Asunción, Paraguay (24th February 2017) – The Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), Ms. Bernadette Lewis, led a discussion panel addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Regional Development Forum on 20th March in Asunción, Paraguay.
In her introductory remarks, the SG noted that in September 2015, the countries of the United Nations (UN) adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in itsTransforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda which came into force on 1st January 2016 seeks to “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty, heal and secure the plane and shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path”. The SG explained that the achievement of these goals is a collective responsibility that requires collaboration and honest, dedicated cooperation by all global citizens, including governments, the private sector and civil society.
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The discussants in the Panel, Teresita Palacios, President of CONATEL (National Telecommunications Commission), Paraguay; Jorge Torres, Deputy Secretary of COMTELCA (Regional Technical Commission of Telecommunications), Honuduras; Roberto Hirayama, Regulation Specialist, Anatel, Brazil; and Chiedozie Dickson Osuala, Manager Market Economics, Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT); explored the role of different stakeholders in promoting the SDGs, and how information and communication technologies (ICT) could help in achieving them.
Without exception, the panelists were of the firm view that affordable access to ICT and Broadband were essential for the attainment of the SDGs. They pointed specifically to the potential of ICT to promote social inclusion and foster economic development but this would require extending networks to all national communities.
SG Lewis in summing up the contributions of the panelists emphasized the need for transdisciplinary collaboration in setting realistic goals, planning and execution of ICT projects. She noted that public awareness and education of all stakeholders were integral to the process.
Finally, demonstrated political will to drive ICT for development and measurement of the progress are mandatory in order for the potential of ICT to contribute to the attainment of the SDGs.