Digital with a purpose - Delivering a Smarter2030

More informed and purposeful development and deployment of digital technologies will catalyse progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Digital technologies could have a transformational impact on our ability to meet the 2030 Agenda. This, however, requires both the ICT sector and the key sectors (or ‘partner sectors’) who deploy these technologies to put this Agenda more intentionally at the centre of who they are and what they do. It also requires a substantially enhanced understanding of how actions lead to impact on the achievement of the SDGs, be they the actions of government, businesses, NGOs or citizens.

GeSI exists to bring the ICT sector together to deliver against a vision of a sustainable world through responsible, ICT-enabled transformation. This means working across the industry and with key stakeholder groups to make Digital with Purpose a reality.

Digital with Purpose-Delivering a Smarter2030 comes at a time when the world is waking up, albeit slowly, to the existential challenge it faces from climate change and to the slow progress against the broader 2030 Agenda, which has such profound implications for everyone. This awakening is resulting in pressure on all organisations from their many stakeholders, not least investors, customers, employees and regulators, to articulate and demonstrate how societal impact is a core to what they do. The result is that a greater commitment to societal impact is not just about securing a license to operate, but a critical element of building long-term success, with application to all organisations including business. 

It also comes at a time when the ICT sector is viewed by many with distrust, often seen as the source of products and services that harm rather than heal our society and environment. Digital technologies can be leading contributors to positive societal value, but this will only become a reality if the focus of technological development and deployment is framed by a clear commitment to the SDGs. If the ICT sector can demonstrate to the world that it is moving the dial on progress towards the 2030 Agenda, and assumes responsibility to address and prevent negative outcomes that result, the world will substantially benefit and the sector will be assured of long term success.

To that end, there are a series of next steps that GeSI hopes to progress, with the support of its members on the back of this report.

  • Make the case for the 2030 Agenda: GeSI will continue to call upon its members and all businesses to commit to the common purpose of the SDGs and recognise the interdependence of a commitment to sustainable development and long term success.
  • Enable inclusive digital transformation: GeSIwill continue to work with its members and wider stakeholders to identify and plug gaps in the development and deployment of digital infrastructure to enable sustainable development for all and leave no one behind.
  • Understand and address negative externalities: GeSI will continue to work with its members to understand, in depth, the potential negative impacts of the increased adoption of digital technology and the necessary mitigating actions that will enable the sector to realise a radical ambition to drive the transformation needed to realise the SDGs.
  • Digital with Purpose - Delivering the SMARTer2030 Agenda: GeSI will continue to work with its members and broader civil society, to address the critical externalities and take forward the opportunities and address the challenges laid out in this report.

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