What can information and communication technology (ICT) companies do to help the world get closer to realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
“The SDGs are aspirational, but give us a guide on what we as companies can do with our resources,” said Astrid S. Tuminez, Microsoft’s Regional Director of Corporate, External & Legal Affairs for South East Asia, in conversation at ITU Telecom World 2016.
One of the key resources to achieving ICT development is cloud computing, according to Dr Tuminez.
“With the public cloud today, so many of the barriers to education, to commerce, to communication have fallen down,” she said. “Cloud should not be leaving people behind; it should be a cloud that is trusted, inclusive and responsible.”
By achieving these three pillars, the cloud drives innovation and spreads the benefits of connectivity while ensuring the privacy of citizens and protecting against cybercrime. It can also empower marginalized communities, such as out-of-school youth, women and rural areas while ensuring environmental safeguards.
Taking cybercrime as an example, Dr Tuminez also stressed the importance of public-private collaboration: “Solving [cybercrime] requires collaboration with policy and regulation from the government, education and awareness from the ICT companies, as well as technical solutions that can be demonstrated and then scaled.”
Dr Tuminez also noted some of Microsoft’s activities to achieve gender equality and mainstreaming in ICT from digital literacy and computer science to exposing young girls and women to the wide range of careers available in the tech industry.
Her first time attending ITU Telecom World, Dr Tuminez spoke about the value of the event. “At the lunch table … there was tremendous diversity and viewpoints,” she said. “I thought it was a very fertile conversation, and my sense is at ITU World Telecom, those are the kinds of conversations that could happen and we move forward with better ideas.”