*Today, ITU marks World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). This year’s theme, “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” focuses on the five strategic goals of the Connect 2030 Agenda: growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnership.
Here is how ITU’s Development Sector (ITU-D) is working to achieve the Connect 2030 Agenda.
World Telecommunication & Information Society Day 2020 comes at an extraordinary juncture in human history. Amidst all the disquiet, disruption and distress caused by COVID-19, digital technology has emerged as the ‘hidden hero’ of the crisis.
If there is one thing the events of the past few months have dramatically illustrated, it is the critical importance of connectivity. This pandemic has also underscored the urgent need for global digital cooperation.
We have a unique chance to harness the unprecedented political will to connect the world and make huge strides to advance development for all.
The past few months have shown the urgent need to protect society’s most vulnerable; to take into account the special needs of women and girls, who are disproportionately affected by this pandemic; and to increase our vigilance when it comes to children, who are now online in record numbers, and at heightened risk from cyber predators.
I think the world is finally beginning to understand that there will be no Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without information and communication technology (ICT).
In the Bureau of Telecommunication Development (BDT), we are continuing our work towards digital transformation to achieve socio-economic development for all and are working to support countries in the COVID-19 response and recovery phases.
Our thematic priorities are many: from capacity development, cybersecurity, digital inclusion, innovation, services and applications, to emergency telecommunications, the environment, network and digital infrastructure, policy and regulations and statistics.
Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) are fully integrated into our work to achieve sustainable development for all. We encourage a whole-government, people-centred approach that sustainably benefits communities, people and countries.
ICT development also represents an extraordinary opportunity to truly change the world. We continue to work closely with other UN organizations to advance meaningful connectivity. Some of our impact partnerships include GIGA, Equals, PRIDA, Be Healthy Be Mobile, ITU-ILO digital skills campaigns, among others.
In the BDT, my team is also beginning its preparations for the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), which will take place next year in Addis Ababa. WTDC is the best chance we have had in decades to mobilize the global community around digital transformation and reshape the connectivity agenda.
On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, I urge us all to put universal connectivity at the very top of our agendas to achieve sustainable development for all.