Digital technologies are transforming governments, economies, and societies. They have the potential to play a catalytic role in supporting the global community to achieve the 2030 Agenda – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all Member States of the United Nations in 2015. This SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda shaped by ITU and UNDP, in collaboration with IDB and BCG, highlights the wide-ranging importance of digital technologies and data. From digital skills to governance and regulations, financing, infrastructure, safety and security, content, applications and services. With a range of real-world examples, it shows how game-changing digital solutions can accelerate progress in climate action, education, hunger, poverty and the role of data and digital technologies in achieving at least 70% of the 169 SDG targets.
There are only seven years left to achieve the 2030 Agenda, and currently none of the 17 SDGs have been fully met. In other words:
“Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been.”
Digital technologies, such as mobile devices, digital public services, and emerging innovations including Artificial Intelligence are reshaping the global landscape. Digital technologies can be employed to increase financial inclusion, enhance government efficiency, and tackle poverty. They can play a pivotal role in achieving the SDGs. In fact, digital technologies can play a role in achieving 70% of all SDG targets.
The SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda highlights 34 digital solutions which are helping to advance the SDGs. They emphasize people-centred, collaborative and scalable approaches. Recognizing the need for holistic digital transformation, the Agenda introduces ‘Digital Transformation Enablers’, which are intended to inform national governments (and others working in digital ecosystems) about the power and potential of digital technologies and data.
Bringing proven digital solutions to scale requires building and expanding strong enablers, moving beyond pilots to implement what works and fostering interoperability among various SDG solutions.
Digital transformation relies on joint efforts between the private sector, financial institutions, civil society, the UN, governments, and young people around the world.
Addressing the $3.7+ trillion SDG funding gap requires shifting focus to foundational enablers, pooling resources through collaboration, and utilizing diverse financing methods for effective progress.
The private sector's pivotal SDG role demands renewed commitments to environmental and social governance (ESG), open innovation, and global collaboration with governments to create ecosystems that serve markets and drive progress.
This section presents 34 digital solutions, two for each SDG, showcasing how digital technologies can further advance the SDGs. These solutions encompass diverse products and stakeholders, from open-source projects to proprietary solutions. They were selected based on criteria including SDG target potential, collaboration, scalability and replicability.
Four key attributes underpin their success: their ability to address key problems, customization for specific contexts, collaboration across sectors, and prudent use of digital components - meaning avoiding using technology just for its own sake.
Click on each SDG to learn more.