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:
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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.