The Future We Want
Information and communication technologies: key to sustainable development
Geneva, 23 April 2012 – The Broadband Commission for Digital Development issued a ‘call to action’ to include information and communication technologies (ICT) as catalysts for sustainable development when delegates gather in New York today to continue negotiations ahead of the Rio+20 conference.
The call to include ICT networks, services and applications as enablers of sustainable development was issued at the start of the all-important second round of negotiations on the proposed outcomes for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). In a world where more people now have access to a mobile phone than to clean drinking water or a bank account, information and communication technologies, in particular broadband connectivity, offer an unparalleled platform to host an array of development services, such as mobile payment systems, e-Health applications, earth observation services and, increasingly, e-Government. Inclusion of a strong reference to the catalytic role of ICTs and broadband in the Rio+20 roadmap will help ensure solutions are found to meet the challenges of sustainable development in a rapidly evolving world where technology is increasingly central to all aspects of society.
The ‘Call to Action’ from the Broadband Commission for Digital Development comes just a few weeks after the launch of its report, ‘The Broadband Bridge, linking ICTs with climate action for a low carbon economy’ in Ohrid, Macedonia. The report presents ten recommendations for policy-makers and global leaders to utilize ICTs to accelerate global progress towards a sustainable, low-carbon future. It also urges leaders to: ‘bring convergence to ICT policy formulation so that it aligns with other policy areas such as energy, health, education and climate in order to maximize impact’. Rio+20 provides a vital opportunity to mainstream ICTs and broadband in achieving sustainable development.
“It is vital that information and communication technologies are given due recognition in the outcome of Rio+20 as ICTs provide the critical technological solutions needed to attain sustainable development for all humankind and the planet we live on,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said. “ ICTs promote the integration of ‘smarter’ and more energy-efficient economic growth, social development and environmental protection; failure to recognize the power of ICTs for development could very well lead to a ‘Future we don’t want’.”
The ‘Call to Action’ is at: www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/BBCom-Rio+20-v15.pdf
About Broadband Commission for Digital Development
The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was established in May 2010 by ITU and UNESCO to highlight the importance of broadband in helping boost achievement of the MDGs. It is chaired jointly by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Hélu, Honorary Lifetime Chairman of Grupo Carso, with ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as vice-chairs.
Commissioners include a variety of policy-makers, top executives, international agencies, and organizations concerned with development. The Commission defines practical ways in which countries — at all stages of development — can provide access to broadband networks for their citizens, in cooperation with the private sector. It debates policy guidance and best practices for the deployment of broadband networks and services.
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For over 145 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.