PART A: Access and the SDGs

PART A (Draft ii)

The SDGs

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The SDGs were formally agreed upon by UN member states and the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN General Assembly, 2015). This document sets out a global framework for development that not only builds on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which primarily focused on addressing poverty-related challenges in developing countries – but that are also far broader in that the SDGs address economic, social and environmental agendas across both developed and developing regions (c.f. GSMA, 2016b).

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The 17 SDGs, which came into force on 1 January 2016, are not legally binding but create expectations for governments, with the assistance of other stakeholders (c.f. Cerf, 2016), to assume ownership and establish national frameworks for achieving these goals (UN, 2016):

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 1 Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of the progress made in implementing the Goals, which will require quality, accessible and timely data collection. Regional follow-up and review will be based on national-level analyses and contribute to follow-up and review at the global level.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The Agenda for Sustainable Development specifically acknowledges the role of ICTs and the Internet as horizontal enabler for development, or cross-cutting ‘means of implementation’. Paragraph 9-c. in particular sets an important goal relevant to the multistakeholder Internet governance community, namely to:

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Without meeting this goal, the Internet will be unable to meet its potential as a ‘powerful tool’ for sustainable development (ISOC, 2015). The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development (Broadband Commission) points out that while ICTs and broadband can be a significant enabler to achieve progress in the SDGs, sufficient investment opportunities must be created for the universal deployment of broadband and their related services and application; along with ‘a stronger alignment and collaboration between existing initiatives’ (Broadband Commission, 2016b). Ericsson, furthermore, takes the view that while the full potential of ICT for the SDGs is ‘neither systematically nor adequately reflected’ in the Agenda for Sustainable Development; the potential of unfolding innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data can offer substantial global gains for the SDGs (2016).

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 The Internet is crucial to the important transformation in the ways in which humans communicate with one another; leading to a world in which ‘communication is quicker, information is more available, commerce more efficient and entertainment and education more easily accessible than ever before’ (GSMA, 2016a). The World Bank also points out in its recent World Development Report: Digital Dividends that ‘[w]e find ourselves in the midst of the greatest information and communications revolution in human history’ where the ‘poorest households are more likely to have access to mobile phones than to toilets or clean water’ (2016).

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 But – as was also noted in Phase I of this initiative – a vast proportion of the world’s citizens remain unable to benefit from this transformation and the sustainable development potentially enabled by it, with traditional development challenges ‘preventing the digital revolution from fulfilling its transformative potential’ (World Bank, 2016). Before looking at both the generic and specific ways in which connectivity can support the SDGs, it is therefore important to investigate attempts and policy options to meet the SDG 9-c target in more detail.

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Meeting the SDG 9-c. target of universal access

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11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 For universal access to support the SDGs, it needs to be both universal and meaningful. While there may be a growing number of initiatives at local, regional and global levels aimed at improving access levels, much needs to be done to ensure universal and meaningful access. The World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation), for instance, predicts that on current trends, the goal of universal access will only be reached in 2042 (n.d.). Statistics indicate that most offline populations are contained to a small number of countries, with China, India and Indonesia together accounting for 45% of the global offline population in 2013 (Broadband Commission, 2016a). Many of these offline populations also share similar barriers to access (c.f. World Bank, 2016) – as is addressed in more detail below.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Many of the ‘next billion(s)’ are either unable to benefit from Internet access at all, or are barely connected. As the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) notes (2016a):

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 …there is actually a spectrum of connectivity levels ranging from complete disconnection up to the fully connected on high bandwidth unlimited connections, with the majority of connected people somewhere in between.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 APC takes the view that the key to meaningful access is ‘giving local people the skills and tools to solve their own connectivity challenges’. It argues that ‘we need fewer ‘satellite and balloon’ projects, and more human development (2016b). The Web Foundation similarly notes that initiatives aimed at supporting SDG targets must ‘build on the right foundations’ to truly support sustainable development (n.d.).

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 What these ‘right foundations’ are, or the policy options for connecting and enabling the next billion(s), were discussed in Phase I of this initiative, and are briefly recapped below before delving deeper into stakeholders’ understanding of what meaningful access entails and why it is so important for sustainable development.

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Core lessons from Phase I: Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion

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18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 The general and encompassing need for establishing enabling environments was highlighted by many stakeholders in Phase I; including the importance of creating environments inducive to investment through supportive policies, regulations, and legislation. Phase I also focused on developing a set of policy options aimed at fostering enabling environments, including deploying infrastructure; increasing usability; enabling users (e.g. through ICT literacy and training tools); and ensuring affordability.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 1 In terms of deploying infrastructure, key findings from Phase I include that more investment in and partnerships to support infrastructure development is vital and a key driver for socio-economic growth and sustainable development. Priorities highlighted include the continued deployment of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) to decrease costs and stimulate further development in local ecosystems (see the IGF BPF on IXPs for more information); along with the need to support the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to ensure sustainable Internet expansion (see the IGF BPF on IPv6 for more information) . Another important dimension highlighted in Phase I was the need to improve the use of universal service and access funds (USFs) for enabling Internet access through (regulatory) provisions for network expansion, the support of public access facilities (discussed in more detail below), and explicitly ensuring women and marginalised communities’ access (among other things).

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Phase I also emphasised the need to increase usability to ensure that people can actually benefit from Internet access. Contributors noted the importance of ensuring the availability of relevant content and applications that people can actually use, also in local languages and with content relevant to local contexts; emphasizing accessibility for people with disabilities; and ensuring that local media support the need for local content.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 The need to increase usability is closely linked to the need to enable users, and was also highlighted in Phase I. Not only do people need to be able to retrieve, produce and distribute information over the Internet, but they need to do so in a way that protects and promotes their human rights online, enables them to become digital citizens in an inclusive manner, and expands and empowers them through user literacy efforts. The need for promoting and enabling the youth, people with disabilities, and the elderly was also stressed in this context.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Cost was identified as one of the most significant barriers to connecting the next billion Internet users by stakeholders, making the importance of ensuring affordability a key recommendation of Phase I. Contributions to Phase I highlighted the importance of more collaboration and targeted partnerships to bring down costs; along with the need for innovative policies and methods to bridge various digital divides.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Contributors also generally stressed the need for multistakeholder collaboration to address and achieve forward-looking connectivity goals. Access, contributors noted, should be universal, equitable, secure, affordable, of high quality, and supportive and reflective of human rights. For this reason, many contributors emphasised the need to support groups that may experience access challenges more profoundly or differently than others, including women, the youth, elderly people, disabled people, cultural minority groups, and various other minorities.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 The compilation output document from Phase I was presented and discussed during a main session at IGF 2015 in João Pessoa, Brazil, on 11 November 2015. During the session, the compilation received broad approval from the IGF community and it was suggested that the document would not only be shared with relevant organizations and processes working on related issues; but that this intersessional activity would also continue in 2016.

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Phase II: Enabling the next billion(s) by ensuring meaningful access

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27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Besides connectivity, various contributors to Phase II point out that access does not automatically translate to adoption and/or developmental benefits – it also needs to be meaningful. The Broadband Commission, for instance, notes that meaningful Internet access requires ‘relevant, affordable content, available in the right language and offering the capability to transform information into actionable knowledge’ (2016a). In a recent report on how ICTs can accelerate action on the SDGs (addressed in more detail below), Jeffrey D. Sachs argues that while ICT is ‘the most powerful new tool we have for solving the world’s major challenges’, technology ‘by itself’ is ‘never a solution’ (in Ericsson, 2016):

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 It must be properly deployed—directed towards social purposes—and extended to the poor and to remote regions that markets alone will not serve, at least not in a timely way. Put simply, technology must be combined with a will towards the common good. In our era, that means harnessing it to the global objectives embodied by the MDGs and SDGs.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 The World Bank takes the view that while access to digital technology and broadband may have expanded significantly, the broader developmental benefits from using these technologies (what the report terms ‘digital dividends’) have lagged behind (2016). It argues that digital dividends are not spreading fast enough for two reasons – the fact that almost 60% of the world’s population are still offline and that there are ‘persistent digital divides’ in gender, geography, age, and income dimensions within and between countries. In respect of the latter, the Broadband Commission points out that the majority of offline populations are ‘disproportionately poor, rural, old and female’ (2016a). Before examining these digital divides and the barriers that prevent people from accessing and/or benefitting from access, the need for meaningful access is first investigated.

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Towards meaningful access

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32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 APC takes the view that ICTs remain constrained from supporting sustainable development due to inequalities in current access levels. It stresses that there is a risk that those who do not have access at all, or are only ‘barely connected’ may be ‘doubly excluded’ from the potential benefits that connectivity could offer for their sustainable development. As such, many are at risk of being (2016b):

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 …excluded from the “new” world of information and communications that the internet delivers, and also excluded from the “old” analogue world they used to have access to – even if imperfectly – because so many of those services and opportunities are increasingly only available online.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 Phase II of this initiative therefore encourages stakeholders to not only focus on connecting the next billion(s) Internet users, but also on enabling them and the barely connected through meaningful and pervasive access to the Internet (c.f. APC, 2016b).

