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e-Co Hub

The e-Collaborative Hub or E-Co Hub is a single-entry online gateway for policy makers, trainers and practitioners to easily access and search for relevant knowledge resources on different aspects of ICT for development (ICTD). There is also a collaborative workspace to discuss views, share ideas and collaborate on projects related to ICTD.

"Information and communications technologies (ICTs) are changing the world by transforming societies and economies. To take advantage of the advancements and applications of ICT, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on countries to deploy ICT to realize its transformational economic, social and environmental ambitions. ICT is an enabler for enhancing productivity, raising resilience and fostering greater civic engagement, while offering options for effective delivery of public services"

- Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP

 

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Implementing SDG 11 by connecting sustainability policies and urban planning practices through ICT's

Implementing SDG 11 by connecting sustainability policies and urban planning practices through ICT's

This publication on "Implementing SDG11 by connecting sustainability policies and urban planning practices through ICTs" has been developed within the framework of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative. This publication provides a study of the advantages of using ICTs to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 11, by facilitating the missing linkages that exist between sustainability policies and urban-planning practices through digitally-enabled urban actions.

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Internet of Things

Internet of Things

A collaborative report from the Academy and PETRAS research group presenting the opportunities across consumer, public space and industrial applications of IoT, and outlining the challenges around policy, governance, security, privacy, ethics and skills.

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Statement on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Statement on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Autonomous Systems

The EGE calls for a wide-ranging process of public deliberation and lays out a set of fundamental ethical principles to pave the way. The EGE Statement also forms the cornerstone of the guidelines on AI ethics to be developed in collaboration with the future AI Alliance. This statement calls for the launch of a process that would pave the way towards a common, internationally recognised ethical and legal framework for the design, production, use and governance of artificial intelligence, robotics, and ‘autonomous’ systems. The statement also proposes a set of fundamental ethical principles, based on the values laid down in the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, that can guide its development.

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Development and Access to Information 2017

Development and Access to Information 2017

DA2I will be launched at the time of the United Nations High Level Political Forums (UN HLPF) and it is designed for UN member states, intergovernmental organizations, funders, civil society, other stakeholders working in development, and the library community itself. It underlines the invaluable contribution that information access, particularly through libraries, makes to promoting more socially and economically inclusive societies. As well as updating on progress on a range of indicators of access to information, each DA2I report will have a focus on the SDGs selected for review at the HLPF in the year of publication. This includes thematic chapters on how access to information promotes the achievement of each of the selected SDGs. The DA2I 2017 thematic chapters focus on the following goals: Zero Hunger (SDG2), Good Health and Well-being (SDG3), Gender Equality (SDG5), and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG9)

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Agriculture

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Agriculture

This report responds to the request by the G20 Agricultural Ministers to FAO, IFPRI and OECD in June 2016 to build on their preliminary assessment of existing ICT applications and platforms and make specific proposals for consideration and action by G20 Agriculture Deputies ahead of the next G20 Agricultural Ministers meeting on the best possible mechanism to improve agricultural ICT exchange and cooperation

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Artificial Intelligence and Broadband Divide: State of ICT Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific 2017

Artificial Intelligence and Broadband Divide: State of ICT Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific 2017

