Technology is a constantly changing field. It prides itself on innovation. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are the technologies in the conveying, manipulation, and storage of data through electronics. This includes radio, televisions, smartphones, computers and other tablet devices, etc. Particularly before the internet was invested, populations relied on radios for their information, and have a long-stemmed history in how political actors and important figures used radio to convey messages to populations. Technology and these platforms of receiving technology can be used for education purposes, to not only increase information and research but to expand the ways in which individuals can receive and give and education. It moved education away from the classroom, which creates further opportunities for youth and adults.
However, within developing countries, technology is not nearly as accessible. There is an overall lack of infrastructure for these types of mechanisms within developing areas. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the groundwork for projects like technological infrastructure, as it will increase the ability for rural populations to obtain an education.
Sustainable Development Goals can utilize ICTs within their framework. The world has accepted SDGs and has committed to working to achieve them. Therefore it is necessary that all countries explore all options and tools available. ICTs can be utilized to drive progress and help countries achieve benchmarks. The Earth Institute of Columbia University discusses the potential barriers between SDGs and ICTs. It stated that policies and regulations need to play catch-up to the ever-changing innovations of ICTs and continuously re-work mechanisms to achieve their goals.
Furthermore, the report also discusses how public policy and regulations are not fully utilizing ICTs and that more infrastructure is needed to decrease the number of people who do not currently have access to the internet. There needs to be a heightened collaboration between the public and private sector, to increase funding opportunities to increase opportunities for populations to utilize ICTs.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a United Nations-sponsored event that discusses. information and communication. WSIS+10 was representative of the decades since the first summit in 2005. The summit mainly works on the implementation of technologies in developing countries. Through this summit, steps are being taken to allow populations to utilize ICTs to their fullest extent, and in turn, allow countries to work towards achieving 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
I’m interested in the role of the SDGs. To me, SDGs seem to work more broadly on poverty reduction. Does access to ICTs contribute to this goal or is the underlying idea more about the access to technology being a fundamental human right? Whichever one it is, how do you think a multi stakeholder conversation on an international stage like WSIS translate to technological infrastructure on the ground?