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High-Level Political Forum
New York  17 July 2024


Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

“From the SDG Summit to the Summit of the Future"

[As prepared for delivery]

Excellencies, Delegates, Colleagues,

In the last few months, digital has climbed to the top of the global agenda.

For example, the word “digital" appeared 25 times in the outcome document of the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

Accelerating the digital transition was central to the Apulia G7 Leaders' Communiqué.

The UN General Assembly adopted two historic resolutions promoting safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) systems — and advancing global AI capacity-building.

The list goes on and on.

While the recently released Sustainable Development Goals Report 2024 found that only 17 per cent of the SDG targets are on track to be achieved by 2030, ITU has demonstrated that game-changing digital solutions like AI can accelerate progress on 70 per cent of these targets.

As we heard in the UN General Assembly Hall this week: Future generations deserve more than 17 per cent of a sustainable future.

We all do!

With less than 70 days before the Summit of the Future and the planned adoption of the Pact with its Global Digital Compact, what we do now will chart the course for the rest of the decade and beyond.

ITU, as the UN agency for digital technologies, is doubling down on its efforts to bring the 2.6 billion people who are still offline around the world into the digital revolution.

As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said when he came to ITU just a few weeks ago: Bridging that divide is not only an economic necessity, but a moral and humanitarian imperative — and fundamental for achieving the SDGs.

ITU's path forward is clear: Align digital inclusion with the pace of digital transformation; strike the right balance between the benefits and risks of emerging technologies like AI without stifling innovation; and ensure universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation — our strategic goals.

For the SDGs and a more inclusive, safe, and sustainable digital future for people and the planet.