Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

Millennium Development Goals Follow Up

 Special Event

 Round Table 3

25 September 2013, New York, USA

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me make a very brief case here for the inclusion of information and communication technologies, ICTs, at the very heart of the post-2015 development framework.

For if there is one thing that we perhaps did not realize, when we created the MDGs, it was that ICTs would so quickly become so ubiquitous, and would come to play such vital role in every facet of human society in the 21st century.

As we move forward, we must recognize that 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 incredible 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.

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 – it is free to download at the Broadband Commission’s website.

I am an optimist, so let me end 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 – even though they were not really part of the MDGs – that ICTs are very clearly included in the post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you.