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Digital technologies directly benefit 70 percent of SDG targets, say ITU, UNDP and partners

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More than two-thirds of the UN’s targets for sustainable development can benefit directly from digital technologies, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organizers of SDG Digital which opened today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

With digital technologies so closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the SDG Digital event highlights how safe, inclusive and scalable digital solutions can put the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development back on track amid concerns that the world may miss the vision for people, planet and prosperity that was set in 2015.

The SDG Digital Acceleration Agendaa global analysis of the connections between digital technologies and sustainable development, was released as part of SDG Digital to provide a roadmap to governments on their digital transformation journey and to promote action and financing.

“With only a fraction of the SDGs on track at the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda, it is urgent to ensure that everyone, everywhere can build their own digital futures,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner in the foreword of SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda.“The recent breakthroughs in digital technology have unleashed unprecedented opportunities, and with them new avenues for digital innovation in our race against time to fulfil the promise of the 2030 Agenda.”

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Uniting around digital to drive sustainable development

According to UN assessments, progress on half of the 169 SDG targets is either weak or insufficient at the 2030 Agenda’s halfway point. Thirty per cent of the SDG targets have either stalled or gone in reverse. 

With digital transformation demanding joint efforts between the private sector, financial institutions, civil society, the UN, governments and young people, SDG Digital brings together experts, policy-makers and business leaders to explore the achievements, gaps and solutions on how digital technologies can support the 2030 Agenda.

Scale and innovation accelerate transformation

The SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda, developed by ITU and UNDP together with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as knowledge partner, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as Agenda supporter, shows how digital technologies kickstart economic and societal transformation by creating scale and efficiencies.

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The Agenda features digital solutions that are already demonstrating how tech can directly benefit 119 of the 169 SDG targets, or about 70 per cent, including in areas such as climate action, education, hunger and poverty.

“When you look at these game-changing digital solutions, you can see the actual building blocks that can drive us toward universal and meaningful connectivity,” said Bogdan-Martin. “This is how we can – and will – work together to ensure our shared digital future is inclusive, sustainable, and safe and responsible – and to do it in this decade.”

Data in the SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda suggest that countries which improved their digital maturity—as measured by digital affordability and infrastructure indices—outpaced their peers in SDG progress for selected income levels.

The Agenda also profiles the opportunities for sustainable development offered by advancements such as generative AI, 5G networks, and blockchain. 

Financing and joint action bring scale and innovation

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Digital transformation requires considerable investment in connectivity infrastructure, building up digital skills, and creating the conditions for job retraining and new opportunities. 

SDG Digital highlights that the funding gap of over USD3.7 trillion for the SDGs should focus international efforts on enablers—such as infrastructure and connectivity—as well as the pooling of resources through collaboration including the private sector and the utilization of diverse financing methods.

Digital public infrastructure as a catalyst for the SDGs 

The formal opening of SDG Digital is part of the UN’s SDG Action Weekend, a series of High Impact Initiatives focused on mobilizing further leadership and investment to bring progress to scale between now and 2030. This includes the UN High Impact Initiative on Digital Public Infrastructure to scale inclusive and open digital ecosystems for the SDGs.

Today’s decisions by countries on how to build their digital public infrastructure (DPI) will have lasting consequences on their opportunity to grow and innovate, and to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 

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As highlighted in a recent G20 publication supported by UNDP, DPI – built on robust governance and strong local digital ecosystems – can deliver value and high impact across all of the 17 SDGs to leave no one behind.

“Digital public infrastructure represents the ‘roads and bridges’ of our new era on which countries can ‘transport’ a range of vital services to citizens, from e-health and e-government services to online education and social protection,” said Achim Steiner. “As our global community’s shared plan for a better future in the Sustainable Development Goals faces challenges, bold investments in DPI by governments are a tried-and-tested means to get them back on track — an ambition that the UN is matching by empowering 100 countries with a range of now-vital DPI solutions to ensure that everyone, everywhere can build their own digital futures.”

Making connections means progress

Earlier in the week, ITU announced a decline in the number of people worldwide without a connection to the Internet to 2.6 billion people in 2023 from 2.7 billion in 2022.

The statistic on the global offline population is important for tracking connectivity, a foundation of using technology for sustainable development. At the current trend, the global targets for universal and meaningful connectivity are unlikely to be met by 2030.

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The SDG Digital event and the SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda are the joint contributions of ITU and UNDP to the UN’s effort to bring stakeholders together at the SDG Action Weekend ahead of the SDG Summit and UN General Assembly High-Level Week.

SDG Digital on-site participants include over 300 hundred leaders from government, civil society, industry, academia, and the UN system.

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Banglalink’s Parent Company VEON Achieves ‘AA’ ESG Rating

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VEON, a leading global digital operator, and parent company of Banglalink, has been upgraded to an ‘AA’ Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) rating by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI).

MSCI provides critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community. 

Banglalink, alongside other VEON operators across the world, has positively contributed to the overall rating through its commitment to fostering a sustainable and digitally inclusive future.

In Bangladesh, the commitment to the “4G for all” initiative has been transformative, empowering communities with access to innovative digital services in line with the government’s Smart Bangladesh vision. 

