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Press Release: Information and communication technologies heralded by UN chiefs...

Information and communication technologies heralded by UN chiefs as critical to fast-forward achievement of Sustainable Development Goals

More than 20 UN leaders share expectations on role of tech for good

Geneva, 13 July 2017

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) now form the backbone of today's economies – providing individuals with access to such vitally important resources as employment opportunities, online banking and healthcare. As such, United Nations leaders have turned to ICTs to fast-forward efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the new publication, Fast-forward progress: Leveraging tech to achieve the Global Goals, more than 20 UN heads share their perspectives on how and why "ICTs for SDGs" is critical.

The launch of the publication coincides with the meeting of the United Nations' High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), taking place in New York City, 10-19 July 2017 – which is the voluntary review process of the 2030 Agenda, including the SDGs.

With the theme "Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world," the 2017 HLPF is reviewing progress on six of the SDGs, including SDG9, which seeks to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. While ICTs link most closely to this SDG, as the new publication highlights, ICTs are playing a critical role in achievement of all 17 SDGs.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says in his inspiring foreword to the publication: "The impact and implications of the digital revolution are becoming more evident with each passing hour. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the great potential of global connectivity to spur human progress. This report presents evidence of how UN agencies are adopting – and adapting – ICTs to maximize their impact and help communities and people in need. We see concerted efforts 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."

There are five key take-a-ways from the publication: