The Broadband and ICTs for smart, inclusive and sustainable societies event, organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Ministry of Communication of Brazil, outlined the critical role of broadband-enabled services and applications as facilitators for long-term sustainable economic development. Discussions centred on two key areas: Broadband and ICTs for ‘Smart’ Development; and Incentives for broadband deployment and coordination of public and private sectors to promote sustainable development.

At the event, which took place on the eve of Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, speakers presented their perspectives and experiences on the application of broadband-enabled innovation as drivers of ‘smart’ energy-efficient economic growth, social development and environmental protection – the three pillars of sustainable development. They also examined the challenges confronting the roll out of broadband as well as the solutions that need to be put in place to harness the catalytic potential of ICTs to achieve sustainable development.

In a message to participants ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré noted the critical importance of ICTs and broadband connectivity in meeting future sustainable development goals. “ICTs and broadband are the key drivers of the global economy,” Dr Touré said. “It is imperative that we recognize that these technologies are the enablers of sustainable development that will help us achieve our common goals – the future we want.”