Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been transforming societies since decades by contributing to economic growth, bringing new ways to deliver education, healthcare and government services as well as creating global information society. ICT is seen as an enabler for global economic and social development since it has the potential to work as a catalyst for the three pillars of sustainable development; economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection. In the post-2015 era, the global efforts for development will be focused around United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the following 15 years. This ambitious and transformative set of 17 goals serves as a guideline for global efforts to achieve prosperity and empowerment of people while protecting our planet.
However, the existing factors triggering inequality, the lack of coordination and the vastness of related work stand as the main challenges for the sustainable transformation of our world. As Close the Gap and WorldLoop, we emphasise the role of ICT-enabled facilities to overcome these challenges and accelerate the pace of the efforts to achieve the SDGs. Since more than a decade, Close the Gap has been working on bridging the global digital divide, which hinders the reach of ICT-led facilities in education, healthcare and economic transformation of the developing communities.
Close the Gap believes in the power of education in order to achieve the SDGs and improve future perspectives on our planet, where providing basic prosperity for all and environmental protection will be a global norm. Alongside the goals, our work contributes to:
Goal 1: “No Poverty”Goal 5: “Gender Equality”, Goal 7: “Affordable and Clean Energy”, Goal 8: “Good Jobs and Economic Growth”, Goal 9: “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” and Goal 17: “Partnership for the Goals” – Goal 4: “Quality Education” is key to ensure engagement of future generations and inclusion of untapped communities in the sustainable development efforts. ICT has an enormous capacity to be able to include those 60 million school-age children who are not attending to primary education as well as increasing the overall quality of education for all. On the other hand, more IT-literate people means increased economic inclusiveness and employability for the developing communities.
The SDGs go hand in hand; achieving one goal might be dependent on another goal, which creates a dizzying matrix of networks. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs strongly emphasise the engagement of different stakeholders, such as governments, NGOs, local communities, civil society, industry, corporations and international organisations which creates a multi-layer international cooperation and coordination challenge. ICT can be a way to facilitate this, and can also provide practical solutions to capacity building and sharing, enhancing monitoring and transparency of the global development work, which are essential to meet the Goals by 2030.