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Rio+20 outcome paper sees ICT as catalyst for sustainable development

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The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) has recognized the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in accelerating the implementation of sustainable development commitments, in its outcome document.

The Rio+20 outcome document “The Future We Want” has been agreed on by UN Member States and it defines the key principles that will guide the international community in the coming years to move the sustainable development agenda forward.

According to the ITU, the just-ended Summit’s outcome document, has singled out information and communication technologies (ICTs) in  facilitating the flow of information between governments and the public, promoting knowledge exchange, technical cooperation and capacity building for all three pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

In a statement June 22, 2012, the ITU said Member States, while reaffirming their commitment to the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society, also stated that “information and communication technology (ICT) is facilitating the flow of information between governments and the public. In this regard, it is essential to work toward improved access to ICT, especially broadband network and services, and bridge the digital divide, recognizing the contribution of international cooperation” to enhance agriculture services and improve communication infrastructure, especially in least developed countries and small island developing states (SIDS).

The need for cooperation and sharing of early warning systems from relevant organizations, and the importance of technologies for mapping, observing and sustainable development policy-making were also recognized.

Commenting, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said “It is appropriate that Information and communication technologies have been recognized as critical instruments to achieve sustainable development by the landmark Rio+20 Conference.”

Mr Touré believes that ICTs are unique, cost-effective, inclusive and environment friendly tools to spur green growth and create jobs, promote social progress, and ensure environmental protection and the sustainable future that we want.

By Ekow Quandzie

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