For information only – not an official document

17 May 2023

The Secretary-General

Message on World Telecommunication and
Information Society Day

17 May 2023

On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, we highlight the power of technology to advance sustainable development in Least Developed Countries.

The digital revolution is a defining force of our era.

The opportunities are tremendous: from transforming education and health care, to accelerating climate action and the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals.

But to realize the promise of technology, we must confront its perils:

The lack of ethical guardrails and robust governance frameworks.

The proliferation of hate speech and disinformation.

The amplification of social divides and economic inequalities.

And the risks posed by Artificial Intelligence, from deep fakes to biased decisions by neural networks that no human can fully explain.

Technology must be an instrument to reduce divides – not deepen them.

As the internet becomes ever more central to value creation and innovation, Least Developed Countries risk falling further behind.

We must dramatically improve accessibility and inclusivity and eliminate the digital divide.

We must support the creation of digital public goods: open-source software, open data, and open content.

We must invest in the capacities of public institutions so that they have the skills and resources to understand, oversee, shape, and engage with Artificial Intelligence and other transformative technologies.

And we must come together around a Global Digital Compact – to avoid fragmentation, safeguard human rights, and ensure technology is a force for human wellbeing, solidarity, and progress.

I commend the International Telecommunication Union for working to accelerate global connectivity for all by 2030.

Let us all do our part in closing the digital divide and securing a more equitable and sustainable future everywhere.

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