On 21 September, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development met in New York. At the meeting, which was co-chaired by H.E. President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Carlos slim, president if Carlos slim foundation, and with Irina Bokova, Secretary-General of UNESCO, and Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, Secretary-General of ITU, as vice co-chairs, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi addressed the high-level participants on the need for more investment in broadband and ICTs for youth.

Today, three quarters of the world’s youth lack access to broadband and basic ICT services. Health, civic engagement, online protection, environmental protection and economic success all depend on having unfettered access to knowledge which ICTs can extend to everyone.

“If we don’t fix this, we are wasting innovative potential on a massive scale,” said Mr. Alhendawi.

The Envoy on Youth also conveyed a message from the 700 youth gathered at the BYND2015 summit in Costa Rica earlier this month: “Old methods and systems are poorly suited to the transformed and interconnected communities we live in today.” A key barrier is a lack of universal, global access to ICT technologies, platforms and devices and the underlying infrastructure to support them.

With the necessary investments, however, broadband access and modern ICTs can give young people who otherwise would be voiceless a chance to make their voices heard. “Let us not fail them in this endeavour,” concluded Mr. Alhendawi.