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 The Diplo Foundation argues in its original contribution to CENB Phase II that connecting and enabling users requires a multi-layered approach that enables both technical and human development in a manner that supports ‘core human and societal aims’ (2016). Various other contributors similarly note that meaningful access is a challenge that transcends the issue of infrastructure, and requires investments in the development of human capabilities and what the World Bank terms analogue (or ‘analog’) complements (2016):

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”—by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Contributors to Phase II respectively stress that meaningful access requires ensuring that people, for example:

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  • are able to use services to benefit from access – whether they are in rural or urban areas (Zimbabwe IGF, 2016);
  • can both consume and produce content, i.e. that they:
  • ‘have the skills to meaningfully engage online and critically understand the content they consume – as well as empower them with skills for them to create content’ (Oghia, Serbia, 2016a);
  • can ‘take part fully in the global and local information society’ by having not only the capability to consume and interpret various media types from a wide array of sources, but also the tools and skills to produce content themselves’ (DC for Public Access in Libraries, 2016);
  • have ‘the necessary abilities to generate, process and/or share information’ that foster the economic and social development (Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016).
  • can take part in processes aimed at ensuring meaningful access, i.e. that they:
  • are more aware of Internet governance processes and the relevance of such processes to them (Rayamajhi, Nepal, 2016);
  • are engaged in the ‘definition of priorities, design, development and implementation; of policies and programmes aimed at sustainably addressing meaningful access’ (Hendi, Canada, 2016).
  • are able to become and benefit from being responsible consumers, i.e. that they:
  • are provided the ‘right product and services’ to meet their specific needs as users (Ogero Telecom, Lebanon, 2016);
  • are able to ‘assume responsibility’ for their online activities, which includes the ability to realise the importance of media literacy training, informed consent, the capacity to participate fully online, and understanding that human rights apply equally online and offline (EuroDIG, 2016).


39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 To ensure that meaningful access also serves the SDGs, enabling all users to benefit from the economic and social benefit associated with a ‘full and pervasive affordable connectivity environment’ (APC, 2016a) is necessary. APC stresses the need for pragmatic and objective policies and strategies to be ‘efficiently and rapidly implemented’ through ‘extensive public consultation that includes all stakeholder groups’; along with measurable targets by which to judge and ensure their effectiveness (2016b).

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 The Diplo Foundation also reinforces the importance of ‘ongoing capacity development’ to support related policy development; which includes the need for ‘continual access to expertise and sharing of best practices’ (2016). These policies should target not only the supply-side barriers, but also demand-side barriers through relevant support for training programmes (c.f. 1 World Connected, 2016).

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 Facebook emphasises the fact that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’ to overcoming barriers and meeting connectivity goals, and that a range of different approaches are needed depending on 2016).

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Bridging various digital divides

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44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Contributors to Phase II note that some of the barriers or limitations not only restricting access in general but also preventing people who do have some level of Internet access from being enabled or empowered through such connectivity include:[1]

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  • the quality and speed of such access;
  • the relative (in)affordability of broadband and devices;
  • insufficient knowledge or awareness regarding the potential relevance of the Internet;
  • a lack of digital literacy;
  • the perceived irrelevance of content and services available online, including a lack of localised content and services in local languages;
  • fears of surveillance and the absence of trust in accessing services on ICTs;
  • security threats faced online and enabled by ICT-use, including threats of online abuse and gender-based violence; and
  • the legal and regulatory frameworks concerned (including the level of support given in developing connectivity policies and programmes).

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 While most of these barriers were evaluated in detail in Phase I (2015) of this initiative, a few additional comments pertaining to how these barriers interact should be highlighted. APC, for instance, points out that high costs and other barriers create ‘a strong chilling effect on usage’ (2016a); particularly because many of these barriers are inextricably linked and/or closely related.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 GSMA, for example, notes that an increase in locally relevant content by itself will not lead to more meaningful engagement if people do not have the skills to access and use such content (2016a). GSMA also suggests that content availability and relevance roughly correlate with a country’s economic status. Developing countries, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa, are more likely to ‘suffer from a lack of locally relevant content relative to their more economically developed peers’ (GSMA, 2016a). (The ways in which barriers affect specific regions are discussed in more detail in Part B of this paper.)

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Access inequalities and barriers like content availability not only affect those in developing countries more profoundly, but also those in rural areas, cultural minorities, women, refugees, and disadvantaged groups. The World Bank notes that there are still ‘persistent digital divides across gender, geography, age, and income dimensions within each country’ (2016). GSMA similarly points out that social norms and disparities in terms of levels of education and income compound other barriers to meaningful access, leading to significant digital divides (2016a). APC argues that social inequalities have to be taken into account when addressing connectivity challenges (2016b):

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 …those with the least connectivity are by and large also those who are most excluded economically, socially and politically. Their lack of access is first and foremost a result of this exclusion and while the internet may present opportunities for some social advancement, it will not alter the structural social and economic processes that causes inequality and exclusion in the first place.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 The need to specifically consider the barriers women face in gaining access was stressed by various contributors (e.g. GSMA, 2015a). The IGF’s BPF on Gender and Access 2016 points out that women are less likely and/or able to benefit from access to the Internet than men, particularly in developing countries (2016). Recent statistics from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) indicate that men are more likely to have access to the Internet in all regions of the world, with the global Internet user gender gap actually growing from 11% in 2013 to 12.2% in 2016 (2016a). This tendency is evident in developing countries but less so in developed countries, where access inequalities improved from 5.8% in 2013 to 2.8%. At 23%, the access gap is the largest in Africa and the smallest in the Americas (2%). In Least Developed Countries (LDCs), furthermore, only approximately one in seven people will be online by the end of 2016 –and only 31% of them will be women (Broadband Commission, 2016:46).

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 GSMA notes that gaps such as the gender digital divide, for instance, are ‘driven by a complex set of socio-economic and cultural barriers’ demanding ‘targeted intervention’. GSMA takes the view that when women have access to the Internet through, for instance, mobile phones, ‘there are significant benefits not only for women themselves, but for their communities and the broader economy as well (2015a). The reasons for these discrepancies, along with initiatives that help to overcome these barriers to access, are also investigated in more detail in the IGF BPF on Gender and Access 2016.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 The need for targeted action to address access inequalities for women is also important in addressing access gaps in general. As the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) argues (2016a):

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 We cannot achieve universal access without bringing women (half the world’s population) online; likewise, women’s empowerment through ICTs will not happen without enabling women affordable access to the Internet.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 Targeted initiatives may furthermore be required to address the connectivity of refugees. Recent findings by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) indicate that refugees are 50% less likely to have access to an Internet-enabled device and more than twice as likely to have no phone at all. Such a lack of connectivity, the report points out, affects refugees’ ability to access basic services and information, to communicate with loved ones, to seek and maintain employment, and to ‘ultimately empower themselves’ (2016:10-11):

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 For many, connectivity has become as critical for survival as food, water, and shelter. Without it, families often cannot make safe passage, receive protection, or ensure that their loved ones are alive.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 The UNHCR notes that digital technology can serve as a ‘critical enabler’ of the new solutions needed to address the current and protracted refugee crisis. Increased connectivity can help refugees to become more self-reliant by empowering them to organise themselves and share information among refugee communities; can help them to better position themselves and advocate more effectively through advanced access to relevant information; and can allow them to engage more meaningfully in all aspects of programmes that affect them (2016):

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 A connected refugee population would unleash innovation in areas such as communicating with displaced persons, responding to their security needs, and getting humanitarian services to them. Connectivity will improve lives and transform humanitarian operations.

Are all means of gaining access meaningful?

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59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 Some contributors to Phase II note the need to differentiate between mobile (or private, individual subscription-based) access and access using public access facilities when universal access goals are concerned. While public access facilities are vital for those who can afford neither their own devices nor data, it can also act as an important supplement to ‘private’ access.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 APC argues that while support for the provision of public access facilities is waning in some countries due to the growth in mobile access, as well as views ‘that public access is just a stepping stone to private access’, public access remains vital. One reason is the fact that many of those restricted to mobile services face low speeds and capped traffic, which by itself could limit connectivity’s potential to support sustainable development. As APC notes with regards to public access facilities as a complementary service for sustainable development (2016b; 2015a):

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 Large-format screens and high definition multimedia provide a more immersive learning, professional or entertainment experience, but may be too slow or costly via a mobile connection.

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 1 World Connect notes in its submission that there are regions where public access facilities or community anchor institutions such as schools and libraries are more effective mechanisms for providing meaningful access for a few reasons that have been illustrated through their research, including the fact that such facilities often provide access to free training programmes, which develops skills for users to utilise such programmes; it is often easier for social responsibility initiatives to collaborate with public access facilities as opposed to setting up their own digital literacy training programmes; and such facilities also provide an environment where peer networks can be formed and learning can be enhanced through group activities, which often improves uptake (2016).

