Goal 3 - Sustainability

Manage emerging risks, challenges and opportunities resulting from the rapid growth of telecommunications/ICT

To promote the beneficial use of telecommunications/ICTs, ITU recognizes the need to manage emerging risks, challenges and opportunities from the rapid growth of telecommunications/ICTs. The Union focuses on enhancing the quality, reliability, sustainability and resilience of networks and systems as well as building confidence and security in the use of telecommunications/ICTs. Accordingly, the Union will work to make it possible to seize of opportunities presented by telecommunications/ICTs while working towards minimizing the negative impact of undesired collaterals.

Target 3.1: By 2023, improve cybersecurity preparedness of countries, with key capabilities: presence of strategy, national computer incident/emergency response teams and legislation

As the Internet invades our lives and becomes a vital part of national infrastructure in today’s digital economy, the number and range of cyberattacks have increased hugely. Bold new attacks have been launched by new types of stakeholder, from attacks on critical national infrastructure (such as the WannaCry virus) to phishing, theft of digital identity and fraud on individuals. Even supposedly secure encrypted technologies such as blockchain have allegedly been attacked by perpetrators of cybercrime.

All countries should have a national cybersecurity preparedness action plan, legislation or policy statement in place, identifying and listing their national goals and objectives in relation to cybersecurity and cyberattacks, and how to go about protecting national infrastructure and systems in the event of cyber-attack. This target monitors the number of countries with a CERT/CIRT/CSIRT and/or national cybersecurity strategy (NCS).

Target 3.2: By 2023, increase the global e-waste recycling rate to 30%

The recent growth of the ICT industry is generating a growing amount of e-waste. Our devices contain many valuable materials, often extracted at considerable human and financial cost. The global e-waste recycling rate was estimated to stand at only 20% of e-waste in 2016, despite rich deposits of gold, silver, copper, platinum, palladium and other high value recoverable materials in many ICT devices and equipment. Consumers must become more aware of the carbon footprint and loss of valuable materials associated with the use of online apps and services.

Target 3.3: By 2023, raise the percentage of countries with an e-waste legislation to 50%

This target refers to the proportion of countries with some sort of e-waste legislation in place. In 2017, 67 countries had e-waste legislation in place. All countries should have national e-waste legislation and an action plan to deal with e-waste, listing their national goals and objectives in relation to e-waste and recycling, and how to go about protecting the environment and natural resources in the face of increasing scarcity of resources.

Target 3.4: By 2023, net telecommunication/ICT-enabled Greenhouse Gas abatement should have increased by 30% compared to the 2015 baseline

Firing off an email, replying to a text, liking an Instagram picture... these aren't actions we usually associate with environmental damage, but in fact, they each have a significant impact. When we think of helping the environment, we might think of turning off the light and unplugging our electrical devices long before the idea of logging out of digital services springs to mind — but our increased use of digital technologies may be contributing to global greenhouse emissions!

With its Sector Members and industry associations, ITU is developing a roadmap to address challenges arising from the increased use and new developments of technologies and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with them, including the energy efficiency of networks and devices and GHG abatement.

Target 3.5: By 2023, all countries should have a National Emergency Telecommunication Plan as part of their national and local disaster risk reduction strategies

In the wake of climate change, countries, communities and people are becoming more vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters. Science suggests that although climate change may not make storms and hurricanes more frequent, they may well become more intense, with far-reaching impact. ITU Member States have committed that all countries should have a national emergency telecommunication preparedness action plan, framework, legislation or policy statement identifying and listing their national goals and objectives in relation to natural disasters and emergencies, and how to go about protecting populations, national infrastructure and systems in the event of natural disaster.

This target monitors the number of countries with a national emergency telecommunication preparedness plan.