The International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference (ITU-PP18) was convened during the period of 29 October – 16 November 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. During the conference, Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General underscored that “[w]e have many challenges ahead of us. Far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy. Substantial digital divides still exist within and between countries. We need to continue our efforts to leverage ICT to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that PP-18 supports ITU's work towards this end." The main PP-18 decisions focused on harnessing new technologies as a source of good with special focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and the role of ITU in supporting the advancement of these goals through information and communication technology (ICT). These targets are divided into five strategic goals: growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation, and partnership. To this aim, the ITU member states has further approved a revised resolution on the use of ICTs to bridge the digital divide. It reinforces the benefits of ICT in developing countries through providing opportunities for digital services and enabling the digitalisation of infrastructure which, in turn, upholds the digital economy.
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.