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 In its most recent annual Affordability Report, A4AI similarly notes that devices and access remain unaffordable to vast segments of the population. For this reason, they propose (among other things) increased investment in and availability of public, subsidised access for groups for whom access costs remain prohibitive, or groups that are otherwise excluded (e.g. women), in order to reach the SDG target of universal access. A4AI also takes the view that public access can help to support other SDGs (2016a:40):

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 Public access facilities offer broadband-enabled services, but they also double up as entities that provide educational opportunities, digital literacy training and, in many cases, skill development and distance learning opportunities.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 For this reason, A4AI proposes that policymakers should work to strengthen local knowledge on how to create ‘sustainable public access venues’ that offer ‘locally relevant content and services such as e-government services, and that could be funded through USFs (2016a).

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 The IGF Dynamic Coalition (DC) on Community Connectivity takes the view that because almost 60% of the world’s population live in rural areas or urban slums, novel approaches must be adopted if the Internet is to reach everyone (2016a). One example of such an approach, suggested by the DC and other contributors (e.g. Jensen, 2016), is community networks (CNs), which are structured to be open, free, and neutral and rely on the active participation of local communities in the design, development, deployment and management of the shared infrastructure as a common resource, owned by the community, and operated in a democratic manner. CNs can be operationalised, wholly or partly, through local stakeholders, NGOs, private sector entities and/or public administrations; and are characterised by collective ownership; social management; open design and open participation; free peering and transit with networks offering reciprocity; as well as the promotion of free software and open standards and technologies (2016a; 2016b).

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 The DC on Community Connectivity points out that in the past ten years, a variety of successful examples of CNs have emerged on all continents, exploiting many technical and governance configurations. Such examples (investigated in more detail in 2016a, the DC on Community Connectivity’s annual report) have demonstrated that CNs may proffer a viable option to connect the unconnected while empowering local communities and building local technical capacities. Notably, the establishment of CNs has proven that local stakeholders, including public administrations, entrepreneurs and NGOs, may become important protagonists for the development of Internet connectivity; building infrastructure and proposing innovative sustainability models. Furthermore, CNs foster the development of new services, applications, and local content as well as job creation; as is illustrated in the Guifi.net and DEF India cases (see the DC on Community Connectivity’s annual report for more detail).

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 Examples of successful community connectivity initiatives can also be found in the submission of the Colombian National IGF Initiative, which notes that community-owned CNs can contribute to the creation of resilient infrastructure that can be maintained by the community in underserved rural areas in Colombia (2016). 1 World Connected similarly highlights the efforts of Rhizomatica to provide communities with technical and legal support to help deploy user-owned and operated networks through open-source technologies. Rhizomatica uses existing community organizing structures in rural Mexico to create more sustainable models where communities are personally involved and trained in the maintenance and deployment of networks, while Rhizomatica retains only a supporting and training role. Rhizomatica serves sixteen rural communities of 2,500 or fewer inhabitants today, providing the first Internet access to these communities. This connectivity helps to facilitate mobile and Internet services for banking and healthcare, communication in case of emergencies home delivery services, and community-wide messaging by local leaders (1 World Connected, 2016).

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 CNs are therefore particularly useful in empowering communities and local entrepreneurs to solve their own connectivity challenges in a sustainable manner (DC on Community Connectivity, 2016a). At the African IGF, for instance, one of the conclusions were that the creation of CNs should be supported to not only connect communities to the Internet, but to also help enable the provision of other relevant infrastructure, like phone charging stations in a community (2016).

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 The DC on Community Connectivity argues that public policies should be crafted in order to facilitate the establishment of CNs, as suggested by its Declaration on Community Connectivity. It argues that ‘CNs are an example of connectivity for local communities by local communities through the community and relevant stakeholders’ (2016a). CNs can therefore help to empower communities and local entrepreneurs to solve their own connectivity challenges in a sustainable manner (DC on Community Connectivity, 2016b):

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 Bottom-up strategies that embrace non-discriminatory treatment of Internet traffic and diversity in the first square mile can truly empower individuals and communities, allowing everyone to play an active role in making connectivity affordable and easily accessible.

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 Similar to the rationale for CNs, the APrIGF also takes the view that ‘frugal innovation’ – or low-cost solutions that originate from local communities, use local knowledge and resources, and meet specific local needs – must be included in national development agendas as they tend to fulfil needs neglected by mainstream businesses (2016a):

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 While scientists, technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs are considered the traditional sources of innovative activity, there is potentially untapped resource of talent residing in under-represented communities, including women. 

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How Internet connectivity can generally support the SDGs

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76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 The potential impact of broadband access on the SDGs has been noted by a number of organizations. APC, for instance, argues that ‘affordable and reliable internet access has become a vital means to exercise fundamental human rights and to support economic, social and human development’ (2016b). UNESCO, similarly, affirms in its outcome document from the Connecting the Dots: Options for Future Action conference that ICTs’ ability to increase access to information and knowledge also ‘supports sustainable development and improves people’s lives’ (2015). In its recent The State of Broadband Report (2016), the Broadband Commission also notes that broadband ‘can play a vital role in achieving the SDGs’ and ‘underpinning inclusive and sustainable development’. It notes (2016a):

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 A large body of economic evidence has amassed for the role of affordable and effective broadband connectivity as a vital enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 Individual and other stakeholders contributing to Phase II similarly note that connecting and enabling users with meaningful Internet access, along with associated reduced communication costs and improved access to information/knowledge, can support all of the SDGs to some extent (e.g. Saldanha, 2016; World Bank, 2016). Anthony Namanga argues in his contribution to Phase II that the Internet ‘cuts across all the different SDGs, starting from Goal 1 to Goal 17’ (Cameroon, 2016). Other contributors note that the Internet and ICTs have the potential to act as cross-cutting enablers for sustainable development (e.g. Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016) or as providers of ‘new ways of sharing and analysing information’ (ISOC, 2016b). Kim Lilianne Henri takes the view that ICTs are multidimensional and dynamic and can thus simultaneously impact and involve structures and processes on diverse levels of government, in numerous sectors, and on various stakeholders and partnerships (Canada, 2016). Ericsson, in turn, argues that every goal can be positively impacted by ICTs as ‘the essential infrastructure platform for the SDGs’ (2016):

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 …the digital revolution currently under-way is paving the way for an Age of Sustainable Development—a profound transformation of society where technology is a key contributor to human and planetary wellbeing.

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 The Broadband Commission explains that there are macroeconomic, microeconomic and individual empowerment arguments to be made for the capacity of broadband to support development. The ICT sector itself can contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) of countries, can stimulate innovation, and can improve access to new markets. Microeconomic arguments tend to focus on productivity gains at firm levels, including through more efficient working methods, the automation of some tasks, and reduced production costs. The importance of individual empowerment is also stressed by a number of Phase II contributors, although – as the Broadband Commission points out – ‘many studies focus on the potential of ICTs, rather than actual impact’ (2016a).

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 Various recent reports have listed ways in which ICTs may impact the SDGs. NetHope, for instance, takes the view that ICTs can support the SDGs by enhancing stakeholders’ capacity to measure and evaluate progress toward all of the SDGs; providing opportunities for streamlining and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of all activities in the development landscape; and providing access to a new range of digitally enabled products and services to strengthen local economies, local innovation and local communities (2016). In its recent report on how specifically the mobile industry’s core business can support the SDGs, GSMA argues that the mobile industry, more specifically, can play a crucial role in supporting or impacting almost half of the 169 supporting targets of the SDGs by helping to include more people by scaling networks and access; by innovating in order to create new ways to enhance quality and ease of access; and by influencing policies and partnerships to contribute to sustainable development (2016b).

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 Ericsson similarly notes that ICTs can speed up and increase the rate of diffusion of relevant services, ‘helping low-income countries to leapfrog to achieve key development milestones while contributing to a growth economy’. It lists five ways in which ICTs can support the SDGs when combined with innovative policies, series and solutions, namely by:

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  • upscaling critical services in health, education, financial services, smart agriculture, and low-carbon energy systems;
  • reducing deployment costs in addressing urban and rural realities;
  • enhancing public awareness and engagement;
  • supporting innovation, productivity, and efficiency; and
  • upgrading the quality of services and jobs more quickly.

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 The ways in which connecting and enabling the next billion(s) supports the SDGs in a cross-cutting manner therefore include the Internet’s ability to expand the information, reduce communication and information costs and enable increased knowledge and information sharing (e.g. UNESCO, 2015; World Bank, 2016; UNHCR, 2016). Ogero Telecom points out that the Internet provides a ‘vital platform for the growth of ICT and for the emerging knowledge economy in which information is crucial to create new and improved products and services’ (Lebanon, 2016). GSMA similarly argues that the Internet is a ‘game changer for development’ in that it facilitates a ‘dramatic increase in the amount of information available to the average global citizen’; leading to more opportunities for collaboration and productive interaction among stakeholders that support the development of sustainable economies and societies (2016a). In its submission, the Central Africa IGF, which gathered input from Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, also emphasises the importance of information-sharing and access (2016).

