Cooperation is particularly needed in promoting universal access and bridging the digital divide as stated in the Geneva Plan of Action. Target 9.c of the SDGs request member states to significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020. There are still significant digital divides within and between countries. The lives of the majority of the world’s people remain largely untouched by the digital revolution. Only around 15 percent can afford access to broadband internet. Mobile phones, reaching almost four-fifths of the world’s people, provide the main form of internet access in developing countries. But even then, nearly 2 billion people do not own a mobile phone, and nearly 60 percent of the world’s population has no access to the internet. These divides need to be addressed through strengthened enabling policy environments and international cooperation to improve affordability, access, education, capacity-building, multilingualism, cultural preservation, investment and appropriate financing.
Public authorities and other stakeholders have also an important role in minimizing the threats that come with ICTs such as cybersecurity, data protection, etc. There is an ongoing need for developing legal and enforcement frameworks to keep up with the speed of technological advancement. A global culture of online security needs to be promoted and developed by all stakeholders. A secure online space will definitely accelerate the progress of achieving the SDGs.
There is also need for strengthened cooperation international and regional cooperation against threats that may hinder the further development of information society. More efforts are needed to build robust domestic security in ICTs consistent with countries’ international obligations and domestic law. Further cooperation is also needed on transnational issues regarding ICTs, including capacity-building and cooperation in preventing and combating the misuse of the technologies for criminal or terrorist purposes.