May 17 - World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

May 17 is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD).

In 2019, the International Telecommunication Union celebrates the 50th anniversary of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. WTISD marks the foundation of the Union - May 17, 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.

The theme of this year is “Bridging the standardization gap”. The development of international standards is one of the fundamental principles of the ITU mission as a specialized agency of the United Nations in the field of information and communication technologies. ITU standards help accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals with ICTs.

“ITU standards ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation and growth. They are good for developed and developing countries. They help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals.” - the message from ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. The Secretary-General calls upon ITU Member States, industry members, small and big companies and academia, together with UN sister agencies, partners and all stakeholders, to support ITU's “Bridging the Standardization gap​" programme and prosperity and well-being for all.

ITU’s Bridging the Standardization Gap programme facilitates the participation of developing countries in ITU's standards-making process, empowers local experts in the standardization process at the national, regional and international levels, and promotes the implementation of international standards in developing countries.

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The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.