ICTs, “Green” Human Development and Rio +20

I was asked to prepare on very short notice a few comments on the above, based on a draft (DGG-Green-HD-draft) that DGG had prepared a few days back. Here they are.

Background for Rio +20 (institutional memory)

1. UNDP was heavily involved in part of the follow-up of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. On the one hand, UNDP was takes with the implementation of core sections of Agenda 21 and launched in 1993 the Capacity 21 programme which run for almost 8 years. On the other hand, and related to the implementation of chapter 40 of Agenda 21, UNDP launched in late 1992 the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) which aimed at bringing the new ICTs (of the 90s) to developing countries to promote informed decision making process, global networking (think global, act local), access to information and access to the Internet

2. SDNP lasted for 10 years and assisted over 50 developing countries in connecting to the Internet for the first time, in developing national capacity to harness the new ICTs and new information resources, and in developing locally relevant content in local languages on sustainable development issues and topics.


3. This is itself is a primer example as to how the new technologies can play a role in promoting “green”. Nowadays, and taking into account the development of both social networks and particularly mobiles technologies more can be don by involving not only all countries but also many more people inside countries who today have access to an affordable communications device. This could be a 4th example in your reply to the opening question.

4. We can also link the idea of crowd-sourcing to inclusive participation which part of the response. Crowd-sourcing allows stakeholders and people in general to aggregate voice through networks and oversee/report specific incidents or facts to a large audience. And crowd-sourcing only requires a basic mobile phone (not a smart phone) with SMS (or texting). This of course is not limited to sustainable development. At any rate, this work for local areas and is probably more effective that social networks (and their hype!)

5. But ICTs can also play a role in helping governments and stakeholders in monitoring climate change and computing and producing statistics, experts systems, maps and mapping of critical SD issue which will otherwise not be possible.  The same go for disaster management tools which are so important for many countries.

6. Finally, there is the idea of SMART stuff such as cities, grids, power stations, etc using ICTs. In  this concept, the central idea is that smart use of ICTs can help on energy and power emissions, transportation networks, buildings and houses, etc.

7. I think the last section of the draft is quite weak as it is to general. Perhaps what is needed there is to be a bit more concrete to increase buy in from others..

Cheers, Raúl

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