By Sonny Aragba-Akpore
All is not well with global development as inadequacies rule the global communities. Food security is missing; health care is a big headache, especially in developing economies. Access to development is critically absent as connectivity is not readily available.
Nearly a third of global population has no access to telecommunications especially the internet. By the last count, nearly 2.7 billion people of the global population have no access to the internet.
So what is the way forward?
This is why the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) thinks outside the box. The creation of a template for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becomes for ITU a clarion call. The world should embrace the SDG if they don’t want to remain on the outskirts of globalisation.
On September 18 and 19, ITU and its partners will update the global community on the progress so far on the SDG matter. It will be at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States of America (USA). Tagged SDG Global,
ITU, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners will convene for SDG Digital at United Nations Headquarters in New York, with the support of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as knowledge partner.
SDG Digital will take stock of the global achievements, gaps and opportunities on how digital is supporting the 2030 Agenda and catalyse greater action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by bringing data and digital technologies to the table. SDG Digital will be hosted by Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of ITU and Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP.
Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, will serve as a chair of the event. Leaders from government, civil society, industry, academia and the UN system, as well as special guests will also participate.
The 2023 SDG Summit will be seen as one event that will determine the future of global development. It will mark the beginning of a new phase of accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals with high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030.
ITU documents say “this event is Convened by the President of the General Assembly, the Summit will mark the half-way point to the deadline set for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. It will be the centerpiece of the High-level Week of the General Assembly. It will respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world and is expected to reignite a sense of hope, optimism, and enthusiasm for the 2030 Agenda”.
On the eve of the global gathering,the ITU, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners will convene for SDG Digital at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 17.
The ITU believes that Digital technologies are key to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the moment – ahead of the 2023 SDG Digital Summit – to take stock of achievements, gaps, and opportunities, catalyse action, and step up digital support for the 2030 Agenda.
As part of the SDG Action Weekend, the event focuses on bringing digital SDG solutions to scale, including through new High Impact Initiatives for sustainable, inclusive digital transformation. ITU takes an active role in promoting and addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the use of ICTs.
In addressing Goal 7: on Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal: 12 Responsible Production and Consumption, and Goal: 13 Climate action through its climate change programme which devotes its efforts to guiding member states, ICT sector and academia on climate change adaptation and mitigation, improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using environmentally sustainable methods for handling e-waste. Through the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative, ITU also commits to attaining Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
ITU adopted Connect 2030 Agenda for global telecommunication/information and communication technology, including broadband, for sustainable development to reaffirm a shared global vision for the development of the telecommunication/ICT sector, envisaging “an information society, empowered by the interconnected world, where telecommunications/ICTs enable and accelerate social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and development for everyone”.
Targets under Goal 3: Sustainability, directly relate to the management of challenges resulting from telecommunications and ICT development: This paper is aiming at illustrating the potential of ICT for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals which were declared by the United Nations in 2015 as binding for all nations of our planet addressing both developing and developed countries. ICT must play a significant role if the SDGs should be achieved as projected in 2030. The paper gives an overview of some of the existing efforts in this area and is written as an appeal to all professionals, scientists and IT-professional and their organization to take a holistic approach for all ICT-activities and projects to always include and monitor the effects of their work on the SDGs. The impacts of ICT on sustainability are twofold: On the one hand there might be negative effects on sustainability such as the generation of electronic waste, on the other hand ICT is definitely an enabler to more efficient resource usage, education and business operations which is critical success factor for achieving the SDGs.
The ITU ICT for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals which were declared by the United Nations in 2015 as binding for all nations of our planet addressing both developing and developed countries is a document that has been adopted for greater achievements on global development.
ICT must play a significant role if the SDGs should be achieved as projected in 2030.
projects to always include and monitor the effects of their work on the SDGs. The impacts of ICT on sustainability are twofold: On the one hand there might be negative effects on sustainability such as the generation of electronic waste, on the other hand ICT is definitely an enabler to more efficient resource usage, education and business operations which is critical success factor for achieving the goals.
Earlier this year, ITU reported that 2.7 billion people remain unconnected to the Internet, a number equivalent to roughly one-third of the global population.
Pledges were mobilized especially to support developing countries where connectivity is lagging and the digital gender gap is widest.
According to ITU’s Facts and Figures 2022, only 26 per cent of people in lower-income countries use the Internet, with 21 per cent of women in those countries being online compared to 32 per cent of men.
“The digital divide is no longer just a technology divide – it is an opportunity divide,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary. “We live in a world filled with crisis and need. For its part, Partner2Connect’s success in mobilizing commitments will be central to global efforts to get every person online.”
Access to the Internet is a critical element of global development efforts, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The funding, services, technical support, and other assistance detailed in the pledges will improve access to — and preparedness for — digital technologies.
The Partner2Connect initiative focuses its work on four areas: connecting people everywhere (access), empowering communities (adoption), building digital ecosystems (value creation), and incentivizing investments (accelerate).
▪︎ Aragba-Akpore, an analyst on telecom trends, lives in Abuja.