ICT and Broadband’s Role in the Post 2015 Development Agenda

Sustainable Development Goals - sustainabledevelopment.un.org

This is part of our year-long series “Millennium Development Goals Tech Roadmap”

According to a new report released by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, over 50 percent of the world will have Internet access by 2017.  This is due largely in part to the rapid growth of mobile technology.

Approximately 2.3 billion people will access mobile broadband by the end of the year, and a predicted 7.6 billion within the next five years. South Korea still leads the world with the highest household broadband penetration at 98 percent and the least connected in Timor-Leste at 1.1 percent.

The Commission has set four goals for 2015:

  • Target 1: Making broadband policy universal. By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access / Service Definitions.
  • Target 2: Making broadband affordable. By 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (amounting to less than 5% of average monthly income).
  • Target 3: Connecting homes to broadband. By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
  • Target 4: Getting people online. By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in LDCs.

But what about after 2015?

The United Nations and civil society organizations are now drafting a post-2015 development agenda with a new set of universal benchmarks – the Sustainable Development Goals – to build upon the Millennium Development Goals with updated solutions to today’s challenges.

The Task Force on Sustainable Development and the Post 2015 Development Agenda put out its own report – Means of Transformation: Harnessing Broadband for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Unlike the MDGs, the 17 SDGs have more emphasis on how ICTs can play a role in facing new global challenges and four SDGs specifically mention ICTs.  Goals 5, 9 and 17 explicitly target ICTs as a means of implementation.

For instance, SDG Goal 4 would “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.”  The Task Force translates this as providing more ICT training in both developing and developed countries.

In another example, SDG Goal 9 suggests to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation,” which includes a target to “significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to Internet in LDCs (least developed countries) by 2020.”

Below are the full proposals regarding ICTs:

Sustainable Development Goals - sustainabledevelopment.un.org

Sustainable Development Goals - sustainabledevelopment.un.org

The recommendations from the Broadband Commission were also very specific.  Chief among them is to make ICTs more accessible and available to everyone, improve public-private ICT partnerships and the ensure that ICTs and broadband are prominently included in all future development discussions.

For more information:

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development released the 2014 edition of the State of Broadband report.

The Task Force on Sustainable Development and the Post 2015 Development Agenda released its second report – Means of Transformation: Harnessing Broadband for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Working Group on Financing and Investment released its first report –  Creating a Favourable Environment for Attracting Finance and Investment in Broadband Infrastructure.

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