The United Nations Assembly recently announced a sweeping set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals in a bid to advance equality, improve access to health and education services as well as addressing the rise of climate change.
The 193-member assembly gathered on Friday to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
But while the universal agenda signals an ambitious effort by the intergovernmental organisation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Irish singer Bono have singled out the “commitment to provide Internet connectivity for all by 2020” as “crucial to accelerate realization of all the others” in a joint op-ed on The New York Times.
In this century, global development and global connectivity are closely linked. If you want to help people feed, heal, educate and employ themselves around the world, we need to connect the world as well. The Internet should not belong to only three billion people, as it does today. It should be seen as a necessity for development, and a tool that makes larger things possible.
According to Bono and Zuckerberg, the answer to addressing the development goals is connectivity.
Currently, less than half the world have access to Internet. While “there’s no simple solution or silicon bullet” to how the world should be successfully connected, both say that a starting point will be “extending access to energy”.
Global companies such as Intel have been leading the way with STEM education with Google’s Project Loon already starting to deliver Internet to remote and rural areas through high-altitude balloons.
Nonetheless, Bono and Zuckerberg have called for more responsibility by tech companies and entrepreneurs to “look beyond itself and act more on issues like education, health care and the refugee crisis”.
“All the global goals must be scored — but the goal of connectivity for everyone everywhere will surely hurry this game-that’s-not-a-game to its successful conclusion.”
You can read the full op-ed here.
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