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Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Enhancing access to and security of ICTs
New York, November 18, 2014: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) co-hosted the special event, “Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Enhancing access to and security of ICTs,” on Tuesday, 18 November 2014, in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations in New York.
The event facilitated discussion among Member States to identify challenges and opportunities information and communications technologies (ICTs) will pose in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Throughout the discussion panelists exchanged experiences and expertise on trust-building, security measures, providing equal access to ICTs and promoting sustainable development in the digital world. Other topics included: ICT user and provider responsibilities, role of government in internet security, security education for safely navigating the digital world, overcoming the digital divide, as well as the relationship between trust and security, and how it affects users.
The discussion was eloquently led by His Excellency Mr. Janis Karklins, Ambassador at large, Latvia and Chair of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), Internet Governance Forum (IGF), who set the tone for a productive discussion. The panelists presented their perspectives and concrete suggestions, and included Ambassador Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA); Ms. Rima Qureshi, Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson; Ms. Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, Internet Matters; Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, Vice-President of ECOSOC, served as Chair of the event.
Ambassador Wu spoke about the positive aspects of ICTs and their potential contributions to achieve the post-2015 SDGs. However, he pointed out that, “While all these advancements have improved our lives they have also accelerated the rise of an entirely new problem, the security of ICTs. We need to balance our work between providing more access while at the same time ensuring security of ICTs. We need to ensure data security and user trust in online world as digitally driven economic growth continues. Reducing or eliminating numerous factors that inhibit online interactions and exchange could cause this growth to be even fast and have an even bigger impact for the post-2015 development agenda. We need that global citizens find a trustworthy cyberspace that promotes peace and security, enables development and respects human rights.”
This December will mark the second and final term of Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of ITU; this event being his last formal meeting at the United Nations. All the panelists recognised Dr. Touré’s excellent leadership and accomplishments during his tenure. Dr. Touré expressed his gratitude and added that he enjoyed every single minute of his work at ITU!
One of the major points Dr. Touré remarked on was a recently passed initiative, spearheaded by the ITU: Connect 2020, which will create tangible and specific targets that will measure social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and development of ICTs. The four pillars that make up Connect 2020 are growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation & partnerships. Dr. Touré explained, “Through the resolution on Connect 2020 agenda for global telecommunications, ICT development, ITU Member States committed to ensure the important role of ICTs as a key enabler to achieving the post-2015 development agenda and to acknowledge them as an important tool to achieve overall SDGs.”
Attendees included member states, the private sector and senior UN officials. The head of delegation for ITU at the event was, Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership Department, who stated, “ICTs are a key enabler in the 3 pillars of sustainable development.”
The Global Partnerships Forum had the pleasure of attending the special event – Mr. Amir Dossal, Chairman also serves as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of ITU for Global partnerships.