Development - other

Updates

The GSM Association (GSMA) released a report on mobile-enabled digital transformation in Uganda in co-operation with the government of Uganda and a number of international development agencies. The report was launched during a high-level round table that examined how Uganda could advance the national and global sustainable development agenda through mobile-enabled digital transformation. The report was accompanied by a draft action plan to be implemented during the next two years which highlights several mobile-enabled activities that would overcome some of the local challenges across different sectors and hence progress development goals. There are five areas where mobile technology is impacting Uganda: (a) productivity and efficiency, (b) service delivery, (c) good governance and social justice, (d) climate change and the environment, and (e) digital entrepreneurship and emerging technologies. The study notes that three key mobile services, namely connectivity, mobile money, and cellular Internet of things (IoT), are driving digital transformation in Uganda through supporting the priority areas in the national development plan and achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). Yet, more co-operation among stakeholders is still required to improve digital and financial inclusion to underserved communities and further promote mobile-enabled solutions in the Ugandan national development plan.

Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Ltd. partners with 40 universities in Nigeria to establish a Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) and provide industrially recognised information and communication technology (ICT) certification in networks, routing, and switching. In addition to connectivity, Huawei has been working in enhancing ICT skills and talents among practitioners in Nigeria by providing training to 20 000 ICT engineers who are currently managing the network of the country. ‘Since starting operations in Nigeria in 1999, Huawei has been working with local operators to providing safe, stable and high-quality communication networks in the country; currently covering about half of the population,’ said Huawei’s Managing Director Zhang Lulu. During a media event in Lagos, Lulu also reiterated the firm’s commitment to achieve digital inclusion in Nigeria through improving ICT infrastructure with quality and innovative solutions that are crafted to meet local needs and promoting ICT knowledge and skills among youth.

The second Arab High-level Forum on World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and 2030 Agenda was organised by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Arab Regional Office, the Lebanese Government, OGERO Telecom-Lebanon, and the League of Arab States from 19-20 March 2019, in Beirut, Lebanon. The forum, which was attended by private and public sector members, tackled different topics including Internet governance, digital financial inclusion, and the digital economy in the context of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). During the forum, participants emphasised the importance of large infrastructures to improve Internet access and e-services. Research, development, and innovation were further accentuated as essentials to promote digital economy. During the opening ceremony, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti, noted that the Arab region is still lagging vis-à-vis the adoption of technology to support sustainable development. The Lebanese Minister of Telecommunication also highlighted that the linkage between WSIS and the 2030 Agenda is ‘the most practical way’ to achieve sustainable development.

Tropical storm Cyclone Idai caused massive human destruction in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi with hundreds of deaths and thousands of displacements. Among the international aid that reached the region was support from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the form of 30 satellite phones from Iridium Satellite Communications to Mozambique and 20 satellite phones to be sent to Zimbabwe. Emergency telecommunications can play a pivotal role in the immediate aftermath of disasters through supporting flow of information required for effective co-ordination of humanitarian response efforts. ‘The equipment deployed by ITU will enable vital links to coordinate relief and rescue efforts. ITU is committed to ongoing support during emergencies. When disaster strikes, there is no time to think about what to do and how organize our work. That’s why we are prepared and ready to take action at tragic times like this,’ highlights Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which co-ordinates ITU’s emergency telecommunications activities.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a new policy brief that pinpoints the opportunities and challenges of digital platforms for development. the report notes that digital platforms can enhance efficiency through reducing transaction costs, decreasing customer prices, improving market access, ameliorating the use of underutilised resources, boosting flexibility for services provision, and promoting competition. Yet, the market power of certain digital platforms represents a challenge, let alone the pertinent ramifications on competition and consumer protection, data protection and privacy, taxation, and employment and working conditions. The report suggests that to capitalise on digital platforms and to address their social, political, and economic knock-on effects, such challenges should be tackled through sound policies and regulations. Further discussion on digital platforms for development is planned to take place during the global eCommerce Week 2019, 1-5 April at Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

A study made by the Alliance for Accountable Internet (A4AI) based on the newly released Mobile Broadband Pricing data for Q4 2018 has shown that the average price of a gigabyte (GB) of data in relation to income increased over the past year (2018) for low-income countries. This new trend worsens the situation considering that low-income countries already face the least affordable mobile broadband prices in the world. The implication of this is that the already-wide digital gap deepens further and act as a barrier to greater socio-economic equality

The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.

