The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has released some interesting announcements and publications this year. The Commission was set up in May 2010 (see this previous post) and I've written about it a couple of times since (see here and more recently here).
At the beginning of April 2012, the Commission published The Broadband Bridge: Linking ICT with Climate Action. From the related press release:
"The report aims to raise awareness of the pivotal role information and communication technology (ICT), and particularly broadband networks, can play in helping creating a low carbon economy of the future, and highlights the importance of public private partnerships in accelerating change. It is based on interviews, case studies and supporting material from more than 20 leaders and experts in the field."The report claims broadband has a vital role to play in three key areas related to climate change:
- Transformation: helping other sectors of society to reduce GHGs (greenhouse gases) through dematerialization of physical products and systems, for example, substituting travel with collaborative tools or substituting need to produce physical products by delivering e-products and services
- Climate mitigation: reducing the sector’s own emissions, often referred to as Greening ICT, for example, specific efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases within the ICT industry itself, such as developing energy lean products and solutions, setting and delivering on tough reduction targets
- Climate adaptation: changes in processes, practices and structures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change effects. Broadband can provide viable solutions, for example, weather information and disaster alerts.
"The call to include ICT networks, services and applications as enablers of sustainable development was issued at the start of the all-important second round of negotiations on the proposed outcomes for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). In a world where more people now have access to a mobile phone than to clean drinking water or a bank account, information and communication technologies, in particular broadband connectivity, offer an unparalleled platform to host an array of development services, such as mobile payment systems, e-Health applications, earth observation services and, increasingly, e-Government. Inclusion of a strong reference to the catalytic role of ICTs and broadband in the Rio+20 roadmap will help ensure solutions are found to meet the challenges of sustainable development in a rapidly evolving world where technology is increasingly central to all aspects of society."From the call to action document:
"We believe that networked information and communication technologies (ICT) can help to achieve a sustainable development model, as broadband-enabled innovation in applications and services promote the integration of ‘smarter’ and more energy-efficient economic growth, social development and environmental protection - the three pillars of sustainable development. For this reason, we believe that the potential to leverage broadband infrastructure and broadband-enabled applications and services should be considered in the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference."In May 2012 the Commission released its first country case studies, providing snapshots of the state of broadband in four emerging economies spanning the Americas, Asia and Europe. The case studies are being conducted to underline the importance of broadband and ICTs in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and to assist countries in meeting the Broadband Challenge and targets adopted by the Broadband Commission in October 2011. From the related press release:
"The case studies, which cover the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Panama, the Philippines, and Romania, look at the effect of broadband connectivity on economic growth and access to basic services like education and health. They offer regulatory guidance and best practices, showcasing success stories and lessons learned."Then in June 2012 the Commission issued an open letter to G20 leaders urging them to do all they can to promote the development of the broadband networks, applications and services that will serve as the catalyst for future socio-economic growth. From the related press release:
"Equating the importance of broadband to essential utilities like water, roads, rail and electricity, the Letter states that governments have a key role to play in stimulating broadband deployment by putting in place pro-competitive and pro-investment policies, lowering barriers to entry and making direct investment, where appropriate. It also stresses the fundamental role of the private sector in driving the roll-out of networks and services, and fuelling ongoing innovation."Commentary from ISP Review here.