Information and communications technologies for sustainable development

2008 – 2009

Focusing on the rising importance of technologies for communications, knowledge and capacity building in sustainable development

The opportunities for information and communication technologies (ICTs) to unlock the power of rural economies are beginning to be realised. ICTs, once beyond the reach of the majority of the rural poor, are now trickling through to rural economies and producing profound changes to the information vectors facing rural people. Access to affordable ICT services could affect the livelihoods of millions of people.

The idea of ICTs being ‘mainstreamed’ in sustainable development has been adopted by the UNDP. It has been incorporated into newer development indicators and is even enshrined in the MDGs.

ICTs acting as information conduits are important aspects of building knowledge strategies. They are useful for transfer of information, formation of new services, and for better communicating information to the end user. However, technology is not a panacea. It can reinforce divides, introduce ways of working that are not suited to the local context and culture, and can cause ‘information overload’.

Project objectives

Our project is focused around:

• Identifying the technologies that are being used for sustainable development and how these are being adapted for specific contexts and sectors

• Identifying the risks and opportunities of ICTs in facilitating “knowledge strategy” development

• Integrating these findings into approaches to harness the power ICTs for the benefit of sustainable development

• Disseminating knowledge and building capacity to actively use and “own” knowledge strategies by target groups