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UN-Backed Report Highlights Role of Broadband in Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

2 April 2012: According to a new UN-backed report, the use of broadband in information and communication technology (ICT) can support a global transition to a low carbon-economy by mitigating, and adapting to, the effects of climate change.

The report, titled “The Broadband Bridge: Linking ICT with Climate Action for a Low-Carbon Economy,” was published by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which was set up by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010. The report identifies three areas in which broadband can address the challenge of climate change: transformation, namely helping other sectors to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by, among other actions, promoting energy efficiency; mitigation, namely reducing the ICT sector's own emissions; and adaptation, such as by providing real-time monitoring and emergency response. It also showcases government best practices in using ICT to reduce GHGs and promote resource efficiency, while building inclusive societies.

Commenting on the report, Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General and Vice Co-Chair of the Broadband Commission, underlined that a complete transformation of how people live, work and travel is necessary to address climate change, in order to change “our model of development to a fairer, more sustainable model to ensure our survival.” As a contribution to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the report contains ten recommendations for policy makers and global leaders that can enhance the ability of ICT and broadband to accelerate global progress towards the low-carbon economy, as follows: lead with vision; bring convergence; ensure regulatory certainty; be an example; foster flexibility; provide incentives; build the market; form partnerships; measure and standardize; and share knowledge and raise awareness. [Publication: The Broadband Bridge: Linking ICT with Climate Action for a Low-Carbon Economy] [ITU Press Release] [UN Press Release]