I was very pleased to see that earlier this week the United Nations Development Programme reached an agreement on the "post-2015 development agenda" that includes a strong recognition of the role that information and communication technology (ICT) has in bringing about a better world.
These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are important because they guide the direction of UN activity – and through that the member countries – with regard to improving the lives of people and ensuring peace, prosperity and the sustainability of our planet.
This new document, "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development", has at its heart the need to involve all relevant stakeholders. The Internet Society and many others worked hard to ensure that the importance of the Internet is recognised in the overall development context. So I was delighted to see the inclusion of the following brief, but I believe fundamentally important formula in the operational parts of the UN development agenda for the next 5 years.
It is a simple formula which reads in para 9c 'Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020'.
Bravo. A truly excellent objective in the achievement in which the Internet Society will be very pleased to participate. Since our founding in 1992, bringing about an Internet where the opportunity is available to everyone has been and continues to be a critical part of our mission.
I was also pleased by other sections of the document that emphasize the importance of partnerships with stakeholders across all segments of society, not only governments. This kind of collaboration is key to creating the Internet of opportunity that we want to see for all.
Importantly, the Sustainable Development Agenda provides an excellent foundation for the discussions we will have as part of the UN Review of the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2015. Great progress has been made on the lines of inquiry over the past ten years. But, the progress has been uneven. The main priority of the world now should be to connect the rest of the world. The post 2015 development agenda informs of us WHAT must be done; the most important outcome of WSIS for the advancement of those goals is to embrace the Internet, and the multistakeholder culture of the Internet, as a vital tool for HOW to meet the development goals.
This news this week is a great step forward and I look forward to further discussion – and adoption – of these goals at meetings in the UN next month.
NOTE: For background information about the Sustainable Development Goals, please see our paper, "The Internet and Sustainable Development".
Photo credit: UN Sustainable Development Goals