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 Contributors listed various ways in which connectivity can bolster knowledge societies and impact sustainable and inclusive development more broadly, including, for instance, the ability to more swiftly respond to disasters and emergencies; to engage the youth in development processes; to support better decision-making and evidence-based public action; and to aid overall accountability and transparency efforts (discussed in more detail below). As the Internet Society (ISOC) notes (2015):

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 Of course the Internet is not ‘the answer’ to the challenges of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. But it offers new ways of sharing and analysing information – new tools for delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Ensuring Internet access actually supports the SDGs

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89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 While technology and connectivity therefore have the potential to support the SDGs, various contributors note that achieving this potential will depend on the quality, level and nature of connectivity; including whether or not access is meaningful (also addressed above). Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute explains in its contribution that progress will ‘depend on reliable, robust, available, safe and trustworthy infrastructure and communications services’ (2016). The Central Africa IGF furthermore stresses the need for raising awareness among the youth and vulnerable communities pertaining to the SDGs (2016). Facebook also notes the importance of global partnerships and coordination – including government, industry, civil society, and local communities – to expand access (2016).

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 A holistic understanding of local contexts is also vital to ensuring that access and ICTs do support connectivity goals – as is illustrated from an example submitted by the Zimbabwe IGF to Phase II, and is further investigated in Part B of this paper. A project in rural Tanzania in 2012, which aimed to encourage citizens to pressurise local authorities to maintain and repair broken water pumps by using text or short message services (SMS), was unsuccessful. The Zimbabwe IGF notes that the initiative’s failure can be attributed to a variety of reasons, including the fact that citizens were reluctant to report on their government in local communities; water collection in the communities concerned is generally the responsibility of women and children who often do not have access to Internet-enabled devices; and a lack of reliable electricity supply and limited mobile network coverage also hampered citizens from consistently using the service (Zimbabwe IGF, 2016).

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 In addition to the need to take local contexts and analogue complements into consideration, there are also risks involved in using ICTs to support the SDGs. Ericsson, for instance, notes fears regarding increased risks to privacy and of surveillance; cybersecurity; the loss of relevant human skills’ possible public concern about health effects; electronic waste and carbon emissions; digital exclusion; and child protection online (Ericsson, 2016). GSMA similarly warns that the (mobile) industry will have to learn to manage like privacy and data concerns, e-waste, and the increasing energy requirements driven partly by the growth and demand for mobile data.

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 Lastly, contributors also argue that more research is needed to understand connectivity challenges if the SDGs are to be served. 1 World Connected – a research project based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for Technology, Innovation and Competition to catalogue, analyse and disseminate information about innovative approaches to connect more users – argues in its submission for ‘a data-driven approach to develop a nuanced understanding of both demand- and supply-side drivers’ of broadband Internet adoption (2016). (This project also submitted some useful case studies of initiatives that are helping to overcome various barriers to access (2016). Where possible, these examples are worked into the text below, but more information about these initiatives can be found online.)

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0 Kim Lilianne Henri similarly points out that ‘the lack or limitation of journaling of experiences, stories and processes in using ICTs to support development is a challenge, as well as an opportunity for future consideration’ (original emphasis, Canada, 2016). The need for more research, particularly in certain regions, was also emphasized in public comment responses received by the APrIGF in its targeted effort to gather input for Phase II, which is further discussed in Part B below.


Access and the specific SDGs

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95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0 While most contributors highlight the Internet’s potential to support the SDGs more broadly, some also identified particular SDGs that meaningful access can support, and/or the ways in which certain SDGs, like Goal 9c mentioned above, can act as building blocks for other SDGs (Saldanha, 2016). SDGs for infrastructure, gender equality and education, furthermore, contain specific ICT targets.

96 Leave a comment on paragraph 96 0 The ways in which specific SDGs can be supported through connecting and enabling more users is addressed in more detail in this section. For some of the 17 SDGs, there is a more direct connection between the goal and connectivity than for others, as is reflected by the amount of content and examples submitted by stakeholders for each SDG. A summary of these contributions is provided below.

97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0 It should be noted that the role of ICTs in supporting a specific SDG is often inextricably intertwined with other SDGs. Ericsson, for instance, points out that financial inclusion through ICTs will not only help to reduce poverty (SDG 1) through employment and other income-generating opportunities (SDG 8), but also through supporting small and medium enterprises (SDG 9). Higher income allows families to invest in education (SDG 4) and health (SDG 3), and offers access to improved nutrition and food security (SDG 2). The availability of credit, savings and insurance, for instance, can help to promote sustainable agriculture (SDG 15), and to provide more security during national disasters, financial crises or other challenges (see SDG 10 below).

98 Leave a comment on paragraph 98 0  

No poverty (SDG 1)[2]

99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0 Summary of targets: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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101 Leave a comment on paragraph 101 0 Contributors note that connecting and enabling users can help to alleviate poverty by, among other things, increasing productivity, bolstering transparency measures, promoting competitiveness, enabling access to new markets, giving people access to financial services through mobile and other devices, and ensuring the protection of consumers (through fair pricing, transparency, and faster payments, for example). Meaningful access can also support entrepreneurs in expanding their business, for example through m-platforms, which can also be valuable platforms for providing financial services to the poor.

102 Leave a comment on paragraph 102 0 Meaningful Internet access furthermore helps to reduce poverty by increasing people’s opportunities for gaining employment (addressed in more detail under SDG 8 below). The IGF’s DC for Public Access in Libraries, for instance, notes that in Slovenia, the Ljubljana City Library hosts an employment information service that helps many homeless and other people develop their CVs and find work (2016). A study by John B. Horrigan for Comcast, which focused on low-income Internet users, has similarly found that the majority of Internet users in their study use the Internet to look and apply for a job, as well as to acquire new skills, gain training on how to start their own business, and to take classes online, for instance (2015).

103 Leave a comment on paragraph 103 0 GSMA takes the view that the mobile industry has a significant role to play in alleviating poverty by supporting economic growth; with the World Bank having found that a 10% increase in mobile penetration is associated with a 1.35% increase in the GDP of developing countries. The mobile industry can support the goal of alleviating poverty by expanding knowledge of the economy, facilitating information exchange, and driving productivity and innovation, for instance. These effects also have wider social application; affecting educational outcomes (SDG 4) and improving health (SDG 3) (GSMA, 2016b), for instance.

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Zero hunger (SDG 2)

105 Leave a comment on paragraph 105 0 Summary of targets: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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107 Leave a comment on paragraph 107 0 Contributions reinforce the notion that the promotion of sustainable agriculture is closely tied to ending hunger, achieving food security and supporting improved nutrition. Internet access can support people in the farming and fishing industries to apply for agricultural subsidies, to find information about new crops and innovative techniques, and to thereby improve productivity, to receive and find updates about real-time climate and other conditions, to gain access to new markets, and to learn more about market needs and demands. As ISOC notes in a background contribution (2015):

108 Leave a comment on paragraph 108 0 Access to information is critical to farmers everywhere. The opportunity to seek advice from experts and share experience with other farmers can mean the difference between success and failure, especially for those working on marginal land.

109 Leave a comment on paragraph 109 0 In Uganda, for instance, community libraries use computers and Wi-Fi connection to the Internet to train farmers and community members to use technology and access information on new crops and farming methods, while in Romania, public library staff have worked with local government to help farmers use new ICT services to apply for agricultural subsidies (DC for Public Access in Libraries, 2016).

110 Leave a comment on paragraph 110 0 In Papua New Guinea, for instance, connectivity provided by the Rural Communications Project has enabled rural farmers to gather information on supplies and prices in the cities in ways they could not do before. As 1 World Connected notes (2016):

111 Leave a comment on paragraph 111 0 The benefits of rural connectivity are felt acutely in villages like Kore, which previously had no access to any form of telecommunications services. Initially, villagers had to climb up a hill to receive weak mobile signals from a cell phone tower in Hula 25 kilometers away. The establishment of a base station in Kore allows farmers to order seeds and fertilizers using a cell phone instead of spending the extended time needed to travel to Port Moresby. Women entrepreneurs have started selling prepaid top-up cards to the villagers and set up solar-based charging stations for mobile phones. Access to services enhances economic opportunities for these communities.

112 Leave a comment on paragraph 112 0 Many contributors also point out that meaningful access is important in emergency or crisis situations, helping people to communicate and coordinate better to meet food and other needs, to enable quick and simple donations, and to support particularly needy areas. Shreedeep Rayamajhi points out that the Internet is useful in times of crisis to promote safety and enable better management of resources. During the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, for instance, Shreedeep could collaborate with various people through the social media platform Facebook to communicate and match particular needs with available resources in a more consistent and efficient manner (Nepal, 2016). 1 World Connected also notes that mobile phone services provided through the Rural Communications Project in Papua New Guinea, for instance, allows people in unconnected areas to reach medical assistance faster; thus helping to save lives (2016).

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Good health (SDG 3)

114 Leave a comment on paragraph 114 0 Summary of targets: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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116 Leave a comment on paragraph 116 0 Meaningful access can help sustain healthy lives and promote well-being at all ages by reducing costs (e.g. through disease surveillance and preventative campaigns); improving the quality of data, thereby helping to fight diseases by enabling medical service delivery and collaboration in health systems; training health professionals; and by generally improving efficiency and accountability (among other things) (e.g. Ericsson, 2016). The DC for Public Access in Libraries, for instance, points out that in Botswana, 87% of library visitors noted that their health improved as a result of health information they found using public library services (2016).