What are the effects of the global Internet on international development? How can ICTs opportunities for development be harnessed and controlled?  

Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, there have been many initiatives aimed to explore the ways in which ICTs could catalyse development; some examples include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s ICT for Development programme, and the 2015 and 2016 WSIS Forums, which heavily focused on linking the SDGs to ICT solutions. The 2016 World Development Report of the World Bank provided an in-depth look into the broader development benefits from using digital technologies.

The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) process has strongly positioned itself in the development context. In 2015, WSIS Action Line facilitators published a matrix, linking the Action Lines directly to the SDGs. WSIS Forum 2016 anchored all activities and plans in the context of the SDGs. As the links between the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs show, the effects of ICT on socio-economic development are diverse and multi-directional. As ICT has deeply penetrated the dynamics of connected societies, it can have a pivotal effect on modern-day economies in a multitude of domains. For example, ICT can help in the fight against poverty, by improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, ICT applications in the health sector can promote well-being, and applications in education can stimulate quality education and learning opportunities for all. The accessibility to ICT for vulnerable groups can help in their empowerment, and use of ICTs by governments has the potential to generate more effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions.

These are only a handful of examples of the wide-ranging effect of ICTs on socio-economic development. The topic was addressed in further detail in the World Bank’s 2016 Development Report, Digital Dividends, which offers a comprehensive analysis of the benefits that digital technologies can bring for development. According to the report, digital technologies bring benefits to people (easier access to information, jobs, and other opportunities), businesses (more productivity and trade, greater competition and innovation), and governments (better public services and enhanced interaction with citizens). Yet, challenges remain in fully capturing the opportunities that digital technologies generate, and countries need to work on ‘analog complements’, including strengthened regulations and accountable institutions.

Finally, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development has focused its 2015-2016 intersessional activity on the theme ‘Foresight for digital development’, examining the potential long-term effects of quickly-developing digital applications (including the Internet of Things, online education, 3D printing, digital automation, etc.) on the economy, society, and the environment. The Commission has made a number of recommendations to governments, encouraging them to, inter alia, adopt appropriate policies to support the development of emerging technologies and to take advantage of the opportunities they create, and to promote an enabling environment for digital development, with a focus on areas such as human capital, ICT and complementary infrastructure, and legal frameworks.

In short, the effects of ICTs on socio-economic development are complex and wide-ranging. Moreover, with the continuous innovations in the ICT sector, it has become a challenge to have up-to-date information about the social consequences and potential of digital technologies. Nevertheless, the growing interest in these social and economic dimensions of ICTs provides possibilities to better measure and untangle the web of ICT’s impact on society, and to find out how to best utilise ICT applications for socio-economic development.

 

Events

Actors

(CSTD)

The CSTD reviews progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes at the regional and

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The CSTD reviews progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes at the regional and international level, and it prepares draft resolutions for the UN Economic and Social Council. These draft resolutions tackle issues ranging from access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and Internet, to  the use of ICTs for early warning and mitigating climate change. At its annual sessions and inter-sessional panels, the Commission also addresses development-related themes such as: science, technology, and innovation for sustainable cities and communities; ICT for inclusive social and economic development; digital development; Internet broadband for inclusive societies; and smart cities and infrastructure.

(ICT4Peace)

In the area of online content policy, the ICT for Peace Foundation is engaged in activities concerning the use

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In the area of online content policy, the ICT for Peace Foundation is engaged in activities concerning the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. The Foundation is organising events and producing publications on this issue, with the main aim of raising awareness and promoting a multistakeholder dialogue on possible solutions for countering terrorist use of the Internet. Together with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the organisation runs a global engagement project working with other stakeholders to develop community standards around the prevention of violent extremism online, consistent with UN principles, including in the area of human rights.

(IPU)

In line with its objective to build strong and democratic parliaments, the IPU assists parliaments in building

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In line with its objective to build strong and democratic parliaments, the IPU assists parliaments in building their capacity to use information and communications technologies (ICT) effectively. In 2005, the IPU, together with UNDESA, established a Global Centre on ICT in Parliament, mainly aimed at promoting the use of ICTs in parliaments as a mean to increase transparency and effectiveness. The IPU has also been mandated by its member states to carry on capacity development programmes for parliamentary bodies tasked to oversee observance of the right to privacy and individual freedoms in the digital environment.

