Information and communications technology (ICT), deployed strategically and used responsibly, is a force for good and a powerful lever by which to drive progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Fundamentally, ICT provides access to information, and if that access is provided equitably, it can drive societal progress and efficiency, ultimately building a more sustainable world.
In 2018 and 2019, we worked with Huawei again to publish the next addition of The ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark (ICT SDG Benchmark). The Benchmark allows us to measure progress toward the vision of a more equitable society. Specifically, it seeks to explore the relationship between ICT and sustainable development, and to understand how countries can leverage digital technology to accelerate progress on social, environmental and economic issues. The aim of the report is to:
- Examine the degree to which ICT development enables progress on the SDGs
- Provide global insight by analyzing 55 countries
- Assess annual progress of countries included in the Benchmark and identify what enabled this progress
- Identify technologies and best practices that could benefit other countries
We encourage policymakers, business leaders, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs to seek to introduce ICT policies, products, and initiatives that focus on society, the environment, and economic development.
This is the third annual ICT SDG Benchmark report, and it is now part of Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index series. This year, we made multiple updates to the report including adding six additional countries to the 49 analyzed in the 2018 report, bringing the total to 55 countries. The countries were added in an effort to move closer to covering the full scope of countries included in Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index, bringing greater consistency to the country set across both studies.
Of the 49 countries for which we have year-over-year data, all but four increased their scores over the year, highlighting overall global progress on the SDGs covered in this report and ICT more broadly. The magnitude of score changes, both positive and negative, are largest for the countries that fall in the lower third of the benchmark. The 2019 Benchmark also reveals that there is still a significant gap to close between highest and lowest performing countries. Compared to the previous year, this gap has grown from 50 points in 2018 to 53 in 2019. This suggests continuing challenges for both ICT development and SDG progress for many countries.
We encourage policymakers, business leaders, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs to seek to introduce ICT policies, products, and initiatives that support equitable improvements to society, the environment, and economic development. Engaging in partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives to leverage the power of numerous stakeholders will be critical to harnessing ICT to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Although ICT is not the only tool available to us in the pursuit for a sustainable and just world, it promises greater speed and efficiency for progress on the world’s most urgent and complex challenges.