The new global digital reality

The new global digital reality
Digital offers a ray of hope in tough global times
Digital offers a ray of hope in tough global times
The world experienced growing humanitarian crises and conflicts, combined with international economic uncertainties which have deepened divides and inequalities.
Climate change, too, became obvious as part of our daily reality, amid unseasonable weather, the rising incidence of disasters, and increasing displacement of hard-hit people and communities.
Technologies – undeterred by human frailties – kept on advancing, and generative AI platforms, led by Chat GPT, emerged with a bang. For many of us, the risks of uncontrolled AI development served as a wake-up call in 2023.
Those risks are undeniable. But we should not let this potential negative obscure the existing upsides.
Like with any new and unfamiliar technology, AI demands international cooperation, open and inclusive dialogue, and appropriate regulation and governance. Handled right, its unprecedented power could help reinvigorate sustainable development, drive effective climate action, build circular economies, and improve everyone’s health, education, and nutrition.
Digital game-changers
Over the last difficult year, digital transformation – with AI and other tech at its heart – offered the world a ray of hope.
Game-changing digital solutions, including AI, can accelerate progress on 70 per cent of targets under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the UN 2030 Agenda reached its midpoint, the prospect of this exponential tech boost could only be good news.
The global tech industry showed its readiness to embrace a better future. ITU brought together over 40 tech partners, including industry associations and private companies, at the UN climate conference, COP28, in a collective commitment to Green Digital Action.
In parallel, ITU Member States stood together at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23) to harness the potential of technical advances in space, science, and terrestrial radio services. This puts the world on a solid path towards a more connected, sustainable, equitable and inclusive digital future for all.
We have kept building on our ongoing work and stepping up landmark initiatives in pursuit of universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation.
Partner2Connect, the key ITU-led pledging platform, closed the year with a total of 861 pledges worth nearly USD 37 billion dedicated to ensuring connectivity for all, starting with the world’s hardest-to-reach communities.
Giga, ITU’s joint initiative with UNICEF to connect every school in the world to the Internet, is now active in 30 countries, 12 of which came on board in 2023.
A UN report last year identified over 200 projects leveraging digital solutions to advance the various aspects of sustainable development.
Advancing key priorities
Our strategy for the next four years aims to leverage the world’s intensifying web of networks and technologies to build sustainable and inclusive prosperity.
Our strategic plan sets out two overarching goals:
Universal connectivity – in effect, bringing the last 2.6 billion people online and bridging socio-economic divides through meaningful, affordable digital access globally.
Sustainable digital transformation – aligning innovative tech with sustainable development and global climate action, while fostering equitable, inclusive digital development for all.
Jan 13, 2024
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