(WEF)

Within the framework of its Digital Economy and Society initiative, WEF has launched the

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Within the framework of its Digital Economy and Society initiative, WEF has launched the Internet for All project, aimed at bringing online tens of millions of Internet users by the end of 2019, initially through programmes targeted at the Northern Corridor in Africa, Argentina, and India. In addition to this project, WEF also undertakes research on Internet-access-related issues. One notable example is the annual Global Information Technology Report and the related Networked Readiness Index, which measures, among others, the rates of Internet deployment worldwide. Internet access and the digital divide are also addressed in the framework of various WEF initiatives such as its annual meetings and regional events.

(BCSD)

The Commission promotes the adoption of practices and policies that enable the deployment of broadband network

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The Commission promotes the adoption of practices and policies that enable the deployment of broadband networks at national level, especially within developing countries. It engages in advocacy activities aimed to demonstrate that broadband networks are basic infrastructures in modern societies and could accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals. The Commission publishes an annual State of the Broadband Report, providing an overview of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by-country data measuring broadband access. Other reports, open letters, and calls for actions issues by the Commission also underline the benefits of broadband as a critical infrastructure towards achieving growth and development.

(WHO)

E-health/digital health is one the WHO’s focus areas.

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E-health/digital health is one the WHO’s focus areas. Several General Assembly resolutions focused on issues such as: health data standardisation, the operation of the .health top level domain, e-health in national health systems, the online advertising and selling medical products, etc. An e-health unit works on promoting the use of ICT in health for development, while various departments produce studies and guidelines on e-health/digital health issues. The organisation also integrates ‘digital health interventions’ in its strategies for dealing with certain diseases. A Global Observatory for e-health aims at assisting member states with information and guidance on practices and standards in e-health.

NetHope
(NetHope)

GSMA
(GSMA)

World Bank
(World Bank)

World Wide Web Foundation
(Web Foundation)

Instruments

Resolutions & Declarations

WHO Resolution 66.24 - 'eHealth Standardization and Interoperability' (2013)

Other Instruments

Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 111 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 23 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 29 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 34 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 35 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 55 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 69 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 72 (2005)

Resources

Africa goes digital: Leaving no one behind (2018)
Blockchain Technology and Internet Governance (2017)

Publications

Internet Governance Acronym Glossary (2015)
An Introduction to Internet Governance (2014)

Reports

Rule of Law and Democracy in the Digital Society: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe (2018)
ICT Facts and Figures 2017 (2017)
Global Information Technology Report 2016 (2016)
Advancing Digital Societies in Asia (2016)
UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2016 (2016)
The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband (2016)
Internet for All: A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption (2016)
e-Commerce in India: A Game Changer for the Economy (2016)
A New Regulatory Framework for the Digital Ecosystem (2016)
Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development (2016)
Measuring the Information Society 2015 (2015)
The 2015 BCG e-Intensity Index (2015)
UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030 (2015)
The Mobile Economy - Arab States 2015 (2015)
Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation Survey 2015 (2015)
OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015 (2015)
The Global Information Technology Report 2015: ICTs for Inclusive Growth (2015)
The Relationship between Local Content, Internet Development and Access Prices (2013)
Smart Policies to Close the Digital Divide: Best Practices from Around the World (2012)

