The compilation of previous blog posts focuses on ICT utilization 4 SDGs, various initiatives and innovations aiding in their achievement. With the proper utilization, ICTs can help deliver the transformative advancement the society urges for, and ensure efficiency in the foreseeable future. The main areas dealt with in the blog posts are effects of COVID19 on SDGs, the future generation of wireless communications (6G) technologies and its interconnectedness, which attest these processes will lead to a more balanced and universal social and digital equality, and IOT as one of the biggest drivers and facilitators of sustainable and environmental efforts.
Without a doubt, ‘ICTs’ potential has expanded rapidly during the initial years of the twenty-first century. Internet connectivity is now widespread in developing countries, and mobile telephony close to ubiquitous: far more people now have access to a mobile than have access to sewerage, piped water or electricity.’ (Mitullah et al. 2016 in Heeks 2018;1)
ICT utilization 4 SDGs
Athwart the globe, human lives and development work are exponentially intertwined with ICTs. Information and communication technology (ICT) can be described as widely contained and grand scope of transformative technology. Not only can ICT convey innovation, connectivity, productivity and efficiency results across different categories of impact, but can also strengthen the overall infrastructure and aid in transforming socio-economic exclusion.
According to Heeks, explosion of work on ICTs for development (ICT4D) has (unconsciously) followed Marx’s dictum: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world differently; the point is, to change it.” There has been a bias to action, not a bias to knowledge. We are changing the world without interpreting or understanding it.”(Heeks, n.d.)
The SDGs present a strong aspirational tipping point for integration of development, and have become the main reference when discussing global development and tackling different development agendas. It is an overwhelming task, to manage the implementation of the goals. As described precisely in Sustainable Development Goal 17- aiming to strengthen and revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development, this goal points out to the joint approach, where all the aid is vital and all the stakeholders carry out crucial agendas at the global, regional, national and local levels — built upon principles and values, and upon a shared vision and shared goals for success.
Additionally, there is a strong division of the Global North and Global South. Inability to access ICT, affects 52 % of women and 42 % of men worldwide. The 2030 Agenda, however, does indicate the importance of dealing with political issues like citizen participation, transparency and accountability in order to achieve better development results. The focus point of the societal transformation is the effective adaptation of ICT, making it the ultimate backbone of efficient and rapid development growth.
UN, states that the never-ending need for strong engagement and cooperation is essential in light of the still existing barriers to ICT adoption. By joining forces, policymakers, different organizations and the ICT sector will be crucial in life-transforming achievement of SDGs.
ICT amidst COVID -19
One of the first blog posts, mentions, the impact of COVID-19 on the development and achievement of the SDGs has been substantial. Global GDP is expected to contract sharply in 2020 –range from 3.2 percent to 5.2 per cent- potentially the largest contraction in economic activity since the Great Depression, and far worse than the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. (United Nations, 2020; World Bank, 2020). In 2020 alone, millions ( around 35 to 60 million) could be pushed into extreme poverty, reversing the declining global trend of the last twenty-plus years (United Nations, 2020; World Bank). Schools being shut down have affected over 90 per cent of the world’s student population—1.6 billion children and youth (UNESCO, 2020)
Nevertheless, countries, as they move forward and make progress towards recovery, have to take into consideration, the importance of setting a trajectory line in response to achieving the goals. Building on upon this occurrence, the UN has sought out the response for the recovery through three priorities, which are crucial for SDG implementation.
Firstly, it is important to preserve progress that has already been made towards eradicating basic scarcities. In other words, maintaining the progress already made has to be a priority during the crisis concern and afterwards. It is crucial to support those that face current risk of poverty, hunger or disease, while enabling their safe restoration to normality and everyday basic needs. These actions should not focus solely on the short-term agenda, rather face and deal with the cause of these detriments, taking into consideration elimination of social or legal barriers for marginalized and hindered groups; and provide support that tends directly to their specific needs.
Secondly, accelerate the universal provision of quality essential services. The pandemic has exposed even more the different denominators of weakness. Beside from the basic scarcities already mentioned, these now also enclose lack of access to water, sanitation, clean energy and the Internet. Taken together, these demand collective action, that would in the long run help to secure the well-being of those most affected as well as sanction inequalities and allow inclusivity.
