Ericsson and the Earth Institute at Columbia University have presented key findings from new research that highlights how information and communication technology (ICT), and in particular mobile technology, can help accelerate the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are expected to be passed this week by the UN General Assembly.
ICTs key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals
According to Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, the new goals need to leverage existing and widely deployed technologies, but also future developments in ICT – including next-generation mobile broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, 3D printing and others. These will provide the tools necessary for unprecedented advances in health care, education, energy services, agriculture, and environmental monitoring and protection.
One key point of the report is that governments need to ensure that the entire public sector, including service delivery in health care, education and infrastructure, is fully supported by high-quality ICT systems.
The 2015 State of Broadband Report, launched just ahead of the forthcoming SDG Summit in New York and the parallel meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on September 26, confirms that access to information and communication technologies, particularly broadband Internet, has the potential to serve as a major accelerator of development, with the importance of ICT connectivity specifically recognized in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the 17 goals now firmly on the global agenda, governments and private industry both have a strong interest in finding ways to get people online, the report argues. The report reveals however that 57 per cent of the world’s people remain offline and are therefore unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits that the Internet can offer.
Creating an enabling regulatory environment
Creating the conditions for a data-driven economy to flourish has become even more important in a digital world, so getting the regulatory environment right is absolutely vital. Characterized by greater complexity and cross-sectoral implications, regulators and policy makers are faced with the enormous social and economic disruption that ICTs are bringing in their wake and the challenge of crafting appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks to meet this challenge. ITU’s Trends in Telecommunications Reform 2015 recommends flexible, light-touch regulation, and a recognition of the rights of both businesses and consumers in defining new frameworks for an emerging global digital environment.
But what kind of regulation is needed to close the digital gap and to ensure digital inclusion and access to the tremendous opportunities offered by apps and m-services, including m-payment/banking, m-commerce, m-health, m-education, m-agriculture, and m- governance? ITU’s 2015 Global Symposium for Regulators Best Practice Guidelines invite telecom/ICT regulators to identify pro-active policy and innovative regulatory measures to: raise awareness about the potential of m-services and applications to achieve socio-economic opportunities by empowering citizens; lift regulatory and technical barriers and foster access, development and take-up of apps and m-services; to ensure ease of use, trust, privacy and confidence as well as basic security in the use of m-services and applications taking into consideration their transnational nature; and, identify the roles and responsibilities of the government, the telecom/ICT regulator, the industry and consumers to facilitate and stimulate uptake and use in a safe and secure manner.
Image Source: Ericsson