117 Leave a comment on paragraph 117 0 Contributors note that Internet access also enables the establishment of unified and better managed databases, including new abilities to integrate diverse parts of health services; better health reporting and early health warning detection systems; advanced systems of drug registration and control; inoculation and vaccination registration systems; hospital management systems; and the maintenance of possible national electronic health records (e.g. Albania, 2016; Zimbabwe IGF, 2016).

118 Leave a comment on paragraph 118 0 Besides supporting an array of information systems, contributors point out that Internet access helps to empower people by enabling access to information on healthy choices and lifestyles (e.g. UNHCR, 2016). ISOC notes that especially in developing countries with a shortage of health workers, the Internet is a ‘vital resource’ for information and ‘support to hard-pressed clinicians’. One estimate, ISOC points out, suggests that up to 59% of patients in emerging markets make use of mobile health services (2015). Facebook furthermore notes that in Colombia, for instance, the digital platform 1doc3 helps doctors answer medical questions and has even enabled better engagement with the Colombian government on health matters (2016):

119 Leave a comment on paragraph 119 0 When 1doc3 noticed questions submitted regarding “condom water” from remote areas of Colombia, they investigated and found out that people in certain remote areas believe that boiling a condom and drinking the water helps prevent pregnancy. Taking that information back to the government, the service collaborated with the government on an education campaign targeted to remote areas where people believed in the practice.

120 Leave a comment on paragraph 120 0 For people in remote and/or rural areas, Internet access is also particularly useful for finding important health information; while connectivity also helps hospitals in such areas to be better linked with hospitals in urban areas. Ogero Telecom explains that an initiative in Lebanon, Telemedicine, links major hospitals in Beirut and abroad with hospitals in rural areas; enabling real-time video consultation between doctors and enabling the sharing of data and diagnostics from afar (2016).

121 Leave a comment on paragraph 121 0 In India, a similar initiative that forms a part of Wireless for Communities (W4CC), run by the Digital Empowerment Foundation and ISOC, provides telemedicine services at local public health centres. The project has provided internet connectivity that enables health care centres in rural Jharkhand and Tripura to provide telemedicine services and receive expert advice from doctors through Skype calls (1 World Connected, 2016).

122 Leave a comment on paragraph 122 0 Contributors also note that access helps to support health systems that promote cardiovascular health through proper monitoring (e.g. Arthur Zang’s Cardio Pad; cited in Namanga, Cameroon, 2016); the combatting of diseases like tuberculosis (e.g. in Kyrgyzstan; cited in DC for Public Access in Libraries, 2016); and the more accurate reporting of births using mobiles (e.g. the Uganda Mobile VRS, cited in GSMA, 2016a).

123 Leave a comment on paragraph 123 0 Access is also proving important in the promotion of maternal health and safety. In Myanmar, for instance, a maternal healthcare application provides advice to expectant parents; while in Uganda an affordable smartphone-based ultrasound helps to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality rates by enabling doctors and midwives to better monitor the health of foetuses and expectant mothers (GSMA, 2016a). In Nepal, furthermore, an application provides particularly low-income expectant mothers with relevant information to promote maternal health (Rayamajhi, Nepal, 2016).

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Quality education (SDG 4)

125 Leave a comment on paragraph 125 0 Summary of targets: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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127 Leave a comment on paragraph 127 0 Education and development of human capital – as a crucial investment in long-term economic development – remains an important challenge around the world. In various developing areas, a lack of basic infrastructure, conflict, and other challenges like adolescent pregnancy and child marriage hamper enrolment and completion rates. Barriers to education affect women more profoundly, with two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults being female (GSMA, 2016a). Yet, as various stakeholders point out, ICTs offers the potential for acceleration in helping to overcome these and other challenges (Ericsson, 2016; GSMA, 2016b).

128 Leave a comment on paragraph 128 0 ICT’s accelerator role is a powerful mechanism in every aspect of education: teacher training, local curricula, local-language instruction, monitoring and assessment of student performance, education-systems management, coaching and mentoring, and preparing students for a world in which ICT is a necessity for successfully navigating their future careers and lives and contributing to their national economies.

129 Leave a comment on paragraph 129 0 Various other contributions also indicate that connecting and enabling users can help to ensure inclusive and equitable, quality education by (among other things) letting educational content be shared with larger audiences at lower costs, connecting classrooms, supporting teacher training, improving access to learning and teaching resources in both urban and rural areas, and by making content more relevant and responsive to learners’ needs (c.f. ISOC, 2015). In Lebanon, for instance, there are plans to configure all schools with wireless Internet access and to provide access to devices in classrooms. As Ogero Telecom notes in its contribution to Phase II (Lebanon, 2016):

130 Leave a comment on paragraph 130 0 Mobility, broadband and the cloud are key technologies that place connectivity at the forefront of change to enable users and to transform education and deliver quality schooling in the digital age.

131 Leave a comment on paragraph 131 0 The UNHCR points out that connectivity is furthermore crucial in enabling refugees to participate in online training courses and to access education remotely – including refugee children at primary or secondary school level who can have the opportunity, facilitated by Internet access, to continue their disrupted education in their primary language (2016):

132 Leave a comment on paragraph 132 0 Without connectivity, millions of displaced children won’t get the education necessary to become the doctors, teachers and future leaders of their communities.

133 Leave a comment on paragraph 133 0 Access also enables teachers to develop professionally, to share their knowledge, and to better meet their students’ needs. The BridgeIT programme, for instance, shares educational content and enables teacher training using smartphones (GSMA, 2016b). ICTs and access can furthermore support education systems by aiding logistical and financial management and enabling better networking between schools, private and public institutions, and interaction with relevant government departments of education.

134 Leave a comment on paragraph 134 0 Despite the many potential benefits that connectivity can have for education, there are still few schools that have Internet access. ISOC, for instance, notes that there are fewer than 25% schools with Internet access in some developing countries (2015). In her contribution, Kim Lilianne Henri furthermore takes the view that national education programmes in Latin America, for instance, tend to consider technological ‘tools’ as additional or ‘external’ to curricula, and by doing so miss out on the potential of using ICTs better to enhance existing curricula and to promote the formulation of ‘integrative and complex perspectives’ that can help to narrow digital divides (Canada, 2016).

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Gender equality (SDG 5)

136 Leave a comment on paragraph 136 0 Summary of targets: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

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138 Leave a comment on paragraph 138 0 Promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls in line with SDG 5 requires not only that unequal access to infrastructure be addressed, but also that the costs of devices and connectivity be decreased, as affordability affects women more significantly than men. It also requires addressing gender disparities in education opportunities, including digital literacy; investing in the creation of content relevant and useful to women; and tackling gender-based harassment and abuse, both in physical spaces for accessing the Internet (such as public access facilities) and in online environments (including various forms of online harassment) (IGF BPF on Online Abuse and Gender-Based Violence, 2015).

139 Leave a comment on paragraph 139 0 Contributors point out that the promotion of gender equality can be supported through Internet access by enabling women’s independence, social participation and autonomy; by ensuring that more information is shared about gender equality and human rights; and by enabling better access to information (including potentially sensitive information, like information related to sexual and reproductive health).

140 Leave a comment on paragraph 140 0 Women’s empowerment and gender equality are furthermore served, for example, through the support of female farmers and entrepreneurs. As GSMA points out, access to a smartphone in Kenya gives women the same opportunities as men in extending business contacts, increasing working hours and improving income (GSMA, 2016a). In India, for instance, the W4C initiative is providing ICT training, certification and diploma courses on computer concepts and tele-health technology courses at Chanderiyaan, in Central India. As a result of wireless Internet and broadband, the weavers of Chanderiyaan are using e-commerce and Facebook to sell their crafts. Another initiative of W4C, the Wireless Women for Entrepreneurship & Empowerment, identifies women from self-help groups within communities and provides them with targeted training. The training helps to empower these women, who come from varied backgrounds, to become entrepreneurs by giving them the skills needed to set up and maintain websites for their services and goods (1 World Connected, 2016). (See the IGF BPF Gender and Access 2016 for more case studies of initiatives aimed at overcoming barriers to women’s access.)

141 Leave a comment on paragraph 141 0 A contributor to the APrIGF’s public consultation also notes the importance of ICTs in enabling her and others to transcend gender inequality, find decent work and become economically empowered (SDG 8) (2016b):

142 Leave a comment on paragraph 142 0 Internet access has hugely changed my personal life and helped me change [the lives] of other women around me. The Women’s Digital League was formed when I was fired from my teaching job because the private school I was working at would not give me maternity leave. Sitting at home with a simple dial up connection, I found remote work. Earning my first $2.5 writing an article for someone in the US gave me much-needed confidence in my abilities. It was a stepping stone to becoming financially empowered and independent; being recognized as the top most impactful entrepreneurs in Pakistan; and in showing women they didn’t have to accept status quo. With greater financial empowerment I have seen young women not settle for the first proposal that came for them as they were no longer a burden on their household; send siblings to school/college; have greater say in decisions at home; be more respected and therefore have a higher self-esteem.

