Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University have released a new report highlighting ICT’s role in accelerating achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, says: “ICT and broadband are being deployed with strong social purpose to deliver improvements in health, education, payments, business development and agricultural production – and even peace-building in South Sudan and beyond.”
The SDGs call for several breakthroughs by 2030, including an end to extreme poverty and hunger, while improving access to health care and education, protecting the environment, and building peaceful, inclusive societies.
However, business-as-usual will not be sufficient to achieve many of the SDGs. Transformative solutions are urgently needed, along with new partnerships between governments, the private sector, international organizations, civil society and academia.
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, says: “Each SDG is positively impacted by ICT. By embracing broadband as critical infrastructure for the 21st century, we can create the foundations for unprecedented global social and economic progress.
“Our latest report is a call to action for governments to harness technology, investment and new types of partnerships to achieve the SDGs and ensure nobody is left behind.”
The report, ICT and SDGs: How Information and Communications Technology Can Accelerate Action on the Sustainable Development Goals, includes:
- An assessment of the current state of broadband deployment: approximately 90 percent of the world’s population will be covered by mobile broadband in 2021, although much remains to be done to achieve universal coverage that includes public facilities such as schools and clinics.
- Five ways in which ICT can be a powerful means of implementing change: speed and scale of uptake; reduced deployment costs; growth in public awareness; delivery of innovation, connectivity, productivity and efficiency gains across sectors; rapid upgrade rates.
- Case studies illustrating how ICT can support achievement of the SDGs: including breakthroughs in digital education, e-governance and health care, mobile money as a tool for financial inclusion and new business models to connect the unconnected.
- An analysis of current SDG indicators: highlighting the current lack of adequate measurements to capture technological transformation and the need for new indicators.
- Recommendations for each highlighted sector to leverage ICT effectively to achieve the SDGs by 2030: for technology and innovation to deliver transformational change at the pace and scale required, three key supporting aspects need to align – an enabling policy framework, strong Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), and sufficient public and private investment.
The report has been released in conjunction with the 26th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, held in Kigali, Rwanda from May 11 to May 13, 2016. The theme for the event is “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”, where Ericsson also announced its role as the technology advisor to the SMART Africa Alliance in the development of a more connected and fully functioning knowledge-based society in Africa.