This celebration is the product of the unification of a previous two: World Telecommunications Day (which since 1969 evoked two significant events: the founding of the International Telecommunications Union -UIT- and the signing of the first International Telegraph Agreement, in 1865); and the World Information Society Day (declared in 2005 by the UN as a result of a request from the World Summit on the Information Society, in order to disseminate the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the world).
The agreement to commemorate World Telecommunications and Information Society Day on May 17 was made in 2006, at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference held in Antalya (Turkey), in order to sensitize the world community about the use of the Internet and other Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and aimed at reducing the digital divide in many societies and economies of the world.
The ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN), founded in 1865 with the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in Paris. Its main objective is to regulate and facilitate communication networks between the different operating companies at an international level, managing the radio frequency spectrum and the geostationary satellite orbit worldwide. It also develops technical standards to guarantee the interconnection of networks and technologies, and to improve access to ICT in those communities around the world that are lacking in this regard.
Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General, highlights the importance of the issue in these difficult times globally: “The information society has emerged as one of the main lines of defense against COVID-19. There have been many successful experiences that have highlighted both the crucial importance of ICT and the deep digital inequalities between countries and within each country”.