143 Leave a comment on paragraph 143 0 Contributors note that ensuring women have the skills and capacity to benefit from access is vital. In Cameroon, for instance, a centre for the promotion of female development, CEFEPROD, supports women in developing their capacity to use and manage digital technology (Central Africa IGF, 2016). In Guatemala, the Rija’tzuul Na’ooj library’s business centre offers free Internet access, technology and business skills training and space to meet; and have thereby enabled women to learn to advertise their products on social media and to benefit from other skills learned. In Uganda, in turn, the National Library offers ICT training specifically designed for female farmers; thus enabling them to learn more about weather forecasts, crop prices and helping them to participate in online markets (DC for Public Access in Libraries, 2016).

144 Leave a comment on paragraph 144 0 Besides basic skills training, education in media and digital literacy must furthermore address human rights and democratic citizenship online (c.f. Council of Europe, 2016a). Expanding women’s study of ICT-related topics and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is important to ensure the recruitment of women at all levels of organizations in new information and knowledge societies.

145 Leave a comment on paragraph 145 0 Various initiatives have been created to address the need to ensure women’s sustainable development and gender equality in the digital age, including the IGF BPF Gender and Access 2016, which is currently investigating barriers to access as well as the community-led responses to overcome such barriers. Another example is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UN Women’s Action Plan to Close the Digital Gender Gap, which recognizes the ‘transformative potential’ of ICTs for inclusive and sustainable (women’s) development (2015). The Broadband Commission also has a Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide in 2016/7, and in September 2016 ITU and UN Women together launched its campaign EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age.

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Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6)

147 Leave a comment on paragraph 147 0 Summary of targets: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

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149 Leave a comment on paragraph 149 0 Contributors note that meaningful access can help to promote more sustainable water and sanitation solutions by reducing water waste; enabling better data sharing; promoting smart water extraction, treatment and delivery infrastructure; by developing connected water solutions; and by protecting water and remotely monitoring its quality to allow early detection of contamination.

150 Leave a comment on paragraph 150 0 Samuel Guimarães Lima explains that in Brazil, for instance, embedded systems control water and sanitation management and enable citizens to check information about these systems (Brazil, 2016).

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Affordable and clean energy (SDG 7)

152 Leave a comment on paragraph 152 0 Summary of targets: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (also see SDG 13)

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154 Leave a comment on paragraph 154 0 Among other things, meaningful access can help ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy through the use of online platforms for capacity-building related to renewable energy; the implementation of smart energy meters linked to applications that prevent wastage; and by facilitating access to information about energy distribution and conservation. Ericsson, for instance, takes the view that the ICT sector can transform the energy sector by delivering synergies across technologies for sensing and control; the automation of processes; energy storage; renewable energy generation; machine-to-machine interactions; efficient energy use by consumers; as well as smart metering and grids, for instance (2016).

155 Leave a comment on paragraph 155 0 Besides the ICT sector’s potential to improve productivity and thus reduce power consumption and carbon emissions, it remains responsible for at least 1.3% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (as is discussed in more detail in SDG 13 below). Michael Oghia, for instance, warns about the potentially detrimental effect of not only IoT, but also data generation and cloud computing (2016c) on energy consumption.

156 Leave a comment on paragraph 156 0 A recent study by Mike Hazas, Janine Morley, Oliver Bates and Adrian Friday, for instance, takes the view that rising data demand ‘has an equivalent direct energy cost as data is transmitted and processed. Despite step changes in energy efficiency as new technology is introduced, this could arguably be offset by innovations in the marketplace such as increased expectations around high-definition video’. These researchers warn that ‘the [IoT] is set to trigger a whirl-wind of investment and connected infrastructure growth that has the massive potential to grow operational electricity use and energy of the Internet’ (2016).

157 Leave a comment on paragraph 157 0 ICTs and the Internet also, however, have the potential capacity to provide solutions that can reduce energy dependence and wastage in other sectors as a result of development pertaining to smart grids, transportation, buildings, work, travel, services, agriculture and land use. In the ICT sector more specifically, Michael Oghia argues that solutions are already manifesting in various ways and aiming to determine ‘how the Internet and ICTs can become completely sustainable in the future as well as better address and ultimately solve 21st century challenges’ (2016c).

158 Leave a comment on paragraph 158 0 The IGF DC on Internet and Climate Change similarly notes in its Statement on Climate Change and the Internet (2009):

159 Leave a comment on paragraph 159 0 … the Internet community is endeavoring to mitigate its own carbon footprint through new energy-efficient data centers, servers, applications and networks, and through the increased use of renewable energy supplies to power the Internet infrastructure.

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Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8)

161 Leave a comment on paragraph 161 0 Summary of targets: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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163 Leave a comment on paragraph 163 0 Contributors emphasise the importance of meaningful access for sustainable, sustained and inclusive economic growth, as is also confirmed by various studies already done (c.f. GSMA, 2016a; UNHCR, 2016). Among other things, contributors point out that access can help increase efficiency, facilitate the sharing of knowledge, enhance innovation, support the emergence of new business models in the digital economy, and increase overall productivity and growth. It also supports the development of transparent and efficient systems that support and bolster economic growth, including for e-taxation systems and in sectors ranging from transport, energy and media to banking (e.g. Central Africa IGF, 2016). As Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute notes (2016):

164 Leave a comment on paragraph 164 0 In recent years, the expansion of digital technology has operated as an engine for economic growth and for the transformation of the society as a whole, which contributes directly to the fulfilment of the SDGs.

165 Leave a comment on paragraph 165 0 Meaningful access can support full and productive employment by creating new jobs in new products and services; by producing tools to help people search for employment; by providing continuous training and online courses that can lead to more productive employment; and by providing economic opportunities in both urban and rural areas – also for people who might face barriers to finding employment, like women. As the World Bank notes (2016):

166 Leave a comment on paragraph 166 0 The internet’s ability to reduce transaction costs increases opportunities for people who face barriers in finding jobs or productive inputs.  

167 Leave a comment on paragraph 167 0 In South Africa, for example, a mobile application not only provides job-seeking advice and free coaching but also helps users automatically generate a CV based on users’ answers to 12 questions; thus helping them to search for work. As GSMA notes, this application had a total of 300,000 users as of 2014, with 20% of users securing jobs relevant to their interest area and experience (2016a).

168 Leave a comment on paragraph 168 0 For refugees, increased connectivity can also be important in enabling them to become more self-reliant by making it easier to create and sustain their own businesses and to do remote work – something that is particularly important in areas in which refugees face constraints on the right to work or participate in local economies (UNHCR, 2016).

169 Leave a comment on paragraph 169 0 Connectivity can furthermore support small businesses and their owners who tend to find it difficult to access capital and financial services in developing countries; thereby stimulating new enterprises to emerge and grow. As ISOC notes in a background contribution (2015):

170 Leave a comment on paragraph 170 0 Mobile money has brought banking services to many small enterprises in countries such as Kenya, allowing them to manage their resources and build their businesses. More than 50% the adult population of Kenya now makes use of mobile money. The Internet is enabling more financial services than just mobile money, including credit and insurance, while online investment facilities, such as Kiva, are also making crowdfunding available to small businesses.

171 Leave a comment on paragraph 171 0 Contributors furthermore note that connecting and enabling users can help to ensure more decent work by raising awareness pertaining to labour rights and the need to eliminate forced labour. On the other hand, the Diplo Foundation points out while ICT deployment is vital to the digital economy, it can only fulfil its development potential if suitable ‘education and capacity building are offered to workers, empowering them for current and upcoming challenges’ (2016). This point is similarly stressed by the World Bank, which notes that new opportunities for work come ‘hand in hand’ with ‘fundamental and rapid changes’ in the world of work; with digital technologies not only increasing the demand for new and advanced skills, but also rendering other skills obsolete (2016).

172 Leave a comment on paragraph 172 0 The IGF’s DC for Public Access in Libraries stresses the importance of libraries as major and/or sole providers of access to the Internet at low or no cost, to supporting economic development. In Latvia, for instance, for every dollar invested in public libraries from 2008 to 2010, nearly USD 2 in value (direct and indirect) was reportedly created. The return on investment of computers and Internet use in public libraries was even higher, returning more than USD 3 for every USD 1 invested (DC for Public Access in Libraries, 2016).

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9)

174 Leave a comment on paragraph 174 0 Summary of targets: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

175 Leave a comment on paragraph 175 0  

176 Leave a comment on paragraph 176 0 Contributions indicate that ICTs act as overall enablers to help build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation. As Ogero Telecom notes (Lebanon, 2016):

177 Leave a comment on paragraph 177 0 From bringing the most remote villages into the connected society, to solving pressing challenges around urbanization, ICT can have an impact on every one of the Sustainable Development Goals, and will provide essential infrastructure to help achieve them.

