According to the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, digital technologies must form the basis of education and skill building as communities continue to adapt to the realities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Autumn party.
The Broadband Commission, made up of public and private sector leaders, makes broadband connectivity-centric policy recommendations to accelerate progress towards achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. increase.
At the New York conference, the global technology development agency also emphasized the need for public-private partnerships to develop national strategies to strengthen digital skills and improve connectivity in schools.
Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Innovation, Rwanda, on behalf of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Co-Chair of the Commission, said: “The mission of the Broadband Commission is as important today as it was when it was first established. We must continue to strive for universal access to universal broadband communications services. Public-private partnerships will continue to be a key tactic in achieving this objective.
Advocacy target for broadband development
The Broadband Commission has put broadband connectivity at the forefront of global policy discussions to mobilize efforts to achieve universal connectivity, the international goal of connecting all of humanity to the Internet. The Commission’s 2025 Advocacy Targets are focused on providing policy and program guidance for national and international action in broadband development.
According to the latest statistics from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), about 2.7 billion people (one-third of the world’s population) still do not have internet access, and even fewer have reliable broadband access. is.
With only three years left to meet the Commission’s seven goals, the fall meeting began addressing the remaining gaps in reaching universal broadband connectivity.
“The expansion and rapid adoption of high-speed connectivity that we have experienced in recent decades, especially in the last two years of the pandemic, has transformed our daily lives, society and economy. The digital services that have proven important to the world are still out of reach, too expensive or too complex to use for far too many people around the world.”
The role of technology in education
In a meeting convened ahead of the United Nations Transformation Education Summit at the opening of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Commission called for universal, inclusive and affordable connectivity for the digital transformation of education. .
“Accelerating broadband into the new realities of our rapidly changing world is as important as it is timely,” said Catherine M. Russell, UNICEF Executive Director and Broadband Commission Commissioner, who hosted the conference. said. “Three years after UNICEF and ITU launched the Giga initiative with this group of commissioners, we have connected more than 2 million children online. But the global learning crisis remains real. and the pandemic is exacerbating it.The Transforming Education Summit is a unique opportunity to drive renewed commitment and investment in innovation, so we can reach out to every child.”
Small businesses can make a big contribution
The conference will focus on micro-enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the most vulnerable, with innovative approaches to increasing affordability of access to digital services and devices, including working from home and learning. was also considered. The approach considered takes into account the current economic environment.
ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao, Co-Vice-Chair of the Commission, said: “Innovation does not come only from large companies. Startups and entrepreneurs are making important contributions in this area and we must continue to work to ensure the participation of SMEs through the work of the ITU. ”
Forum for multi-stakeholder engagement
More than 40 members and representatives attended the meeting of the Broadband Commission, which is made up of heads of government leaders, international organizations, private sector, civil society and academia. Special guests such as UN Technical Envoy Amandeep Singh Gil and UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing States and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) were also present.
Among other topics, participants discussed how connectivity and technological innovation are enabling rapid adaptation to hybrid education. Empower learners through open educational resources and data. Building civil servant capacity for effective digital transformation. It provides a platform for enhancing the literacy necessary to navigate the digital space.
State of Broadband Report 2022
At the conference, the Broadband Commission released its annual broadband report, which highlights the changing realities of the pandemic era.
According to the report, COVID-19 has caused a surge in internet usage, but challenges to universal connectivity remain. The report also examines four major barriers to achieving universal connectivity. Lack of skills, lack of access, lack of devices, lack of means of payment for the necessary equipment.
Strategies, policies and a conducive regulatory environment are needed to address the persistent digital divide and achieve the commission’s advocacy goals, says the report. That environment should facilitate affordable, meaningful, secure and comprehensive broadband services and attract the significant investments needed.
“The need to expand access to purposeful broadband in this new world is more urgent than ever. And the right strategies and policies.”
The Commissioner, who leads the Working Group on Smartphone Access and AI Capacity Building, has released the findings and recommendations of the final report. Preliminary findings from the interim discussion paper of the Working Group on Data for Learning were also presented.
During the meeting, Zhao, whose second term as the ITU’s Executive Director ends this year, expressed his commitment to elevating broadband to the top of the global policy agenda and supporting digital cooperation to reach universality. was awarded a certificate of appreciation. Connectivity.
Note to editors
Founded in 2010, the Broadband Commission promotes a multi-stakeholder approach to digital cooperation by seeking to align the growth of internet and connectivity with the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). . The Commission is recognized for publishing the Annual Report on Broadband and over 30 thematic research and advocacy reports addressing topics such as digital health, education, online safety and inclusion of vulnerable populations. .
About the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development was established in 2010 by ITU and UNESCO. Its aim is to increase broadband access in all countries as a key to increasing the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda and accelerating progress towards national and international development goals. It is led by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim Hell of Mexico, and is co-chaired by ITU Director-General Horin Zhao and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. His 50+ people representing a cross-disciplinary group of CEOs, industry leaders, senior policy makers and government representatives, and experts from international organizations, academia and institutions involved in development It is made up of committee members. For more information, please visit www.broadbandcommission.org.