Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré 

UN Secretary-General's MDG Advocacy Group

 MDG Innovation Forum

24 September 2013, New York, USA

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and an honour to be able to address this group, which has been working hard to ensure not only that we achieve solid progress on meeting the MDGs, but also that we create an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

In the second decade of the 21st century, it is clear that information and communication technologies, ICTs, are playing a vital role in every facet of human society, and they must therefore be given centre stage as we look forward beyond 2015.

Because by leveraging the power of ICTs, we can achieve far, far more than we could possibly achieve without them.

Over the past twenty years, we have made progress in bringing mobile communications to virtually all the world’s people.

But there is still a huge amount of work to be done in terms of bringing the whole world online – especially the developing world, and most importantly the world’s least developed countries, where over 90% of the population is still cut off from the Internet.

This is not about technology for technology’s sake; it’s about technology for educating people; it’s about technology for better health care; it’s about technology for gender empowerment; it’s about technology as a means to reinforce environmental protection; it’s about technology as a means of protecting and propagating scientific and cultural endeavours.

In short it’s about technology as the most incredible lever imaginable in terms of spurring on sustainable social and economic development.

This is why ITU and UNESCO set up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2010, in response to Ban Ki-moon’s call to all agencies to help accelerate progress towards meeting the MDGs.

Over the past three years the Commission has played a major role in advocating for broadband development – and the power of the Commission is demonstrated very aptly here, with the welcome presence here of one of our co-Chairs, President Paul Kagame, as well as that of several of our Commissioners, including Jeff Sachs and Muhammad Yunus!

The Broadband Commission met here in New York on Saturday for the launch of its latest report, ‘The State of Broadband 2013’, and I can warmly recommend this report to all here present.

Let me close on a positive note:

We are living in an era of incredible progress, and we stand, as a global community, to reap incredible benefits from new technologies –such as mobile broadband, which is the fastest growing technology in human history.

These technologies will do so much to help us achieve our goals and vision for a better, fairer, safer world – so let’s make sure that they are clearly included in the post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you.