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Information and Communications Technology (ICT): A Key Enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Many key organizations have offered their perspective on how crucial ICT is to the SDGs. The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, an organization that promotes the power of ICT for sustainable development, says that the SDGs will be realized only with the speed, degree, and equality of development that ICT offers. A joint report by Ericsson and the Earth Institute claims that economic growth in the current business-as-usual context will not achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The UN General Assembly for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promotes ICT and global interconnectedness as accelerators of sustainable development. It adds that ICT is a cross-cutting means of implementation for the SDG. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) likewise calls ICTs cross-cutting catalysts for all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental development – in its call to action.

Highlighting ICT for the SDGs stems from it having the fastest global technology diffusion in history. No other technology has progressed as fast. Its rapid diffusion in the last 15 years has also led to an increasing development of other services or aspects of the economy that are key areas of the SDGs: healthcare, education, financial services and energy/climate change. ICTs have closed the development gap for basic services at record speeds without the outlay of traditional infrastructure, especially in low-income countries. Areas untouched by basic services experience them for the first time through real-time, high-quality, flexible and mobile services.

The report State of Broadband 2016 presents economic evidence supporting broadband connectivity as an enabling infrastructure for economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. For the World Bank, these technologies have had a massive impact on life – affecting economic development in 3 major ways: inclusion, innovation and efficiency.

Universal Connectivity, a Shared Objective of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

ICTs provide the potential infrastructure critical to achievement because of universal connectivity. Universal connectivity makes it possible to deliver essential services like e-governance, education, health, and energy on a wide scale and to ensure that no one is left behind. This has the official support of the international community as it provides a feasible method to expand the reach of the SDGs. According to the UN Broadband Commission and the ITU, the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without affordable and universal access to connectivity.

The union of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are absolutely essential to progress. ICT has to be integrated into every facet of public policy and economic activity in order to fully achieve its potential as a critical technology that can serve as a mechanism to implement SDGs. Governments and institutions play a crucial role by removing barriers to ICT adoption and implementation. The right public policies and investment in infrastructure at the government and private level will provide the enabling environment for the adoption of ICT-based solutions in key sectors: health, education, finance, and energy and climate change.

ADEC ESG Solutions is a leading provider of sustainability solutions with a global network of clients, including organizations and government agencies both large and small. Our team delivers fully integrated, proven, cost-effective solutions, from ESG roadmap analysis to stakeholder and supply chain engagement. Want to learn more about how we can help? Contact us today to discuss how our experts can support you on your Sustainability Journey.


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