ICTs as a catalyst for sustainable development
Friday, 15 July 2016
1:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Conference Room 4

Side Event


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that the spread of information and communication technology (ICTs) and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, as does scientific and technological innovation across areas as diverse as medicine and energy. In doing so, Members States have committed to harnessing the potential of ICTs to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally agreed development goals, noting that they can accelerate progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and have made a call on all Governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, the technical and academic communities and all other relevant stakeholders to integrate information and communications technologies into their approaches to implementing the Goals. It also specifies specific targets for the use of ICTs for sustainable development in education (Goal 4), gender equality (Goal 5), infrastructure (Goal 9 – universal and affordable access to the internet) and Goal 17 – Partnerships and means of implementation.

Indeed, ICTs are vital in driving progress towards achieving each and every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. ICTs are already empowering billions of individuals around the world – by providing access to education resources and healthcare, and services such as mobile banking, e-government and social media, among others.

This session will focus on three main aspects of ICT-based empowering solutions for SDGs achievement:

  1. Access to advanced technologies has grown at a fast pace and yet the impressive gains are still hampered by existing gaps in ICT access – between and within countries, between urban and rural settings, among men and women, and boys and girls. A major digital divide is still in place, with more people offline than online and particularly poor access in vulnerable developing nations. The challenge now is to bring the rest of the world online and ensuring that no one is left behind.

  2. Preview of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) report #System Transformation – How digital solutions will drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on the key findings of the study and the GeSI commitment to make the SDGs the central framework of its activities up to 2030, including through stakeholder partnerships. The project includes an analyses of not only the opportunities linked to ICT for the SDGs, but also the measures needed to overcome the current barriers to uptake.

  3. The mobile industry’s critical role in promoting, advancing and measuring the SDGs. From collaborating on accelerating a data revolution for sustainable development to ensuring that tools and applications are developed with vulnerable communities in mind so that no one is left behind, the industry's commitment to work together and in partnership will be a game changer in leveraging the socio-economic impact of mobile technologies on individuals, businesses and governments around the world.

    The need for multi-stakeholder engagement and cooperation is essential in light of the still existing barriers to ICT adoption. Joint action by policymakers, multilateral organizations and the ICT sector will be required to connect the billions of currently unconnected individuals and, to deliver a range of life-enhancing and life-changing services at the required speed, scale, and complexity of transformation needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.


Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ‎Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership Department, International Telcommunication Union

Christopher Lloyd, Vice Chair GeSI Board - Executive Director, Public Policy Development & Corporate Responsibility, Verizon

Jessica Long, Managing Director - Strategy & Sustainability, Accenture

Julia Burchell, Senior Manager, Insights, GSMA

Isabelle Mauro , Head of Telecommunications, World Economic Forum


Gary Fowlie, Head, ITU Liaison Office to the United Nations

[1] The Global e-Sustainability Initiative, comprises over 30 of the world’s leading ICT companies

United Nations