miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2015

#SDG : #ICT and #digital not ready yet for prime time

This weekend the world will transit from the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Fifteen years after their approval as the targets to promote a global commitment towards development, MDG have been the catalyst of an unexpected success story. The last yearly report shows great advances  in all the indicators associated to each of the goals. 

From September 25th to September 27th the global leaders will meet to sign the already agreed new global targets for development. The SDG have already rise some criticism due to the high number of targets and its complex structure. While the MDG established just 8 global goals, the SDG will establish 17 global goals each of them with several sub targets.

During the implementation of the MDG, United Nations recognised the importance of ICT as enablers of the efforts for achieving the development objectives. This recognition was behind the creation in 2010 of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a joint-venture of UNESCO and ITU. The main objective of the commission was boosting the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda and expanding broadband access in every country as a key to accelerating progress towards MDGs. 

Among the activities of the Broadband Commission is publishing a yearly report. The report contains advice for the design of broadband policies and a follow-up of five global indicators related with extending connectivity. The last report published on monday shows a progress in each of the indicators (Broadband as a universal policy, affordable connections, extending broadband to all the households, getting people online, gender equality in broadband access), although the progress is perhaps slower than would be desirable.

However, the great failure of the Broadband Commission and the global ICT community is not the improvable progress of global connectivity, but not having been able to make "digital" seen as a prime-time target in the new SDG. In spite of the above mentioned duplication of development goals, ICTs are included in the SDG only in the second level of subtargets. The set of success stories on how ICTs has helped the 8 MDG that the Broadband Commission has included in all its reports has apparently not impressed enough the global leaders.

We cannot expect another opportunity to establish the development of ICT policies as a clear global objective until 2030. Besides the new targets regarding the extension on supply and take-up of ICT that we can expect the Broadband Commission will establish, the main target should be establishing digital policies as a frontline priority. In spite of all the big words, this target is still far to be achieved.

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