Capacity building and light touch policy approaches critical to leverage emerging tech for SDGs

  • 16 December 2016

At the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which took place last week in Guadalajara, Mexico, business, civil society, technical community and government scoped out the frameworks needed to leverage new ‘Internet of things’ technology in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ICC BASIS workshop at IGF 2016
ICC BASIS workshop at IGF 2016

Since the 17 development targets were adopted in 2015, stakeholders have been exploring the best ways to leverage new technology to support development activities around the world. Sustainable development was a key theme of this year’s IGF, an annual conference bringing together all stakeholder communities to consider how to develop the Internet and use it for social and economic prosperity.

Co-organised by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS), Government of Colombia, Colnodo, and DotAsia, the IGF workshop on “Harnessing ICT to realise the SDGs: What’s required?”, offered concrete policy options relating to how the Internet of things can be leveraged to contribute to the attainment of each of the global goals.

The Internet of things refers to a variety of sensors that can collect all sorts of data – from movement, speed and direction to air and water quality. These sensors can have applications across all sectors including health, agriculture, manufacturing, education, sustainable consumption, logistics and urban planning.

We don’t need a heavy regulatory hand. If we have the right tools already in place there is tremendous potential ahead.

On the necessary elements to make Internet of things succeed, discussion flagged expansive and reliable infrastructure and multistakeholder input on policy development as crucial. Jacquelynn Ruff, Vice-President of International Public Policy, Verizon, said: “We don’t need a heavy regulatory hand. If we have the right tools already in place there is tremendous potential ahead.”

To learn more about emerging technologies such as the Internet of things please see ICC Policy Primer on the Internet of Everything which sets out global business views on the policy approaches and industry efforts needed to leverage new technology for societal benefit.

A recording of the full IGF workshop can be found here