Annual Report 2019-2020
As accelerators and amplifiers of change, ICTs have the potential to quickly and radically improve people’s lives. They facilitate access to information and knowledge, simplify the delivery of essential services and enable social and economic participation. ICTs, however, are not always equally accessible to everyone. Digital inclusion means ensuring all people have an equal opportunity to become empowered through ICTs and be part of digital society. To achieve this, ICTs need to be accessible to all, regardless of their gender, age, ability and location.
ITU is custodian of three gender-related SDG Indicators: proportion of individuals who (1) own a mobile phone, (2) use the Internet, and (2) have ICT skills. Latest figures as published in ITU’s Measuring digital development: Facts and figures 2019 shows the digital gender gap is growing, and calls for more effective action to address cultural, financial and skills-related barriers that impede Internet uptake, especially among women. ITU’s work in addressing the digital gender divide include International Girls in ICT Day, an advocacy campaign that started in 2011 to encourage more girls and young women to take up ICT careers and studies; EQUALS, the Global Partnership to Bridge the Gender Digital Divide; and the Network of Women for WRC-19 (#NOW4WRC19), which supported the development of a Declaration on Promoting Gender Equality, Equity and Parity in the ITU Radiocommunication Sector adopted at WRC-19.
ITU has continued conducting technical work for advancing the use of telecommunications and ICTs for persons with disabilities. This work has been conducted with the participation of persons with disabilities. It has also advanced the implementation of regional initiatives linked to ICT accessibility. An important development that took place in 2019 was the adoption of the new UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UN DIS), which incorporated significant inputs from ITU.
To empower indigenous people and communities through technology, capacity-building trainings for indigenous communities, tailored to their specific needs and topics of interest, were organized. These trainings take into account self-sustainability aspects and cultural legacy.