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UNIS/SGSM/1235
16 May 2022

The Secretary-General

Message for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

17 May 2022

On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, we focus on digital technologies for older people and healthy ageing.

From building smarter cities to combating age-based discrimination at the workplace, ensuring financial inclusion, safeguarding independence and supporting millions of caregivers across the world — information technology has vast potential to improve the lives of older people and their families and communities.  But, to make the most of the opportunities presented by 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digital health and other technologies, we must dramatically improve accessibility and inclusivity.

Nearly half of humanity still has no access to the Internet.  We must connect everyone, everywhere by 2030 — because leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline.  At the same time, we must take action to prevent and reduce the dangers of information technology, including the spread of misinformation and the exploitation of personal data.

This is the vision of my Roadmap for Digital Cooperation — to embrace the promise of digital technology while protecting people from its perils.  I commend the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for its vital work narrowing the digital divide, setting standards and connecting people wherever they are, whatever their means.

On World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, let us commit to working together to ensure that technology is equitable, safe and affordable for all people and all ages.

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