ICT solutions for SDGs: Focus on apps and online technology

22 Mar 2018 09:00h - 10:15h

Event report

[Read more session reports from the WSIS Forum 2018]

The session explored the concepts and application of technology for advancing the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Participants, as new stakeholders to the WSIS process, were invited to present the work of their companies in achieving sustainable development.

The moderator, Mr Sanjay Santra, from Ikure Techsoft, noted that it is not always possible to implement technological solutions that exist in the developed countries as easily in the developing world. Lack of digital infrastructure and skills are two of the problems. Santra explained how Ikure Techsoft has several data technologies to bring healthcare solutions to remote areas of India. For example, they use an interactive tool to track and cure routine maternal and child health problems. He pointed out that their model is sustainable and scalable, and has direct benefit for organisations such as the WHO, which can gather health data easily from anywhere in the world.

Ms Marija Musja, from the Empowerment Lab , remarked that not enough young girls join the information and communication technology (ICT) field, and their platform provides online education for young girls. ‘Creativity and programming skills are crucial for future employment’, Musja said. The Creativity in code project works on this issue with girls that have the will and basic computer skills. Also, a mobile application might be developed in order to reach more girls in developing countries.

Crowdfunding and blockchain were the focus of Ms Marie Debombourg from WeCan.Fund. Debombourg believes that the economy and finance sectors are changing rapidly, and various organisations and projects can benefit from crowdfunding. She noted that a strong community, a clear cause, trust and a reward are necessary for a successful campaign. Blockchain is already changing the way of doing finance and she sees this as a positive development.

Ms Patricia Sigam, of digitalMedLab, focused on three points for all mobile technology solution developers. First, even though many believe that mobile solutions should be citizen-centred, their impact is greater if focused on the professional needs of the care provider. Second, in low-income and developing countries, the question of incentive arises. The incentive for using these solutions is in their final value for the user. Therefore, the third point she made was on making the value evidence based and clearly visible. Sigam also reminded the session that the solution should be context-specific; affordable, sustainable and deployable. It is not always necessary to have only high-end technology.

Mr Andreas Heizmann, from Xatena, spoke about the importance of connecting the hospital market on the one side, and the distributor and retailers on the other, with the goal of providing the best equipment and tools to hospitals. Xatena facilitates healthcare procurement via their market platform. According to Heizmann, the right product is important, but the supply chain also has to be secure and timely. This is where blockchain provides potential for a more trustworthy and secure supply chain.

Talking about digital social media platforms and the value of users’ data, Mr Yonathan Parienti from Horyou warned: ‘Everything we do on the Internet will potentially be analysed in order to find the most efficient way for the private company to fulfil its goal.’ That is why, according to him, users need an action-oriented social network for social good. Horyou uses Spotlight, a digital currency for economic inclusion. He demonstrated what a profile on Horyou looks like and how Spotlight can be allocated to change-makers that a user wishes to support.

At the end, the audience raised several questions. The issue of privacy was mentioned, and the panel agreed that responsibility by design needs to be adopted. Parienti noted that regulation for security and safety is on the rise, but it will affect scalability and drive costs up. Further questions addressed were on the potential of applying blockchain, incentivising entrepreneurship, and creating a global central data repository.


By Jana Mišić