ICTD within the framework of the MDGs

Source: UNCTAD
According to the United Nations, there is still a lot to do in order to eliminate the digital gap. The conclusion of the Information Economy Report 2007-2008, presented by the UNCTAD, is that developing countries are very much behind developed countries regarding the adoption of the ICTs and how they are used by enterprises. April 2008. [see more]
At the present time, there is broad consensus on the impact Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have at different levels of society. ICTs come into being as new instruments for which a wide variety of uses is thus generated, being one of the main conditions that they should operate as efficient tools for development. This correlation between ICTs and development has been thoroughly studied and researched and, in general, it is believed that a positive association exists between both variables, so that investment in TICs is considered as an important dimension for the successful achievement of development projects. In spite of this, there is still a long road ahead before such technologies are included in the development agendas, given the fact that Southern countries do not usually give priority to investment in these areas.

The interaction ICTs-development takes a new approach as of the adoption by the UN of the so called "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) in the year 2000, within the framework of the Millennium Summit. Such goals set targets to be met by the year 2015 which concisely refer to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, strengthening of gender equity, improvement of sanitary conditions, promotion of environmental sustainability and, in general terms, the promotion of development in poorer countries. One of the issues included in the latter goal is precisely referred to ensuring that the benefits provided by new technologies, particularly ICTs, are made available to all people.

From the moment of their formulation, MDGs have been adopted as reference framework for the evaluation of progress and regressions in the quality of life of people in those regions facing a critical socio-economic situation. In this way, the virtuous interaction ICTs-development is currently conceptualised in terms of the categories included in such goals. Thus, for example, a large number of studies have been carried out with regards to the contribution of ICTs to the processes of local development through the consumption and production of ICTs (examples of these are the creation of jobs, improvement in the quality of public services, increase in private sector productivity, etc.).

The participation of civil society in the elaboration of programmes aimed at implementing this type of projects has been acknowledged as an essential factor for the successful fulfilment of MDGs. Likewise, among those studies carried out, emphasis is laid on the need to set a universal system of indicators that may allow to measure the impact of the above-mentioned technologies on the fulfilment of MDGs as well as to enable the comparability of such incidence in different regions. In effect, this will be one the essential issues to be dealt with at the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

However, one of the recurrent problems that reverberates on the possibilities of investing in ICTs as instruments for the fulfilment of MDGs is that which refers to the lack of financing mechanisms for such investments, either at private, public or private-public level; and also to the secondary role ICTs are allocated by governments within public programmes or services.

Finally, although the relationship ICTs-development is not generally placed in doubt, the existence of proposals that, from a critical point of view, suggest a revision with regards to the current relevance of MDGs and their idyllic relationship with ICTs, cannot be avoided. In these cases, it is mainly claimed that such goals arise from a hierarchical and paternalist vision of Northern countries towards the South, which lack the necessary flexibility to face the changes experienced by Southern societies and fail to adequately address their specific realities.
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ICT role in achieving the MDGs

Improving health, connecting people: the role of ICTs in the health sector of developing countries

Communication for sustainable development (FAO - Communication for Development)

Pursuing development goals through ICTs: Making ICTs work for the poor (WSIS Papers)

ICT and Millennium Development Goals: the business of hunger (ALAI)

Up-scaling pro-poor ICT policies & practices (MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) & Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC))

ICT applied to the MDG (Development Gateway)

Innovation and Investment: ICT and the MDG (UN ICT Task Force (UNICTF))

ICT & MDG: a multisectorial approach (UNDP)

ICT, Poverty Reduction Strategies Programmes (PRSPs) and the MDG (UNDP - Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (ADPIP))

A global overview of e-strategies - making the link with poverty and the Millennium Development Goals (UNICTTF (United Nations ICT Task Force))

Science and technology promotion - Advice and application for the achievement of the MDGs (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD))

A critical view of the linkage ICT-MDG (University of Manchester)

Networking development: ICT for MDG (InterAction)

Measuring the impact of ICT in meeting the MDGs

Science and technology for development: The new paradigm of ICT (UNCTAD)

Tools for development: Using ICT to achieve the MDG (UNICTTF (United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force))

Create ICT indicators as a tool for measuring the progress in the realization of the MDG (UNICTTF (United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force))

Measuring and enhancing the impact of ICTs on the MDGs (Development Gateway)

ICT Development Indices 2004 and ICT policies analysis (UNCTAD)

The impact of ICT in the MDG (ITU)

ICT-based development strategies

At the heart of change: the role of communication in sustainable development (Panos London)

The lost sheep of ICT4D research: Global academic consciousness (i4d)

Theorizing ICT4D Research (MIT Press Journals)

Is the Participatory Web really in parallel with participatory development? (Web2fordev)

Mobile phones and development: The future in new hands? (Id21)

Guide to managing ICT in the voluntary and community sector (ICT Hub)

ICT's at works in the hands of the poor (I4DOnline)

ICT based development projects- bridge the global digital divide (ITU)

Creating a development dynamic (Digital Opportunity Initiative)

ICT for development contributing to the MDG (Development Gateway)

ICT for development success stories (Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP))

ICT and MDG: a World Bank Group perspective (World Bank)


Information Society: Tunis and beyond (The New Nation)

ICT - MDG relation in the WSIS context (ITU)

GKP publication for Millennium+5 and WSIS processes (Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP))

Mainstreaming ICT in national development experiences

Mainstreaming ICT for the achievement of the MDG (UNICTTF (United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force))

Mainstreaming ICT (Oneworld SouthAsia)

Why national strategies are needed for ICT-enabled development (Development Gateway)

Science, technology and innovation: their significant role in development strategies (UN Millennium Project)

Donor ICT strategies matrix (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC)

New cooperation paradigms for ICTD

Multistakehoder partnerships as a new paradigm on ICT based development projects (GKP (Global Knowledge Partnership))

Global Alliance for ICTD: A multisectorial approach in ICT policy-making, in order to a meet the MDG (Digital Opportunity)

ICT - MDG linkage at regional and national level

ICTs and large-scale poverty reduction- Lessons from the developing world (Digital opportunity challenge)

ill meeting the Bangladesh MDG targets on ICTs really benefit the poor? (Development Research Network)

Targeting MDG 2: The ICT way (I4D online / SchoolNet Africa (SNA))

Empowering the rural poor: ICTs to enhance delivery of health services (I4D Online)

ICT initiatives: reinforcing or changing gender inequalities in South India? (University of Manchester)

Eastern Europe: Knowledge Building in ICTD (UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS (RBEC))

A Primer: Africa, ICT for development and the MDG (The Commonwealth Government & Business Guide to Information and Communication Technology (CTO-ICT))

Africa, ICT policy and the MDGs

Albania on the road to fulfilling MDG using ICTD (ICTD Project/UNDP Albania)

ICT and MDG in Bangladesh (MDG Portal in Bangladesh, Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP))

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