive, development-oriented information society; capacity building, information sharing and other international cooperation for telecommunications/ICTs to contribute to disaster management and emergency telecommunications; cooperation to bridge the digital divide; strengthening public investment, private investment, public-private partnerships and resource mobilization; and integrating innovation into national policies, initiatives and programmes.
WTDCs consider topics, projects and programmes relevant to telecommunication development. The meeting sets strategies and objectives for development and provides future direction and guidance to the ITU-D. [WTDC-17 Website] [Buenos Aires Declaration] [ITU Press Release on Conference Opening] [ITU News Story] [ITU-D 25th Anniversary Webpage]