Underscoring the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in today's world, the heads of over 20 United Nations agencies and offices have called for leveraging those technologies to “fast forward” implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In a new report, launched today, the senior officials also highlighted the critical link between information and communication technologies and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The 2030 Agenda […] recognizes the great potential of global connectivity to spur human progress,” noted UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his foreword to the publication, Fast-forward progress: Leveraging tech to achieve the global goals.
“This report presents evidence of how UN agencies are adopting – and adapting – ICTs to maximize their impact and help communities and people in need,” he added, highlighting efforts underway to extend telecommunication networks and ICTs into remote areas; train and equip workers with new digital skills; and ensure that schools, hospitals, clinics and whole cities are smarter, more energy efficient and safer.
The five key areas highlighted as the “take aways” in the publication include ensuring that no one is “left offline;” recognizing the catalysing factor of ICTs for innovation and change; putting people first; importance of prompt action to leverage ICTs; and creating new .innovative partnerships.
The report, coordinated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), was written as a collaborative effort between top officials from UN entities and international organizations, with each leader selecting one Goal and explaining why ICT is important for it, including drawing on their personal insights.
“As UN leaders have identified […], ICTs must be leveraged to advance achievement of all 17 of the SDGs – and we at ITU look forward to partnering with other UN agencies to facilitate this,” said Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of ITU, said at the report's launch, in Geneva.
The report's release coincides with the ongoing 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the main UN platform dealing with sustainable and inclusive development.