ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. Photo: ITU
The Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have announced a new set of UN targets for universal and meaningful digital connectivity to be achieved by 2030.
The 15 aspirational targets, developed as part of the work of the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation Roundtable Group on Global Connectivity, co-chaired by ITU and UNICEF, prioritize universality, technology and affordability to ensure that everyone can fully benefit from connectivity.
The Roadmap had called for establishing a connectivity baseline and targets to aid in advancing a safer, more equitable digital world and a brighter and more prosperous future for all.
“Universal connectivity alone is not enough to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure that every person has safe and affordable access to the Internet by 2030,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “These targets will help countries guide their efforts towards effectively ensuring we meet our goal of universal and meaningful connectivity by the end of the decade.”
Universal and meaningful connectivity is the possibility for everyone to enjoy a safe, satisfying, enriching, productive and affordable online experience.
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Acting Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, said: “By setting clear targets, we give ourselves goals and aspirations to work towards, especially in this Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs. Though certainly these indicators may be refined further, as expectations evolve and the world changes; it is important that we take a bold step forward now to set a basic understanding of what universal meaningful connectivity should look like, especially as we work towards next year’s Global Digital Compact.”
The targets reflect the spirit and ambitions of the SDGs, the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and the ITU’s Connect2030 Agenda, setting out specific values to achieve each action area measured. They are also meant as a contribution towards the forthcoming Global Digital Compact, as proposed in the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report.
The new targets are meant to help countries and stakeholders prioritize interventions, monitor progress, evaluate policy effectiveness, and galvanize efforts around achieving universal and meaningful connectivity by 2030.