NEW YORK,18th May, 2016 (WAM) — On the occasion of the celebrations marking World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has issued a message designed to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies, ICTs, can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. 17th May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.

Ban Ki-moon’s message said, “The international community is now mobilised around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognises the great potential of information and communication technology, ICT, to accelerate human progress, bridge the digital divide and advance knowledge. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals specifically call for employing ICTs to realise the overall vision of a life of dignity for all people.

“These technologies provide smart solutions to address climate change, hunger, poverty and other global challenges. They are key instruments for providing mobile health care and access to education, empowering women, improving efficiencies in industrial and agricultural production, and safeguarding the environment.

“Start-ups and technology hubs in the ICT sector are the drivers of innovative and practical solutions that can contribute to inclusive growth. Small to medium-sized enterprises make up more than 90 percent of all businesses worldwide, and represent a path out of poverty for many developing countries.

“Young people are especially fluent in the use of ICTs. Leaders should invest in young innovators, who are part of the largest generation of youth in history. As entrepreneurs, they can pioneer transformative technology, create jobs and benefit whole economies.

“I call upon governments, businesses and civil society leaders to develop new technologies that have a lasting social impact. ICTs can create more inclusive societies for persons with disabilities. They can help children to learn and the elderly to stay active. And ICTs can connect people around the world in common cause.

“On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, let us resolve to harness the power of technology to create a better future for all.”

WAM/Ahlam/Moran