*The below text is the Foreword of the newly launched SDG Digital Investment Framework paper.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set to be achieved by 2030, are not currently on track. Progress can be accelerated, however, through the transformational potential of digital technologies, and this was clearly recognized by UN Secretary-General António Guterres last year when he established the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
To date, in spite of significant efforts and investments in digital technologies and applications for development, amounting to billions of dollars worldwide, progress has been hampered by a lack of coordination, and in particular from not taking a whole-of-government approach to digital investments.
This paper sets out an SDG Digital Investment Framework which is intended to be the start of a new dialogue with the digital investment community, building on the global Call to Action presented at the UN General Assembly in 2018.
It encourages a whole-of-government approach and sets out to help governments address key strategic investment questions and choose effective, scalable technology-based solutions – and in particular help them to consider using ICT Building Blocks for economies of scale and maximum return on investment.
The SDG Digital Investment Framework is the first iteration of a process which aims to expand to include all of the main development priorities encompassed by the SDGs.
In this first edition, it looks at some of the main development sectors such as agriculture, education and healthcare, and how technology can not just play an important part, but also be applied in a cross-sectoral fashion, in addressing the issues.
ITU and DIAL have benefitted from the help, input and expertise of numerous specialists in the production of this paper, and we welcome further inputs for future editions.
In the meantime, we hope that this paper will serve as an important starting point for governments looking to implement effective strategies to help leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in achieving the SDGs.