By Emmanuel Elebeke
THE Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development in its 2017 Spring Meeting in Hong Kong, SAR of China, weekend, announced its commitment to concrete actions that will spur the roll-out of broadband around the world.
Currently, some five billion people are without mobile broadband access, meaning that the paths to access digital services and applications are currently blocked for much of the world’s population, thereby holding back progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.“This prompted the need for a new deal between all broadband stakeholders to roundly debate at the meeting how to bring renewed commitment to work towards full global connectivity and digital transformation.
In particular, emphasis was placed on remote and rural areas – especially to support Least Developed Countries – which represent the biggest challenge and where barriers to access also need to be viewed through the prism of affordability
and content, notably local and multi-lingual content. “Co-Chair of the Broadband Commission, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda at the meting noted that, “ICT and broadband are linking everyone and everything for the betterment of economies and societies. We are motivated by wanting to have the global community connected, especially the billions of unconnected. We will succeed when we work together: government, industry and civil society leaders,” he added.
Secretary-General of ITU and co-vice chair of the Broadband Commission, Houlin Zhao, stated that: “Our central conviction is that broadband and ICTs are critical if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. ICTs he said, underpin vital achievements and modern services in many sectors, and governments and insisted that industry must increasingly work together to create the conditions so badly needed to facilitate the growth of broadband for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda provided the context for discussion.
On his part, UNESCO Director-General and Co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission, Irina Bokova, noted: “The framework for all our work is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We must ensure the digital revolution is a revolution for human rights and promote technological breakthroughs as development breakthroughs. The importance of scaling efforts in digital education and mobile learning was a priority which received full support and agreement from Commissioners.”
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