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AI for Good Global Summit

Mandate

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In accordance with WTDC Resolution 66 (Rev. Kigali, 2022) and PP-22 Resolution 182, ITU's Development Bureau (ITU-D) has been given the mandate to develop its activities on ICTs, environment, climate change and circular economy in order to contribute to ongoing wider global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

Through its key proposals, including the Kigali Declaration and Kigali Action Plan, ITU-D recognizes that the deployment of telecommunications/ICTs comes ​with risks, challenges, and opportunities for the environment. This has been highlighted by the ITU membership who is “fully committed to tackling environmental and climate-change issues, notably in implementing telecommunication/ICT tools to mitigate the impact of climate change and addressing the impact of telecommunications/ICTs on the environment, in collaboration with users, the private sector, policymakers and regulators" (WTDC-22 Declaration).  

It is urgent for the ICT sector to advance progress towards the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) action lines and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Across its work, ITU systematically integrates environmental sustainability considerations, in line with the Strategy for Sustainability Management in the UN System 2020-2030. ​​

Circurlar Economy and e-waste


At ITU's highest policy-making body (PP-18), ITU Member States set a global target for 2023 to increase the e-waste recycling rate to 30% (target 3.2) and to raise the percentage of countries with an e-waste legislation to 50% (target 3.3).  

Amongst the targets of ITU's strategic plan for the period 2024-2027, target 2.5 calls for a significant improvement of ICT's contribution to climate and environment action. Similarly, the fifth thematic priority of the Strategic Plan encourages the adoption of policies and strategies for the environmentally sustainable use of telecommunications/ICTs. Considering both the positive and negative impacts of ICT usage, ITU-D works on improving global e-waste recycling rates. Towards this goal, ITU-D provides technical support for countries to apply harmonized data-collection methodologies on e-waste.  

The bureau's mandate also calls for capacity-building to increase the number of countries with e-waste policy, legislation or regulation (Resolution 182/2022 Bucharest). ITU develops and disseminates strategies and best practices around information systems and metrics and management of e-waste. Doing so encourages the creation of a circular economy for electronics. Special emphasis is put on low-income and developing countries, as ITU-D has been given a mandate "to assist developing countries in undertaking proper assessment of the magnitude of e-waste and in initiating pilot projects to achieve environmentally sound management of e-waste through e-waste collection, dismantling, refurbishing and recycling."  WTDC Resolution 66 (Rev. Kigali, 2022)​​

UNGA RES 77/161 also acknowledges this urgent need to “to provide developing countries and countries with economies in transition, … with financial assistance, capacity building support, and technology transfer, on mutually agreed terms, for the environmentally sound management of waste".  

The management of e-waste relates closely to numerous SDGs, such as good health and well-being (SDG 3), and decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). Contributing to the realisation of SDG 6 on clean waste and sanitation, monitoring of different e-waste streams can particularly help towards the progress of SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities (target 11.6), and SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production (targets 12.4 and 12.5) which has a sub-indicator on e-waste (SDG 12.5.1). E-waste data for this sub-indicator is obtained from the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership and Global E-waste Monitors by UNITAR and the UN Statistics Division. 

Climate Change


Digital technologies are powerful tools that can have transformative effects on the Sustainable Development Goals if developed and deployed with societal and environmental impact in mind.  For the 2024-2027 period, ITU's strategic plan (target 2.5) acknowledges the contribution of greening ICTs and telecommunications to mitigate and address the adverse effects of climate change in relation to global greenhouse gas emissions. 

WTDC Resolution 66 (Rev. Kigali, 2022) instructs the Director of the BDT to “allocate appropriate resources for initiatives related to ICTs and climate change; to support the development of reports on ICTs, environment, climate change and circular economy, taking into consideration relevant studies in ITU-D study groups;".

In addition, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP) Resolution 182 (Rev. Bucharest, 2022) highlights the role of telecommunications/information and communication technologies regarding climate change and the protection of the environment. ITU-D monitors industry emissions, energy use and climate commitments from tech companies. It also supports countries to monitor and track ICT sector GHG emissions and energy and develop green ICT strategies and policies. 

ITU's work on climate change is also closely linked to WSIS Action Line C7 e-environment, and together with WMO and UNEP, ITU is a facilitator of this action line on the promotion of ICTs as instruments for environmental protection and sustainability. 

In relation to SDG 13 on climate action, ICTs enable both the global monitoring of climate change as well as strengthen resilience by helping mitigate the effects of climate change through forecasting and early warning systems. Discover more about ICTs for a sustainable world and other SDGs, including in this video.

Study Question 6/2 on ICTs and the Environment


As an outcome of 
WTDC-22, the scope of ITU-D Study Group 2 for the 2022 – 2025 period will cover telecommunications/ICTs for monitoring and mitigating the impact of climate change, and consideration of circular economy and safe disposal of electronic waste.

For the study period 2018 – 2022, the 
ITU-D Study Question 6/2 on ICTs and the Environment, was approved by the WTDC 2017 and focused on the topics of climate change and ICT waste material, and is the result of the previous Study Questions 6/2 on ICTs and climate change and 8/2 on Strategies and policies for the proper disposal or reuse of telecommunication/ICT waste material.

REGIONAL INITIATIVES (2023-2025)


The ITU Telecommunications Development Conference (WTDC) held in Kigali in June 2022 approved a new set of Regional Initiatives for the period 2023-2025. The Regional Initiatives outlined in the Kigali Action Plan address specific needs for each major region of the world to advance and accelerate digital transformation. A number of these regional initiatives refer to sustainable development and building a resilient information society with circularity and sustainability in mind.