Offline population spurs call to action by Broadband Commission
Getting more than half the world’s population without internet access online is crucial to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030, the
Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development
said on 11th July 2016. Around 4.2 billion people – 57 percent of the world’s population – are permanently offline, according to
a statement
issued by the Broadband Commission to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). An estimated cost set by the commission of US$450 billion to provide the next 1.5 billion people with online access is expected to come mostly from the private sector. The statement also urged policymakers and other partners to invest in broadband infrastructure to bring healthcare, business, employment and education to the mainstream of developing countries. The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development is a collaboration between the
International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) and
UNESCO
to expand broadband access in developing countries and help achieve international development goals. The HLPF will converge in New York until 20th July 2016 to assess and debate the progress of countries working to achieve the SDGs. It will be the first time the forum is expected to examine these efforts on a national, regional and global scale and may lead to sharpening of policies so that targets are met. “The theme of the [forum] is ‘Ensuring that no-one is left behind,” said Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU. He added: “Let us all grasp this vital opportunity to strive for a world where every citizen enjoys the opportunities and benefits of universal, affordable and inclusive access to [Information and Communication Technologies] ICTs.” Commitments from 22 developed and developing countries to
17 SDG goals
were made between the 25th and 27th September 2015 at the
SDG Summit in New York
. The goals have since become a benchmark standard for development among nations and businesses and within civil society and local governments.
By Jack Aldane
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Photo: OLE Nepal