Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Inclusive Sustainable Development

ICTs are critical to inclusive sustainable development as our world transitions to technology-dependent interactions/productions/goods. In the Maitland Commission Report, it is stated that telecommunication is taken for granted “as a key factor in economic, commercial, and social activity and as a prime source of cultural enrichment” in industrialized countries while in developing countries, telecommunications systems are “inadequate to sustain essential services” (3). Therefore, ICTs are critical to inclusive sustainable development because of their economic, social, commercial, and cultural benefits. Further, ICTs help sustain essential services, such as healthcare, education, finances, etc. The Maitland Commission Report goes so far as to say that “the existence of an efficient telecommunications system confers direct and indirect benefits which entitle it to be regarded as a public good” (8). As a public good, ICTs are important in situations of emergencies and for health services, and can “reduce the need to travel and facilitate better use of existing transport facilities,” to name a few of its uses (9). The ITU Matrix linking SDGs and WSIS Action Lines outlines different benefits and uses of ICTs. For example, action line C2 states that infrastructure is necessary to achieving digital inclusion and affordable ICT access, highlighting the importance of infrastructure in the promotion of ICTs. Action line C3 on access to information and knowledge portrays how ICTs “allow people, anywhere in the world, to access information and knowledge almost instantaneously,” continuing that instant access to knowledge and information is beneficial. 

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