178 Leave a comment on paragraph 178 0 The Diplo Foundation points out that ICT deployment is not only vital to the digital economy but also plays a key role in innovation activities (2016). For developing countries in particular, ICTs offer the opportunity to ‘leapfrog old technologies by skipping the intermediate stages of technological development’. VimpelCom also notes in its contribution that it is evolving to a more ‘consumer-centric communications and technology company.’ It argues that disrupting traditional business models is ‘the only way to move the world closer to achieving the SDGs’ (2016).

179 Leave a comment on paragraph 179 0 While developments pertaining to the IoT may impact the SDGs more generally, they are particularly relevant to innovation. APC, for instance, points out that continued innovation in the ICT sector pertaining to particularly IoT could have ‘an important role to play’ in meeting the SDGs (2016a) (as was also addressed in SDG 7 above). IoT, the Diplo Foundation argues, can provide policymakers and communities with valuable and timely information that is will become increasingly important for supporting many of the SDGs, including urban planning and saving public resources, for example. It will also fundamentally impact the traditional lines between digital and physical industries, promising ‘a profound change to in the global economy’ (2016).

180 Leave a comment on paragraph 180 0 The GSMA takes the view that rural-urban divides have to be addressed if SDG 9 is to be met. In this regard, it points out that third generation (3G) mobile broadband coverage, for instance, only covers about 29% of the rural population but extends to 89% of the world’s urban population. It notes that the mobile industry in particular has a significant role to play in developing industry and providing critical infrastructure that can help other industries to develop (2016).

181 Leave a comment on paragraph 181 0  

Reduced inequalities (SDG 10)

182 Leave a comment on paragraph 182 0 Summary of targets: Reduce inequality within and among countries

183 Leave a comment on paragraph 183 0  

184 Leave a comment on paragraph 184 0 Inequalities within and among countries can be addressed by connecting and enabling more users, including through new opportunities for employment and income generation offered by and through various platforms (also addressed in SDG 8 above). As noted by GSMA, the Internet provides opportunities for low earners to increase their income by gaining access to digital economies; and can thereby accelerate progress towards reducing inequalities (2016a).

185 Leave a comment on paragraph 185 0 For example, a Kenya-based e-commerce tool, SOKO, enables local artisans in over 30 developing countries to participate in the global market place via their mobile phones. By submitting an entry form, vendor profile and product images via text message, producers can set up a storefront on SOKO’s website and market their products to online consumers around the world. On average, after two months of joining SOKO, artisans increase their income fourfold (GSMA, 2016a).

186 Leave a comment on paragraph 186 0 To help address inequalities that exist among countries, Ogero Telecom notes the importance of ensuring that a country’s interests are reflected and addressed in international decision-making forums (Lebanon, 2016).

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Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)

188 Leave a comment on paragraph 188 0 Summary of targets: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

189 Leave a comment on paragraph 189 0  

190 Leave a comment on paragraph 190 0 Contributors note that connecting and enabling users can help to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by enabling more efficient sharing of information pertaining to services and costs, by reducing administration costs, and by improving access to key areas such as health care, education and banking.

191 Leave a comment on paragraph 191 0 The Zimbabwe IGF notes in its contribution that access can help citizens to, for example, build sustainable smart homes using information they find online, and can also help with security solutions through Internet-monitored security systems (2016). Ogero Telecom argues that broadband and cloud solutions not only deliver e-government services but also help to provide opportunities for constructing smarter and greener buildings; and furthermore enable real-time road and traffic monitoring that can provide municipalities and traffic departments with vital information for the design of traffic and city services (Lebanon, 2016).

192 Leave a comment on paragraph 192 0 Fotjon Costa points out the importance of access in Albania, for instance, where the establishment of a digital archive in offices for immovable property registration has proven useful, along with the closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring of roads and crossroads (Albania, 2016). Samuel Guimarães Lima notes the importance of local municipalities and governments sharing vital information to make communities safer, more inclusive (e.g. through the sharing of opportunities pertaining to social programmes), and sustainable (Brazil, 2016).

193 Leave a comment on paragraph 193 0  

Responsible consumption (SDG 12)

194 Leave a comment on paragraph 194 0 Summary of targets: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

195 Leave a comment on paragraph 195 0  

196 Leave a comment on paragraph 196 0 Connecting and enabling users can help to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by supporting better information management. As noted by Ogero Telecom, for instance, the use of cloud services could ‘dramatically affect resource use, both in in material and energy’ (Lebanon, 2016).

197 Leave a comment on paragraph 197 0  

Climate action (SDG 13)

198 Leave a comment on paragraph 198 0 Summary: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (also see SDG 7)

199 Leave a comment on paragraph 199 0  

200 Leave a comment on paragraph 200 0 Contributors note that connecting and enabling users impact climate change in both positive and negative ways. David Souter, for instance, notes that there are two sides to the ICT sector’s relationship with climate change (2016).

201 Leave a comment on paragraph 201 0 On the one hand, the ICT sector currently contributes about 2.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. While this may not seem exceptionally large, the ICT sector’s contribution is growing more than twice as fast as emissions from the rest of the global economy (Souter, 2016). Michael Oghia explains that it is not only the infrastructure and devices needed to enable access that contribute to climate change, but to some extent also the effects of its governance (Serbia, 2016c):

202 Leave a comment on paragraph 202 0 …to effectively govern a critical global resource means heavy reliance on air travel, which also contributes to about 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

203 Leave a comment on paragraph 203 0 On the other hand, however, the Internet and ICTs can also improve productivity in various other economic sectors; thereby reducing power consumption and carbon emissions (also discussed in SDG 7 above) (Souter, 2016). It can help to raise and improve user awareness of the importance of addressing climate change and teach them ways to reduce impact. For instance, in Poland, a library partnered with environmental experts and ecologists to design an interactive education programme on ecology and the environment; enabling over 2,000 children to learn about environmentally-friendly lifestyles (IGF DC for Public Access in Libraries, 2016).

204 Leave a comment on paragraph 204 0 ICTs can also help to provide access to early warning systems. In Chennai, India, ICTs were crucial in assisting rescue efforts and relief work in 2015/16 floods (public comment response received by APrIGF, 2016b). GSMA also notes that the mobile industry, for instance, can support communities both before and after natural disasters by supporting the development and support of IoT-facilitated environmental monitoring that enables the collection of data that is needed for managing climate change; and by providing emergency broadcasting services (2015; 2016b).

205 Leave a comment on paragraph 205 0 On a more general level, ICT solutions can also help to monitor climate change and planetary processes (c.f. Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016) and to address climate change through innovative solutions such as collaborative tools for smart grids, smart building, optimised logistics, and delivery services. The DC on Internet and Climate Change points out that the Internet acts as an important enabling technology to combat climate change by, among other things, helping to reduce emissions in other sectors (2009). The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) has estimated that the potential impact of ICT-enabled solutions can be as much a 15% of total global carbon emissions per year (2010).

206 Leave a comment on paragraph 206 0 Besides the indirect carbon reduction benefits of broadband and ICTs, broadband-enabled ICTs like cloud computing (also discussed in SDG 7 above) also have potentially direct carbon reduction benefits. A Microsoft, Accenture & WSP study, for instance, indicates significant decreases in CO2 emissions per user across the board for cloud-based versus on-premise delivery of three Microsoft applications studied (2010).

207 Leave a comment on paragraph 207 0 Initiatives such as the GeSI can potentially help to share important information and best practices on ways to address e-waste solutions by driving the ‘ICT sustainability agenda’ through tools such as GeSI’s ICT Assessment Methodology, which provides guidance on the process of ‘identifying and quantifying the carbon-reducing effects of implementing an ICT solution’. It is important, however, that a better understanding is gained of how ICTs can benefit and support climate action in line with the SDGs. As GeSI notes (2010b):

208 Leave a comment on paragraph 208 0 ICT has tremendous potential to improve energy efficiency, cut carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. However, to understand and promote these benefits, merely implementing ICT solutions will not be sufficient—quantification of their impact is also critical.

209 Leave a comment on paragraph 209 0  

Life below water (SDG 14)

210 Leave a comment on paragraph 210 0 Summary of targets: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

211 Leave a comment on paragraph 211 0  

212 Leave a comment on paragraph 212 0 Contributors note that meaningful Internet access can help to raise awareness of the importance to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Contributions for instance point out that connectivity can help to monitor water flows, rain, snow, winds and to provide more effective early warning systems to protect species and fragile land areas, for instance.

213 Leave a comment on paragraph 213 0  

Life on land (SDG 15)

214 Leave a comment on paragraph 214 0 Summary of targets: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

215 Leave a comment on paragraph 215 0  

216 Leave a comment on paragraph 216 0 Similar to the ways in which meaningful access can support and protect life below land, it can also enable the protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.

217 Leave a comment on paragraph 217 0 The Council of Europe notes that involving more citizens in science, especially through the use of web platforms, applications and other Internet-based infrastructure and tools, can help to create new knowledge, provide data, and support informed decision-making in the environmental field; indirectly improving the planning of conservation actions (Council of Europe, Democratic Directorate Governance, 2016a):

218 Leave a comment on paragraph 218 0 Improving connectivity of the large public can support their engagement in citizen science, contribute to the monitoring of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and thus support world efforts in halting biodiversity loss.


