Enabling the Global Goals

Evidence of digital solutions‘ impact on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the most ambitious global agenda ever formalized for the social, economic and environmental improvement of the world. If the SDGs become reality, the world will be transformed for good by 2030: no poverty, no hunger, gender equality, economic growth decoupled from environmental resource degradation – while ensuring no one is left behind. 
Digital solutions, such as virtual learning and working, smart agriculture and e-health, are currently transforming the world and how people live. They can be a unique catalyst for the transformations needed to achieve the SDGs. The digital transformation is hap-pening at unprecedented speed, reaching people nearly everywhere and in every income bracket, providing people-centric solutions and new business models that enable wealth and prosperity. 

The Enabling the Global Goals Report builds on GeSI’s extensive work on quantifying the sustainability benefits of digitalization. GeSI’s “#SMARTer” Report series provided compelling data on digital solutions’ potential to substantially  reduce global CO₂ emissions. In 2016, GeSI made the SDGs its guiding framework for action, and  published the “#SystemTransformation” report, which demonstrated that digital solutions can drive  progress on achieving all 17 SDGs and deliver strong positive social, economic and environmental  impacts, including:

  • saving 720,000 lives and preventing 30 million injuries on the world’s roads (SDG 3)
  • protecting 12% of GDP in developing countries and USD 9 trillion in enabled revenues and cost savings (SDG 8)
  • reducing global CO₂ emissions by 20% and decoupling growth from oil consumption (SDG 13)

The purpose of the Enabling the Global Goals report is threefold:

  • Share fresh insights about how digital solutions are already impacting the SDGs
  • Inform steering of digital industry action on SDG achievement
  • Define an evidence-based and credible methodology for measuring the digital industry's impact on the SDGs

This report shares new, compelling evidence that the digital industry is positively linked to achieving most of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For 65% of SDGs, there is a clear positive correlation with digital access at every level of analysis, across the world. Only 1 negative link – between digital access and the environmental SDG 12 –is apparent.

GeSI is fully committed to steering the impact of digital solutions on SDG achievement. We will work with our members and partners to scale the positive impacts, flip the negative impacts and innovate for all SDGs.

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