And lastly, to reverse course on the degradation of nature. Even before the COVID-19, several issues regarding the earth well-being were stagnating with action. These included gas emissions, land degradation, biodiversity loss, to name a few. The pandemic itself had shown the sizable challenge, but also a chance to reverse certain damages.The current Covid-19 pandemic should increase the environmental awareness, contribute to increasing the scale of biodiversity protection and the need to increase the scale of implementation of sustainable development principles into economic processes.
In words of Arundhati Roy,
‘Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.’
6G and SDGs
Moving forward, mentioning ICT as a pivotal tool in generation progress, it brings us to the next blog post discussing future generation of wireless communication technologies and its vast functions in regards to SDGs. Around every decade, a new communication system is being introduced, that provides different technological features, enabling high standard usage of smart devices. Motivation for every new mobile generation comes from shortcomings of the previous one. What 6G will able to provide in the next decade is a feature of connecting everything and everyone, integrate different technologies and apps, and boost IOT, as the commercial launch of 6G communications systems and SDGs, is both aimed for 2030.
Mobile industry’s contribution to the achievement of the UN SDGs is primarily considered through three levels: 1) the deployment of infrastructure and networks forming the foundation for digital economy, 2) providing of access and connectivity allowing people to use mobile communications, 3) by enabling life-enhancing services and relevant content for people.
Above all, reducing inequalities and securing a better quality of life for those most vulnerable and marginalizes can be described as the beating heart of SDGs. ‘The West is seen as the role model and in order to develop, people and nations need to become more ‘Western’ (Sein, Thapa, Hatakka and Sæbø, 2018) As for the societal challenges, it is important to terminate gender gaps and introduce inclusivity, the digital divide and accessibility. By ensuring these indicators, change can be generated. According to (Faulkner, 2001), women are in any case generally regarded as mere consumers and recipients of technologies, and the power of women to make decisions about technologies is limited, at best, to choosing technologies that are already available commercially.
All of these concerns have been voiced in various ways: defining the inability to access and use basic ICTs as “digital poverty” and/or arguing that such access and use, particularly Internet-related, is a fundamental human right (McIver et al. 2003, Barrantes 2007 in Heeks 2018; 85). Digital poverty should be eradicated, allowing the above mentioned inclusivity to thrive.
IoT and SDGs
Going further, to the last blog post, regarding IoT, IoT is described as billions of physical devices around the world that are connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data. Any physical object can be transformed into an IoT device if it can be connected to the internet to be controlled or communicate information and that makes is so ingenious.
IoT is mostly used in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, energy development and smart cities. It is safe to say that the IoT can extensively contribute to achievement of SDGs, especially through its capacity to increase the action performance and save costs. As the IoT is still a relatively young and complex technology, its use is mostly driven by different businesses. In other words, its potential for more vulnerable populations in the global south and the environment remains underdeveloped. Similarly, this points to an important dilemma for the IoT today from a sustainability perspective: while the main driver for IoT adoption is cost reduction and increased efficiency, sustainability goals such as no to poverty and climate action often prevail as secondary thought in its development.
he role of public policy and investment will be essential to ensure that IoT solutions contribute to other SDGs in the near future and we outline different approaches for measuring this contribution. In order to measure the impact of IoT on the SDGs, the measurement needs to be broken down into concrete IoT applications and specific SDG targets or indicators. New technologies are an important aspect of the digital transformations necessary for achieving the SDGs. The public and the private sector need to work together to make this a reality.
To conclude this final blog post, in terms of being a part of a group, our group has recognized from the beginning, ways in which good teamwork plays a crucial role in implementing the common agenda. Here, I believe the team roles were used in a proper way, by fostering abilities and balancing out the individual strengths and weaknesses. Through this process, I have recognized my advantages as a team member and have put my competence to a good use. As discussed between the group members, aside from successfully completing the assignment, it was pivotal in our opinion to optimally maximize individual aptitude in order to generate a common objective. In terms of quality achievement, all benefited in terms of dynamics and interdependence, but most of all, our individual knowledge and strengths have ultimately generated a successful assignment.
In addition, taking into consideration the personal gain and benefits applied in professional context, the dynamics of group work have provided a different approach and easier way to tackle the problem’s complexity. Among all members, diverse perspectives were shared and different skills encountered. All of which significantly improves ones credibility, besides being a working professional, also being a formidable team player.
The overall impressions bring positive connotations to mind, in terms of collaborating with fellow students as well as dwelling on different areas of interest. I believe I have broaden my knowledge on the chosen interest topic but also by reading the post of my fellow colleagues.
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