Peace and justice (SDG 16)

219 Leave a comment on paragraph 219 0 Summary of targets: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

220 Leave a comment on paragraph 220 0  

221 Leave a comment on paragraph 221 0 Contributors note that meaningful Internet access can help to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development by, among other things, enabling and educating citizens to become increasingly engaged and enlightened and to participate more directly in their communities through, for example, e-petition platforms.

222 Leave a comment on paragraph 222 0 The Council of Europe points out that online platforms enable ‘petitioning, policy initiatives, problem-solving and pooling of expertise and crowdsourcing applications which increase the transparency of political processes and decisions’. Citizen-driven movements have, however, also led to criticism about the true impact of online civic participation, along with concerns about the protection of users’ personal data, undue influence of voters’ opinions, and the proliferation of online hate speech (2016a).

223 Leave a comment on paragraph 223 0 On the other hand, applications can also provide solutions to challenges threatening inclusive and peaceful societies. In Egypt, the application HarassMap, for instance, crowd-sources reports of sexual harassment using SMS and online reports and maps them online. The map helps to illustrate the scale of the problem and to raise awareness (Oghia, Serbia, 2016a).

224 Leave a comment on paragraph 224 0 Meaningful access is also important in the creation and sustenance of peaceful societies, as well as some countries’ transition to peaceful societies. As the DC for Public Access in Libraries points out, in Colombia communities that have historically experienced severe violence are also often without Internet, voice or data networks. Through a social organization, MAKAIA, an initiative to use TV white space to connect such communities hopes to allow meaningful access to complement peace processes (2016).

225 Leave a comment on paragraph 225 0 Increased access to information will also subject elected institutions to more scrutiny from engaged and empowered citizens, compelling such institutions to become more transparent and accountable (Council of Europe, 2016b). It can similarly help them save valuable resources (including for materials and administrative staff) and reach more citizens faster and more efficiently through e-government and e-services. To promote e-voting and e-democracy, the Council of Europe notes that there is a need for agreed and enforceable rules on a global level pertaining to the rights and obligations of Internet companies in relation to ‘their influence on political debate’; the authentication of users; the protection of personal data; and the curbing of hate speech (2016a).

226 Leave a comment on paragraph 226 0 Because citizens may increasingly have to rely on online services, many contributors point out that it is important for governments and other stakeholders to support digital literacy development campaigns to ensure citizens are not left behind as services are increasingly available only online. The Council of Europe, for instance, notes that educational measures are vital to support e-democracy (2016a). The DC for Public Access in Libraries points out that librarians are particularly well equipped and positioned to, along with other stakeholders, provide users with the tools and skills necessary to not only access and peruse content, but to also produce and share content (2016).

227 Leave a comment on paragraph 227 0 ICTs are also important in providing and sharing information that is vital to sustainable development, including raising awareness of human rights in a manner and using content that makes sense to local contexts and in local languages. Contributors point out that a better understanding of human rights may also help to counter abuse and violence; also online.

228 Leave a comment on paragraph 228 0 More generally speaking, contributors note that access to the Internet can help to decrease the costs of litigation and access to justice for all through the development of online services (e.g. online small claims courts, e-discovery, e-filing, or streamed court proceedings). In Albania, for instance, access to justice is facilitated through the digitization of court archives, the integration of various case systems and the development of web services linked to other governmental registers and actors (Costa, 2016). Meaningful Internet access can also enable more citizens to engage with justice and legal proceedings by learning more closely about legal proceedings through, for instance, following court reporting on social media platforms (as long as such reporting is fair, balanced and accurate and adheres to ordinary journalistic ethics/standards).

229 Leave a comment on paragraph 229 0 As the Council of Europe points out, however, various forms of (online) abuse and violence threaten ICTs’ ability to positively impact the development of inclusive and peaceful societies. For this reason, it is also important that effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are developed to support sustainable development and protect human rights online (c.f. IGF BPF Online Abuse and Gender-Based Violence 2015 recommendations). Where online forms of abuse and violence are concerned, for instance, law enforcement agencies (including police officers) and other members of the judiciary (including law clerks, magistrates and judges) have to be trained to adequately and fairly prosecute and deal with the crimes and offenses that are enabled through ICT use in a manner that respects the privacy and other rights of victims. Similarly, national legislation needs to reflect and adequately deal with online forms of abuse, violence and other offenses, including hate speech. (Council of Europe, 2016a).

230 Leave a comment on paragraph 230 0 Contributors also note the importance of providing wider institutional support for e-participation, for instance. The Council of Europe points out that ‘one of the biggest challenges’ is to convince civil servants and political leadership to interact more actively with citizens, just as it might be difficult to convince ‘disillusioned and sceptical citizens to use them’ (Council of Europe, 2016b).

231 Leave a comment on paragraph 231 0 The UNHCR notes that connectivity can help refugee populations by enabling support and humanitarian agencies to provide security-enhancing services so that relevant information can be shared in a timely manner on websites; by streamlining asylum processes; by providing hotline services to support those in need; by enhancing incident reporting and tracking; and by ensuring female refugees’ safety (2016).

232 Leave a comment on paragraph 232 0 Lastly, Ericsson stresses the importance of adequately measuring progress in the achievement of the SDGs, including by ensuring that all citizens have legal proof identification (the need for which is expressed in SDG target 16.9), and notes that this right affects a citizen’s right to vote, open a bank account, go to school or access health services, for instance. It takes the view that digital identities can ‘leapfrog analogue ID infrastructures and scale access to, and participation in, the digital economy (2015).

233 Leave a comment on paragraph 233 0  

Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17)

234 Leave a comment on paragraph 234 0 Summary of targets: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

235 Leave a comment on paragraph 235 0  

236 Leave a comment on paragraph 236 0 Meaningful Internet access can provide tools for strengthening means of implementing the SDGs, and can also help to revitalise and catalyse the global partnership for sustainable development. As Ogero Telecom points out, it is vital that the importance of ICTs and Internet access as enablers for development be recognised and addressed in a consistent manner across various sectors, including education, health and banking (Lebanon, 2016).

237 Leave a comment on paragraph 237 0 VimpelCom notes in its contribution that it believes that ‘companies should take the responsibility to act as engaged corporate citizens’ and that ‘large companies can serve as a platform, enabling individuals and entrepreneurs to be active participants rather than passive beneficiaries of the digital world’. As an example of such cooperation, it mentions an incubator centre that supports local entrepreneurs recently launched in Bangladesh with the support of VimpelCom and the Bangladesh government (2016):

238 Leave a comment on paragraph 238 0 This shows that by taking a broad approach to doing business, companies can be facilitators of bottom-up innovation in addition to delivering technological development top-down.

239 Leave a comment on paragraph 239 0 Ericsson argues that while many governments are ‘at least two to three technology cycles behind the technology frontier’, it is vital to raise awareness of the positive potential of ICT in, for instance, delivering public sector services. It argues for not only better use of USFs, but also for more public-private partnerships and new business models that can help to bridge ‘the last mile of connecting the unconnected’. The role of policymakers in ‘mobilizing national collective action to leverage ICT for digital transformation’ is also stressed by Ericsson in its recent report on the role of ICT in supporting the SDGs (2016).

240 Leave a comment on paragraph 240 0 At the APrIGF, the importance of multistakeholder coordination and collaboration to support the SDGs was furthermore stressed; including the need to share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources (2016a). The Council of Europe similarly takes the view that multistakeholder mechanisms are vital in reaching the SDGs. It argues that Internet governance needs to become ‘more democratic’ and that the establishment of a ‘multi-disciplinary framework for Internet governance and information society policy development and implementation’ could help to widen essential stakeholder participation and collaboration (2016b). In another recent report, GSMA takes the view that cooperation is crucial in reaching the SDGs (2016b):

241 Leave a comment on paragraph 241 0 The SDGs are for all of us, in all our roles: for governments, public and private enterprise, society, and as individuals. Unlike the narrower scope of the MDGs, the SDGs create a common language for sustainability and provide a common framework for the ambition to create a better world.

242 Leave a comment on paragraph 242 0 [1] Summarised from barriers cited by contributors, including: 1 World Connected, 2016; UNHCR, 2016; Facebook, 2016; Namanga, Cameroon, 2016; Diplo Foundation, 2016; GSMA, 2016a; Oghia, Serbia, 2016; APC, 2016a; Rayamajhi, Nepal, 2016; Zimbabwe IGF, 2016; Ogero Telecom, Lebanon, 2016; the Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016; VimpelCom, 2016; Lima, Brazil, 2016; public comment responses received by APrIGF, 2016b; Central Africa IGF, 2016; Zazai, Afghanistan, 2016; Hendi, Canada, 2016.

243 Leave a comment on paragraph 243 0 [2] Note that for ease of interpretation, the summary headings used by the UN for the SDGs have also been adopted in this paper.

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Source: https://www.intgovforum.org/review/cenb/part-a-access-and-the-sdgs/