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 Tuesday, 15 November 2011
ITU’s submission to the Rio+20 compilation document: ICTs are Major Cross-cutting Drivers of Sustainable Development

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD 2012 or Rio+20) is taking place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), in Johannesburg.

It is envisioned that Rio+20 Conference will result in a focused political document, while the process strives to embrace and bring together the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. The conference will also address implementation, emerging challenges, as well as new opportunities for accelerating the transition towards sustainable development pathways.

ITU has promptly submitted its input for the compilation document to serve as basis for the preparation of a zero draft of the outcome document of the conference. Through its submission, ITU comments on the progress to date, underlines the potential key role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the transition to a greener and fairer development model, and shares its expectations for the outcomes of the Conference and the future sustainable development agenda. 

Drawing lessons from the outcomes of the major conferences on sustainable development, ITU notes the need for concrete and measurable targets to be defined at the Rio+20 Summit. In addition, ITU emphasizes the need  for greater coordination of actions at all levels, and deeper integration of policies, in particular cross-sectoral national strategies.

With regards to the theme of the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, ITU highlights the transformational potential and positive impact of ICTs in multiple areas such as measuring and monitoring;  regulations and standards; capacity building and technology access; engagement of industry and ICT sector; communication dynamics; and social dimension dynamics. 

ICTs are a unique cost-effective, environmentally friendly and inclusive instrument to spur green growth and create jobs, promote social progress and the MDGs, and ensure environmental protection and a sustainable future. Thus, ITU reiterates that ICTs should be recognized as one of the major cross-cutting drivers of sustainable development. ICTs help reinforce, converge and integrate all three pillars of sustainable development, and they also support and facilitate attainment of its fundamental underlying principles of efficiency, effectiveness and equity.  

Among concrete outcomes expected from the Conference, ITU supports the development of a Roadmap, a conceptual and action-oriented framework setting specific goals and a set of “green economy” tools to achieve them. ITU advocates for inclusion in the text of two such Sustainable Development Goals relating to ICTs: (a) ICTs as key vehicles and basic infrastructure driving the transition to green economy and sustainable development patterns, to reflect their new multifold role and potential as described above; (b) Access to ICTs and to broadband, as a goal itself with direct impact on other basic services and sectors.  

ITU believes the time is right to make the best use of all the opportunities at our hands to move together the sustainable development agenda forward, with and through ICTs. You may access the full text of ITU’s input to the compilation document for the Rio+20 Conference here.

For more information on the work of ITU in relation to the themes of the Conference please click here.

For more information on the Rio+20 Conference, please click here