Q1/2020 - Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development

On the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development launched a new campaign titled “Broadband Transforming Lives”. The campaign is intended to help improve access to broadband, especially in developing countries[1]. At the meeting, Carlos M. Jarque, who represented the co-chair of the Commission, Carlos Slim Helú from Mexico, complained that 3.6 billion people were still offline. He said that the Commission wanted to help ensure that broadband was not considered a luxury good, but a basic infrastructure for everyone. Access to broadband was a human right. ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao called for new innovative financing models in the remaining decade to achieve the UN's sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030. ITU and UNESCO, along with Carlos Slim Helú and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, are co-chairs of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, which was founded in 2010. One of the Commission's main projects is the “ITU-UNICEF School Connectivity Project” (GIGA Project), which aims to provide access to broadband, especially for young people in the global South[2].

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Broadband Commission for Sustainable DevelopmentQ1/2020
  1. [1] At Davos, UN Broadband Commission advocates for financing inclusive meaningful connectivity for sustainable impact, Davos, 21 January 2020, in: https://broadbandcommission.org/events/Pages/WEF20.aspx
  2. [2] At Davos, UN Broadband Commission advocates for financing inclusive meaningful connectivity for sustainable impact: Commissioners launch “Broadband Transforming Lives” campaign at WEF’s 50th Annual Meeting in Switzerland, Davos, 21 January 2020, „The GIGA initiative is anchored in the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation’s findings which state, that by "2030 every adult should have affordable access to digital networks" and calls for "a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN to create a platform for sharing digital public goods." The GIGA initiative has four pillars: 1. Map connectivity of every school and use it to show where connectivity demand is, and use new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to create a real-time map of school locations and their connectivity level. 2. Finance a Common Bid that aggregates connectivity demand in schools (pooled across multiple countries) and creates a cost-forecasting model to make connectivity more affordable. 3. Connect every school to the Internet and create a monitoring system to oversee the level and quality of connectivity delivered by internet service providers. 4. Empower young people with skills by investing in, and scaling up, open source solutions that – with connectivity – will be available to children, teachers and administrators.“ In: https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/PR01-2020-Broadband-Commission-Meaningful-Universal-Connectivity.aspx