On its current trajectory, the world will be unable to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our biosphere is under threat from rising carbon emissions, our society sees persistent inequality and lack of access to basic services, and our economy continues to drive the unsustainable consumption of natural resources. Climate action (SDG 13) is a critical pre-condition for the 2030 Agenda. Addressing the climate crisis transcends geography and local interests and is an issue that nation states have committed to, but one that requires truly integrated and innovative solutions.
To fully support the transformation required by the SDGs, digital technologies need to be developed and deployed with positive societal impact in mind and within a context of shared aspiration: digital with purpose. Digital with purpose has three components:
All organisations and individuals need to make four “universal commitments”:
Organisations need to do this to secure not only all our futures, but also their own long term success. The two are increasingly, indivisibly, inter-dependent.
Leadership by the ICT sector requires sector level and individual organisation dedication to:
Whilst digital technologies will help close the gap to some of the 2030 targets, performance against approximately a third of targets analysed is expected to deteriorate even after increased technology adoption. Digital technologies need to do much more, and there is plenty to suggest they can:
Digital technologies can also be deployed in ways that counter the Goals: fuelling consumption, hardening the digital divide, creating dislocation in the labour markets, consolidating power of the few over the many. Enhancing the positive impact needs to go hand in hand with minimising any negative impacts.
In the face of this challenge, digital technologies, the powerful collection of seven technologies2 that increasingly pervade our lives, drive positive progress across the 2030 Agenda in four key ways. They help us:
GeSI, its members and partners stand by these commitments and announce their intention to work across the industry and with the key stakeholder groups to make Digital with Purpose a reality. Join us!