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In alignment with its ESG agenda, Banglalink aims to increase its female customer base by three percent, reaching 29 percent by 2026. This goal was formally announced in collaboration with the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Additionally, Banglalink will continue to impact millions of lives through its awareness and educational activities via its unique digital platforms, such as the MyBL Super App and Toffee. Currently, the MyBL SuperApp, the country’s first telco super app, has over eight million monthly active users. 

Furthermore, Banglalink has recently upgraded its network with modern and sustainable technologies that not only emit fewer carbon emissions but also align with environmentally friendly practices.

This achievement underscores VEON’s commitment to fostering employee engagement and satisfaction. VEON Group CEO, Kaan Terzioglu, has expressed pride in the company’s employee management, which boasts an above-industry-average score. 

At the heart of VEON’s success across its six markets, serving 160 million customers, is its strategic focus on integrating and implementing practices that generate a positive societal impact, uphold ethical governance standards, and contribute to environmental stewardship.

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Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, remarked, Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, remarked, “The ‘AA’ rating of VEON has not only underscored Banglalink’s dedication to the ‘4G for all’ initiative but has also been a transformative force in enabling community access to innovative digital services. Our digital operator strategy and ESG agenda have had a positive impact on both social and environmental fronts, with a keen focus on fostering an inclusive workplace, driving initiatives for diversity and inclusion, and championing environmental sustainability.”

This achievement places VEON in the esteemed ‘Leaders’ category among 131 telecommunication services companies globally, underscoring its unwavering commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices.

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ITU’s AI for Good Global Summit 2024 puts tech to the test for people and planet

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​​​​​​​​Global leaders and innovators in artificial intelligence (AI) will join the humanitarian community at the AI for Good Global Summit 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland on 30-31 May to explore how new technology can drive sustainable development. 

This year’s edition of the AI for Good summit event will showcase innovations in generative AI, robotics,​ and brain-machine interfaces that can accelerate progress in areas such as climate action, accessibility, health, and disaster response. 

Summit speakers, including some of the world’s foremost AI luminaries, will explore the latest breakthroughs in AI and examine actions to ensure that AI works to humanity’s benefit. 

“ITU’s annual AI for Good Global Summit brings together a diverse set of voices to look at the latest AI developments and find ways to ensure this technology remains a force for good, driving inclusive growth and sustainable and equitable progress for all,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “This summit and our year-round AI for Good platform are powerful tools for accelerating progress in our race to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

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​On 29 May, discussions dedicated to AI governance will explore the surge in global efforts to craft AI policy, regulation, and governance frameworks. AI Governance Day – bringing together representatives of governments, companies, academia, civil society, and UN agencies – aims to forge pathways to transform dialogue around AI governance into impactful action.

​The UN platform for AI powered by ITU

AI for Good identifies practical applications of AI to accelerate progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals and connects AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers to help scale up AI solutions globally.

ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, organizes the yearly AI for Good Global Summit together with 40 partner UN agencies. The event is co-convened by the Government of Switzerland.  

AI for Good discussions foster international cooperation and innovation to create equitable access to new technologies. The discussions support ITU in spurring timely policy exchanges, developing best practices and technical standards, and catalysing partnerships for AI solutions to contribute to sustainable development. 

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Thought leaders and thought-controlled machines 

In addition to talks by AI thought leaders, this year’s summit will host machine learning masterclasses, curated by experts for experts, covering topics from deepfakes and climate change to brain-machine interfaces, AI for public services, explainable AI, and machine learning in communication networks.

Start-ups, young people and creatives will demonstrate their ideas at the AI for Good Innovation Factory Grand FinaleRobotics for Good Youth Challenge, and Canvas of the Future art contest

The summit’s exhibition space will feature an array of cutting-edge demos, including AI for accessibility, collective drone swarms, bio-inspired rescue robots, a RoboCup robot football tournament, performance-boosting exoskeletons, and AI-inspired art.

Exhibition highlights will include demos of brain-machine interfaces – an AI advancement that promises to open new frontiers for neurotechnology. A press conference on brain-machine interfaces will highlight new technologies enabling mind-controlled movement and communication for persons with disabilities, offering insights on how progress in the field could impact the future of human performance, mental health, and wellbeing. 

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The 2024 edition of the summit comes in conjunction with the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event. The World Summit on Information Society event brings together the world’s digital development community to discuss concrete actions to advance sustainable development. 

