“In the coming years, billions of devices will be connected to the “Internet of Things”, creating a digital network of virtually everything,” said UN DESA’s Under-Secretary General Mr. Wu Hongbo as he took part in a special event of ECOSOC on 18 November focusing on “Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Enhancing access to and security of ICTs”.
What impact does access to and security of ICTs have on sustainable development; how can we rethink personal data and strengthen the trust of citizens online; and what role do multilateral organizations play in building trust and security?
These were some of the topics taking centre stage at the event arranged by UN DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) together with the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (OESC) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Chaired by Ambassador Oh Joon, the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and moderated by Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš in his capacity as Chair of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the discussion featured panellists including Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of ITU; Lynn St. Amour, President and Chief Executive Officer, Internet Matters; and Rima Qureshi, Chief Strategy Officer, the Ericsson Group; and Mr. Wu.
Ambassador Oh stressed the importance of ICTs to achieving the three dimensions of sustainable development, while spotlighting the need to build confidence in security in an atmosphere where people expose themselves to data risks and privacy insecurity. Ambassador Karklins pointed to the increasing complexity of issues related to the vast expansion of the Internet, and noted how UN bodies, including the ECOSOC and the General Assembly, had engaged with these issues.
“In the coming years, billions of devices will be connected to the “Internet of Things”, creating a digital network of virtually everything,” said Mr. Wu. “For example, some private sector companies are helping to develop systems to enable communities directly affected by Ebola to fight it in Sierra Leone. Citizens can use SMS or voice calls that are location-specific to report Ebola-related issues to government, health agencies and others for tracking the disease,” he continued.
Mr. Wu stressed the link between the new development agenda and ICTs, emphasizing both opportunities and challenges to derive the full potential of benefits. He also underlined the importance of data security as access increases worldwide.
Ambassador Karklins concluded by highlighting the need for ICTs to be included in the sustainable development goals, also pointing to the importance of incorporating lessons learned from the WSIS outcomes in the post-2015 development agenda. He also emphasized the need to preserve the free and open nature of the Internet, as well as the importance of cybersecurity education and building citizen’s trust online.