AI-led transformations constrained by the digital divide in Asia and the Pacific Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not only a force behind the fourth Industrial Revolution but also a potential enabler of sustainable development in a wide variety of socioeconomic sectors. There has been explosive growth in research and applications in AI, particularly in the fields of machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and cognitive computing which are increasingly transforming the way we live and work in the region and beyond. Faster and versatile connectivity, together with exponential increase in the availability and type of data collected and analyzed in real time, provide us with unprecedented opportunities—and challenges—to social, economic and environmental development in Asia and the Pacific. These new technologies have been applied for accurate diagnosis in the medical filed, unparalleled data analytics in agriculture and insightful predictive capabilities on business and consumer preferences and trends, just to name a few. The emergence of robots, virtual assistants, automated factories and driverless cars has fast become a reality among the developed countries. In contrast, AI-enabled cyberattacks pose risks in undermining the integrity of electronic transactions in business and government functions which could causes significant losses and reputational damage. What do these technologies mean for Asia and the Pacific? Are we the leaders in Artificial Intelligence, as we are in some aspects of information and communications technology? Where and how would our member countries be affected by the emergence and expansion of this new force? How can we harness the powers but mitigate the negative consequences of AI? The report entitled “Artificial Intelligence and Broadband Divide: the State of ICT Connectivity in Asia and the Pacific 2017” by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) aims to provide some pointers and kick start the regional discourse. This report analyses some of the conditions, prerequisites and drivers of AI development and uptake. The size of economy, technological absorption capacity and investment in ICT services have shown correlations with the quantity and quality of AI research, while the size of the telecommunications sector is found to be strongly associated with AI research development than other sectors. With the exceptions of US island territories, the most economically-advanced economies of the region such as Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea unsurprisingly produced large numbers of AI-related patents, as well as a high number of patents relative to their population size. However, a disturbing but unsurprising fact is that broadband connectivity has a positive linear correlation with the quality of AI research, which demonstrates the importance of the underlying ICT infrastructure for the development and uptake of AI. At the heart of this emerging ICT landscape is the expectation that affordable and resilient broadband connectivity would provide ubiquitous access to connect people and devices. While least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island development states in Asia and the Pacific stand to benefit from these emerging technologies, the digital divide among countries continues to widen. The fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the Asia-Pacific region is still far lower than Europe and North America, and remains below the world’s average of 12.4 in 2016. Advanced economies in the region have increased their subscriptions and the quality of their broadband networks, with the Republic of Korea having more than 40 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. However, 18 ESCAP member countries continue to have less than 2 broadband subscriptions for the same indicator. Notwithstanding the dynamic development in mobile broadband, the Asia-Pacific region remains behind Latin America, Europe and North America, with respect to the subscription per 100 inhabitants. The widening gap among sub-regions in Asia and the Pacific is an alarming trend, considering that the widespread introduction of AI and related digital technologies is only possible with broadband infrastructure already in place. While developed countries, with the most expansive and high-speed broadband networks, are embracing and investing in AI at astonishing rates, developing countries are getting left behind. The development of seamless broadband connectivity has been a development priority in the region, but AI added urgency to it. Unless governments, academia, private sector and civil society make concerted efforts to address the aforementioned digital divide and bottlenecks in AI uptake this widening gap between countries would become unbridgeable. In order to address the challenge ESCAP member states in Asia and the Pacific initiated the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) to promote the availability, affordability, resilience and reliability of broadband networks from Turkey to Kiribati. The first session of the AP-IS Steering Committee is taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 1-2 November 2017, co-hosted by the government of Bangladesh. To be attended by member countries, leading experts, partners and financial institutions, the meeting will pave the way for the region’s digital transformation, for faster and inclusive Information Superhighway which will enable countries to harness the power of AI for sustainable development.

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Academy Module on "An Overview of ICTs and Sustainable Development"

Academy Module on "An Overview of ICTs and Sustainable Development"

Today, few will question the capacity of ICTs to serve as enablers of sustainable development that the world community has agreed to work towards by the target year 2030. However, although this capacity of ICTs as enablers has been recognized, there remains fuzziness about the linkage between ICTs and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This module addresses the SDGs through the prism of ICTs. It provides an overview of the intersections between ICTs and the SDGs, drawing attention to the various dimensions and sectors in which ICTs can provide valuable support through national governments’ plans and projects.

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The Global Information Technology Report 2016

The Global Information Technology Report 2016

The Global Information Technology Report 2016 features the latest iteration of the Networked Readiness Index, which assesses the factors, policies and institutions that enable a country to fully leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) for increased competitiveness and well-being. Under the theme Innovating in the Digital Economy, the Report also examines the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in driving innovation.

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Global diffusion of eHealth: Making universal health coverage achievable Report of the third global survey on eHealth

Global diffusion of eHealth: Making universal health coverage achievable Report of the third global survey on eHealth

This third global survey of the WHO Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe) investigated how eHealth can support universal health coverage(UHC) in Member States. A total of 125 countries participated in the survey – a clear reflection of the growing interest in this area. The report considers eHealth foundations built through policy development, funding approaches and capacity building in eHealth through the training of students and professionals. It then observes specific eHealth applications such as mHealth, telehealth, electronic health records systems and eLearning and how these contribute to the goals of UHC. Of interest is the extent to which legal frameworks protect patient privacy in EHRs as health care systems move towards to delivering safer, more efficient, and more accessible health care. Finally the rapidly emerging areas of social media for health care as well as big data for research and planning are reported.

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MAKING INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY WORK FOR WOMEN UN WOMEN’S WORK IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY

MAKING INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY WORK FOR WOMEN UN WOMEN’S WORK IN INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY

This background paper highlights the key barriers that contribute towards creating and sustaining the gender gap in innovation and technology, including the limited market awarenss and investment in innovations that meet the needs of women; the gender-blind approach to innovation; the under-representation of women as innovators and entrepreneurs; and the perceived high risk, low reward profile of investing in innovations for women and girls. The paper also outlines the concrete action that UN Women and its partners are taking to address them.

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