The AI for Good Global Summit will take place at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

Registration for media accreditation for reporters wishing to cover the AI for Good Global Summit is open. Registration for the public​ is also open and is free of charge. Registrants can attend either in person or online to connect with an expected 2,500 participants in Geneva and over 25,000 professionals worldwide who are part of the AI for Good Neural Network. Capacity is limited and early registration is encouraged.  Confirmed speakers include:   ​

  • Doreen Bogdan-Martin – ITU Secretary-General
  • Geoffrey Hinton – Advisor for the Learning in Machines & Brains, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (presenting remotely)
  • Sam Altman – CEO, OpenAI (presenting remotely)
  • HRH Princess Beatrice – United Kingdom
  • Abeba Birhane – Senior Fellow in Trustworthy AI, Mozilla Foundation, Time 100 AI 
  • Stuart Russell – Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley, and author of “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”
  • Daron Acemoglu – Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York Times bestselling author of “Why Nations Fail: Power, Prosperity, and Poverty”
  • Gary Marcus – Scientist, best-selling author, and serial entrepreneur, New York University
  • Nicholas Thompson – CEO, The Atlantic
  • Fatmah Baothman – CEO, Alothaim Investment AI and R&D Company
  • Vincent Vanhoucke – Senior Director of Robotics, Google DeepMind 
  • Mo Gawdat – Former Chief Business Officer at Google X, and best-selling author of “Scary Smart” and “Solve for Happy”

See all of the AI for Good Global Summit 2024 speakers here.  ​Demos of robots, drones, and brain-machine interfaces include: 

The AI for Good Global Summit 2024 is supported by Immersion4 (Diamond sponsor), DLA Piper (Diamond sponsor), AWS (Gold sponsor), Alibaba DAMO Academy (Gold sponsor), ZTE (Gold sponsor), and KUKA (Networking sponsor). 

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Future of COMPUTING is Coming – At CES 2024, GIGABYTE to Present Key Innovations and Accelerate AI-empowered and Sustainable Breakthroughs

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Taipei, December 13th, 2023 – GIGABYTE Technology, an IT pioneer whose focus is to advance global industries through cloud and AI computing systems, and elevate user experiences with hardware innovation, is coming to CES with the “Future of COMPUTING” theme which aims to highlight the product performance that enables successes in an AI-empowered and green-conscious era.

GIGABYTE will make its presence with product lineups that fast-track the transformation of the tech landscape. By delivering massive computing resources from the cloud and data centers to the edge and end users, GIGABYTE’s innovative products drive agile operations and faster time-to-insight for businesses and experts in diverse markets, also providing an enjoyable and immersive experience for consumers.

GIGABYTE showcases its all-around expertise with the most powerful AI/HPC servers, advanced cooling solutions, industrial PCs, autonomous vehicle technologies, gaming and creator products. The spectacular exhibits will be held from January 9th to 12th, at Booth #9637, North Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center.

Unlock Endless Possibilities in AI with GIGABYTE’s AI/HPC Servers 

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At CES 2024, GIGABYTE and its subsidiary, Giga Computing, will present the latest AI/HPC server lineup. Incorporating top-notch GPU and accelerators, GIGABYTE offers versatile solutions turbocharging the most demanding AI workloads, such as generative AI, large-scale language model training, metaverse, digital twins, rendering and 3D graphics, showcasing the essential data center solutions for tomorrow’s AI.

GIGABYTE’s server products address diverse IT deployment scenarios. GIGABYTE will exhibit a storage server tailored for large language models, an Arm server for cloud-native deployments, and an edge server optimized for 5G applications. These diverse servers will empower various industries to embrace future opportunities with flexible and pain-free IT upgrades.

The Advanced Cooling Solutions, AIoT, and Automotive Technology Exemplify GIGABYTE’s Well-rounded Expertise

As a leading expert and integrator for advanced cooling solutions, GIGABYTE will exhibit its portfolio of single-phase immersion cooling and direct liquid cooling systems at CES. These solutions exemplify GIGABYTE’s commitment to providing sustainable, energy-efficient data center solutions. GIGABYTE’s solutions are widely trusted by the world’s leading enterprises and institutes including global semiconductor giants, telecom companies, and research centers.

GIGABYTE’s advanced cooling solutions support the latest CPU/GPU technologies from AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA, providing a diverse range of server options suitable for various IT deployment strategies and unlocking the maximum potential of CPUs/GPUs. The optimized server performance is accompanied by reduced energy consumption, providing exceptional sustainability benefits and a favorable total cost of ownership. 

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GIGABYTE’s comprehensive technologies extend the reach of computing power from data centers to connected applications close to end users. Industrial PCs facilitate process automation in manufacturing plants and outdoor signages, delivering top-tier performance under harsh environments. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicle telematics facilitate a highly intelligent autonomous driving experience. These hardware innovations demonstrate GIGABYTE’s role in facilitating AI-driven digital transformation.

The Gaming and Creator Lineups Push the Frontier of Performance and AestheticsIn addition to enterprise products and solutions, GIGABYTE will showcase an exciting array of computer product lineups, encompassing AORUS, AERO, and GIGABYTE laptops, motherboards, graphics cards, and OLED gaming monitors. Notably, the new flagship AORUS gaming laptops will feature a sleek, revamped design, coupled with powerful performance, a captivating edge-to-edge display, and seamless integration of next-gen AI applications, promising an unparalleled gaming experience. Creators will find delight in the AERO 14 OLED laptop’s professional 2.8K OLED HDR display, featuring world-class color calibration and exclusive AI eyecare technology. Console players will be amazed by the world’s first 48-inch 4K/120Hz OLED monitor and how it delivers a lifelike audio-visual delight. For DIY computer enthusiasts, the motherboards and graphics cards will win their hearts with user-friendly designs and robust performance for resource-intensive features.

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