13 July 2017
ICT Report Showcases Role of ICTs in Accelerating SDG Achievement
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) showcases the contributions of ICT to achieving each of the 17 SDGs in a publication launched on the sidelines of the 2017 HLPF.

Key recommendations urge leaving no one offline, using ICTs as an accelerator for innovation and change, putting people first, and creating innovative, multi-stakeholder partnerships to ensure a coordinated approach to leveraging ICTs to deliver on the SDGs.

13 July 2017: The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is launching a publication that shares perspectives from 20 UN heads on how and why information and communication technologies (ICT) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is critical. The launch is taking place on the sidelines of the 2017 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The report, titled, ‘Fast-forward progress: Leveraging tech to achieve the Global Goals,’ presents five key findings and recommendations. First, it calls for leaving no one offline. Second, the report showcases ways in which ICTs are an accelerator for innovation and change, sharing examples of farmers that use satellite imagery to monitor shifting climate patterns, land use and water scarcity and opportunities for ICTs to improve capabilities to gather, analyze, manage and exchange information on health and humanitarian interventions. Next, the report calls for putting people first, underscoring how ICTs support human needs during crises. Fourth, the report cautions there is “no room for complacency,” urging leveraging ICTs now to ensure that access to ICT-enabled services reach the poorest and most marginalized. Finally, the report calls for creating new, innovative and multi-stakeholder partnerships to realize the SDGs and ensure a coordinated approach to leveraging ICTs to achieve the SDGs.

The ITU report highlights the role of ICTs in achieving all 17 SDGs. ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao recognized the particular role of ICTs in achieving SDG 9 (infrastructure, industrialization and innovation) and urged leveraging ICTs to advance achievement of all 17 of the SDGs. Zhao elaborates on synergies between ICTs and the SDGs under review at the 2017 HLPF in a blog post. For example, ICT can contributes to progress on SDG 1 (no poverty) by helping to provide access to financial services, which can lift people out of poverty. Efforts to implement e-agriculture contribute to progress on SDG 2 (zero hunger). On SDG 3 (good health and well-being), better connectivity and e-health initiatives support access to health care and services as well as exchange of critical health-related information. Other efforts focus on closing the gender digital divide to achieve SDG 5 (gender equality) and increasing scientific knowledge of oceans and marine life in support of SDG 14 (life below water).

The launch is taking place at a side event, titled ‘ICT for sustainable development: How digital solutions can drive progress towards the SDGs,’ co-organized with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and the SDG Lab. [ITU Press Release] [Publication: Fast-forward progress] [ITU Secretary-General Blog Post on ICT for SDGs] [ITU ICT and SDG Platform]

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