The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has issued a statement urging policymakers, the private sector and other partners to make deployment of broadband infrastructure a top priority in strategies to accelerate global development and progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The statement was presented to the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is meeting in New York City 10-19 July 2017 to guide global efforts on the achievement of the SDGs.
In the statement, the Commission – a high-powered community, including top CEO and industry leaders, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, academia and organizations concerned with development – outlines the many ways that broadband can improve global sustainable development, and in so doing, better the lives of millions around the globe.
These include addressing basic needs such as healthcare and food production, and helping lift people out of poverty through e-commerce opportunities and job growth, monitoring climate change and planetary processes, and bridging the digital gender divide.
“We must work together,” said the Commission in its statement, “to harness the opportunities and benefits of ICTs, new and emerging technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence, as well as broadband-based technologies, while safeguarding against their downsides and risks. This will be critical to achieve the SDGs and realize the future we want. Let us seize the historical opportunity of the SDGs to build a model of sustainable development anchored by universal access to affordable broadband technologies and digital literacy in order to fulfil a future where no one is left behind.”“The theme of the 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’. The Broadband Commission statement to the HLPF highlights the critical role of ICTs to do so, and outlines the fundamental role broadband technology can play in helping the world achieve its most pressing sustainable development goals,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General. “Their statement urges HLPF attendees to recognize the need for the global roll-out of broadband infrastructures, devices, applications and services to make progress towards achieving the SDGs.”