GIP event reports

Table-Ronde sur la Gouvernance Internationale du Numérique (2019)
Principles for AI: Towards a Humanistic Approach? (2019)
30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web (2019)
The deployment of automated mobility services (2019)
Cybersecurity impact and outlook for automotive systems (2019)
Connected and automated vehicles at the cross-roads to success (2019)
Scaling up human rights due diligence through the use of blockchain (2018)
Data & diplomats: capacity development for diplomats and policy-makers in the data age (2018)
Closing session: Implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data – the way forward (2018)
The Open Algorithms (OPAL) Project: What has been achieved in Senegal and Colombia and how can it scale? (2018)
Relevant to everyone’s sense of “me, here, now”: data literacy as the means towards a social inclusion revolution (2018)
Investment and the Digital Economy (2018)
Global Leaders Investment Summit I: Investment in a new era of globalization (2018)
Matchmaking for the data revolution: bringing data producers and users together (2018)
Increasing Trust in Data and Statistics (2018)
Developing Capacities for the 2030 Agenda: Moving towards Implementation (2018)
Opening session: Harnessing the power of data for sustainable development (2018)
Effective Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in a world of data: How to say no and better coordinate technical assistance (2018)
Big Data for Sustainable Development: what does it take to get to the next level? (2018)
Sustainable technology-enabled trade and a more inclusive trading system - Small state, ACP States, LDC and SSA perspective (2018)
Inclusive trade and new technologies: Challanges for African countries (2018)
Privacy and consumer protection in the age of artificial intelligence (2018)
Leveraging technology to support SMEs in LDCs: Opportunities and challenges (2018)
Digital Trade and Cyber Security: Catalysts for Development? (2018)
Digital trade - Global anarchy or revival of rule-based world order? (2018)
Competition issues in the context of technology and internet-based firms (2018)
Blockchain and the future of trade: fostering sustainability and inclusiveness through innovative distributed ledger technologies (2018)
Will technology help developing countries have easier access to trade finance (2018)
The great connector: Digital trade policy as a path to a comprehensive framework for multilateral regulations of trade and socio-economic development (2018)
How can WTO contribute to ensure that technology enables trade in goods and services in 2030 and beyond? Is the e-commerce multilateral initiative the right solution? (2018)
A workers' agenda for e-commerce (2018)
Technology for trade and agriculture: Unleashing agriculture global value chains' (GVCs) potential in OIC member countries (2018)
Opening Plenary Debate (2018)
E-commerce 2030: Enabling an inclusive future for e-commerce (2018)
Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development: regional experiences to promote youth employment and address inequality (2018)
Better data for sustainable development (2018)
Combining Digital Governance and Stakeholder Knowledge to Promote Innovation and Transformative Actions in Support of the 2030 Agenda (2018)
Ireland’s innovative approach to monitoring the SDG indicators through geospatial visualisation (2018)
From up there to down here: Big space data and the SDGs (2018)
Knowledge frameworks to accelerate the 2030 Agenda (2018)
It’s in the Numbers – the Power of Partnerships to Measure SDG Progress (2018)
Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: Striving for Sustainable Development Goals (2018)
Session 3: Policy and regulation perspective – Privacy and beyond (2018)
Blockchain for transition towards sustainable and resilient societies (2018)
StaTact, data and monitoring for resilient societies (2018)
Thematic review: Advancing Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (2018)
ICT enabling the transition towards sustainable and resilient societies (2018)
Roundtable Discussion: AI for Development (2018)
Leadership Debate: Emerging Technologies for Digital Transformation (2018)
Scaling solutions for Goal 12 for smartphones and ICT (2018)
Opening Session and Session 1: AI and Cybersecurity – The State of Play (2018)
Monitoring peace, evaluating institutions, building capacity: A data-driven conversation on SDG 16 and its upcoming 2019 review (2018)
Session 4 – Ways forward and closing (2018)
Session 2: AI and IoT – Exploit the potential for building confidence and security in the use of ICTs (2018)
Privacy is Everywhere: How to Deal with Emerging Problems? (2018)
Applying Technology to Reinforce Security and Promote Development (2018)
Create Your Digital Future: Transforming Lives and Businesses in Europe (2018)
Building on a Blockchain (2018)
Blockchain – A competition to Governments? (2018)
Implementations of AI to Advance the SDGs – Panel 4: Safe and Secure AI (2018)
Projects in Action: Towards AI and Data Commons – Part 2 (2018)
Projects in Action: Towards AI and Data Commons – Part 1 (2018)
Ideas for Impact: AI Breakthrough Team Project Pitches (2018)
Collaborating and Investing in Beneficial AI (2018)
Celebration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day AI-Powered Moonshots – Meet the Astronauts (2018)
Building Trust for Beneficial AI – Trustworthy Systems (2018)
AI for Outbreaks, Emergency Response, and Risk Reduction (2018)
Storytellers (2018)
Building Trust for Beneficial AI – Developer Communities (2018)
AI Fostering Smart Government (2018)
AI Empowering Smart Citizens (2018)
AI + Smart Cities and communities (2018)