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(ITU) ICT vital to achieving U.N. sustainability goal: ITU official

2014/10/29 11:09

By Kang Yoon-seung

BUSAN, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- Information, communication and technology (ICT) can and should be given a more prominent role in achieving the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and therefore be prioritized higher in agendas set by the international community, a U.N. agency official said Wednesday.

The role of ICT in world growth is one of the central issues at the ongoing International Telecommunications Union, a U.N. agency, conference in this South Korean port city.

"The U.N. will be establishing universal goals for next year that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which will come to end in 2015," said Gary Fowlie, the head of the ITU Liaison Office to the U.N. "They will set the agenda to increase prosperity, decrease poverty and improve health."

   "But to do that, you have to use information, communications (and) technologies as tools to stimulate growth," Fowlie said. "As a result, we will have economic growth, greater prosperity and people who feel more involved in communities and empower themselves."

  

Gary Fowlie, the head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Liaison Office to the United Nations, gives a speech on Oct. 29, 2014 at a conference, emphasizing the role of the ICT in achieving the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals. (Yonhap) Gary Fowlie, the head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Liaison Office to the United Nations, gives a speech on Oct. 29, 2014 at a conference, emphasizing the role of the ICT in achieving the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals. (Yonhap)

ICT has been incorporated in four of 17 goals proposed in the SDG, a number that the ITU sees as insignificant.

"We missed the revolutionary potential of ICTs for development in the MDG era, but we cannot afford to make this omission again. So we need to ensure that ICTs are seen as the key enablers they indisputably are, and that ICTs have the prominent role...in the future of SDGs," the ITU official said.

The ICT sectors can act as a "trigger for increasing productivity and competitiveness among small-and-medium enterprises," and also "increase literacy and engagement of people living in poverty," which will help accomplish the SDG's primary objective of ending "poverty in all its forms everywhere."

   E-governance, e-diplomacy and e-voting can even promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, Fowlie said.

South Korea, as one of the leading countries in the world in terms of ICT, can support efforts toward such goals, he added.

"What South Korea is doing already provides a model (for the sustainable development,)" Fowlie said. "(With) the best broadband connectivity in the world, (South Korea) has shown (how ICT) has acted as catalysts for its own economy and people's capacity in education."

   Fowlie said South Korea can also contribute more to the world via its so-called "creative economy drive," which will enable people to be more innovative and creative and find solutions to global problems.

One of the key policies of President Park Geun-hye, the creative economy campaign seeks to foster economic growth by turning innovative ideas into actual businesses through the use of advanced technology.

South Korea is currently hosting the 19th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, referred to as the PP-14, in the port city of Busan until Nov. 7.

colin@yna.co.kr

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