In Brazil, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply signed a technical cooperation agreement focusing on exporting Brazilian Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for agriculture. The agreement also establishes the creation of the Agro 4.0 Chamber, as part of the National Plan for the Internet of Things. Argo 4.0 Chamber will function as a joined body in which representatives from the government, private companies, and academia will participate, in order to build a strategy for creating internet-connected farms.
Published by the European Commission, a brochure titled ‘The Connecting Europe Facility - Five years supporting European infrastructure’ offers a comprehensive overview of the achievements of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme over the past 5 years with a brief look at the challenges up to 2020. In the 5 year period since the launch of the programme, the European Commission has allocated €26.4 billion in grants for actions in the Transport, Energy and Telecom sectors.
CEF contributes to strengthening the competitiveness of the EU economy and its transition to climate neutrality and plays a key role in implementing the Commission 's priorities concerning smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
High-level Panel on Sustainable Development addresses the relationship between digital transformation and the SDGs
The seventh edition of the High-level Panel on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was concluded on 19 July. The HLPF was convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) under the theme of ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’ between 9 July and 19 July 2019. The two week event was dedicated to the review of six SDGs, namely Goal 4, Goal 8. Goal 10, Goal 13, Goal 16 and Goal 17. A number of sessions were addressed the interlinkage between digital transformation and the realisation of the SDGs. Among other things. discussions explored the relationship between the youth and technology, ICTs and inclusiveness, the opportunities and challenges of the digital revolution as well as the role of data in ensuring decent work.
The forum, taking place in Singapore, gathered 16 APEC economies with the aim to examine policy solutions to strengthen digital skills and the digital economy. Whereas the digital economy is evolving at a great rate, education systems are not adapting accordingly.
‘Skills mismatches hurt workers and the broader economy. Productivity declines when key jobs remain vacant. APEC requires more skills training programs to reduce the global shortage of highly-skilled workers, which may soon exceed 38 million people,’ noted Professor Dong Sun Park. Professor Park, Chair of the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group.
In addition, a survey was launched with the aim to showcase skill mismatches that affect the digital economy. Namely, according to the survey, 75 per cent of respondents, consisting of employers, government officials and academics, report significant skills mismatch.
The Rwanda Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) in cooperation with the GSMA and local operators Airtel and MTN launched ‘We Care’ initiative during the Mobile 360 Africa event on 16-18 July in Kigali. The initiative aims at promoting digital services, improving digital literacy, and enhancing information and communication technology (ICT) penetration in Rwanda. “Smartphones are important ICT tools that can be used to access key digital services: education and information, healthcare, financial services, amongst others. Increasing digital inclusion in Rwanda will therefore go a long way in empowering our citizens and we are looking forward to a sustainable collaboration” affirmed Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda Paula Ingabire. Through this initiative, Airtel and MTN will provide on the first year training to 10,000 sales agents on how to access mobile internet services using GSMA’s Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT). ‘We Care’ is a global initiative by GSMA that supports the mobile industry to commit to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Digital Declaration.
The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has published its annual report titled ‘Technology for Development’. Centred around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the report is based on the following three pillars: sustainable development, social justice, and regional integration. ESCWA highlights that ‘properly harnessed technology can play an important equalising role, opening new pathways to inclusion, safety, empowerment and access’. The report tackles how technology could advance the implementation of SDGs and reaffirms the commitment of Arab leaders to technological innovation and sustainability.
Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019: Technology and innovation ‘can drive progress across all 17 SDGs’
The United Nations published the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019. The data-based report acknowledges that technology and innovation through digital transformation ‘can drive progress across all 17 SDGs’ and therefore contribute to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.
Digital technology is tackled in the analysis of SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure) where progress on mobile connectivity is highlighted given that nowadays ‘90% of people live within the rage of a 3G or higher quality mobile network’. Nonetheless, affordability still remains a challenge to access to cellular networks and is therefore regarded as one of the causes of persisting digital divide. The report also notes that high-tech manufacturing i.e., production of computers, TVs, and other communication devices is increasing across the regions except in sub-Saharan Africa where it decreased by 3.1% in comparison to the results from 2000.
During the international forum on the use of the ICT for peaceful purposes organised in Cuba, the country’s officials called for peaceful development of information technology, stressing its potential to promote social and economic growth of developing states.
Cuban Deputy Minister of Communications Wilfredo Gonzalez sees cooperation among countries in the formulation and implementation of measures to ensure security in the field of ICT key to preserving international peace, security and stability. ‘By holding this forum, we intend to build a platform that allows dialogue and exchange on good practices in topics such as Internet governance, application of international law, ICT security and responsible use by individuals, organizations and states,’ Gonzalez said.
The forum gathered government officials and industry experts from 22 states.
The Scottish government published a notice, looking for Internet of things (IoT) suppliers to take part in a dynamic purchasing system of IoT technologies intended for the public sector (including universities, the health sector, and voluntary and charity organisations). According to the notice, although the Scottish public sector is in its early stages in IoT use, a growth is expected in the next two years. The announcement follows the launch of IoT Scotland which took place earlier this year.
According to reports, the Tasmanian government plans to invest US$150 000 to an energy and Internet of things (IoT) startup accelerator operated by EnergyLab. The program aims to provide solutions in the field of clean energy startups. The funding is part of an overall governmental budget of US $900,000 dedicated to promoting Tasmania’s start-up ecosystem.