Since its establishment in 2010 by ITU and UNESCO, the Broadband Commission has sought to promote the adoption of effective and inclusive broadband policies and practices in countries around the world, with a view to promoting development and empowering each and every individual and society through the benefits of broadband.
In September 2015, UN Member States and the UN General Assembly formally agreed on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and set out a global agenda for development based on economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability known as the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ (or ‘2030 Agenda’).
They acknowledged that the spread of ICT and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress. The Agenda refers to ICT infrastructure as a cross-cutting ‘Means of Implementation’ (MoI). The SDGs build on the foundations established by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but extend them in several important ways. The 2030 Agenda emphasizes the growing urgency of inclusive development efforts, and puts environmental sustainability centre-stage as a vital priority which we ignore at our peril. The 2030 Agenda applies directly to all UN Member States, developed and developing countries alike.
The SDGs for education, gender equality, and infrastructure include bold targets for ICT. Technology also plays a role in the goal relating to global partnerships for sustainable development. The SDGs are aspirational and achievable, but require urgent efforts and progress in the speed, degree and equality of development – indeed, there is an explicit goal recognizing the urgent need to reduce inequities and calling for more even progress in development, which can be realized through broadband.