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ICTs to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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Overview



ITU’s contribution to meeting all 17 SDGs


ITU is assisting countries to transition into the digital era. Central to ITU's strategy to leverage the power of ICTs to accelerate progress on the SDGs is the “four I's" framework based on building Infrastructure, securing Investment, promoting Innovation and ensuring Inclusivity.

ITU's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals starts with SDG 9: Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. ITU supports countries in achieving SDG 9 (specifically SDG Target 9.c) by enabling access to the Internet and other ICTs, in the following three ways:

  1. ITU plays a vital role in brokering international agreements to allocate and coordinate the use of the global radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. This effort allows ICT devices anywhere in the world to be used on the same frequency bands, which in turn ensures that radiocommunication services run smoothly, without interference from other radio communication services and users, and benefit from the resulting economies of scale. ITU is the only body for the management of the radio-frequency spectrum at the international level.
  2. ITU and its members, including governments, the private sector and academia, are developing the international standards—the technical criteria, processes and practices—that ensure that key ICTs perform smoothly, efficiently and safely and provide further opportunities for economies of scale.
  3. ITU has been assisting developing countries in making ICTs affordable, relevant and accessible to all. For example, ITU supports countries in developing programmes to build the necessary physical infrastructure, strengthen cybersecurity, develop digital skills for youth and others, improve digital inclusion for people with special needs, enhance the regulatory and market environment to increase access to ICTs, and promote ICT-centred innovation and entrepreneurship.

ITU also raises awareness and rallies the commitment necessary to achieve the SDGs through a number of processes and fora. For example, ITU leads the coordination of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process, leveraging pre-existing WSIS mechanisms and Action Lines to promote the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The annual WSIS Forum takes stock of the positive impact of ICTs on people's lives around the world. ITU maintains the WSIS Stocktaking database, which is a repository of more than 10 000 ICT for Development projects and more than 350 000 members, and awards WSIS Prizes that give international recognition to stakeholders who implement ICT for Development Projects.

ITU has also developed a SDG Mapping Tool that illustrates how ITU activities contribute to the SDGs. ITU is the custodian of the SDG indicators 4.4.1, 5.b.1, 9.c.1, 17.6.2 and 17.8.1 and responsible for tracking them at the international level.

ITU, in collaboration with partners, has been working to contribute to each and every SDG:


Last update: February 2019

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