How digitalisation contributes to the achievement of the SDGs?

The urgency of the situation is underlined by the UN's publication of Europe's Sustainable Development Report 2023/24, which reveals that none of the 17 SDGs are on track to be achieved by 2030. In response, the EU needs to prioritise digital technologies and connectivity to drive progress towards these goals.

How digitalization contributes to the achievement of the SDGs

Carolina Pérez Diago

Reading time: 6 min

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals proposed by the United Nations which are included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These goals call for integrated action to promote social welfare, economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and global cooperation. Nonetheless, we are closer and closer to 2030 and the progress is not evolving as expected.

In response to these challenges, the UN released “Europe’s Sustainable Development Report 2023/24”, which focuses on Europe’s path to achieving the goals. The report highlights that none of the 17 SDGs are in track to be achieved by 2030, emphasizing the need for decisive action.

According to International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the UN development program (UNDP), digitalization directly benefits 70 percent of SDG targets. Therefore, to achieve these goals, the EU further promote the role of digital technologies and connectivity in the green transition.

10 Key priorities to achieve sustainable goals

Multiple UN studies state that even though progress has slowed down, the goals are still attainable. In order to achieve them, the UN has stablished 10 key priorities in which the EU has to focus and digitization has the potential to help achieve them.

  • Significantly reduce the risk of poverty and social exclusion of European citizens.
  • Double down efforts to achieve net-zero emission in the EU by 2050, with major breakthroughs by 2030.
  • Strengthen regional and local authorities in achieving the SDGs- Regularly monitor and report SDG progress at all levels.
  • Curb negative international spillovers and support the transformation towards a sustainable trade system.
  • Leverage team Europe for global SDG diplomacy.
  • Step up Europe´s multilateral role- Lead global efforts to reform the global financial architecture.
  • Re-focus the EU´s international Partnerships on the SDGs.
  • Mobilize the financial means for transformations towards a sustainable future.
  • Institutionalize the Integration of the SDGs into Strategic Planning, Macroeconomic Coordination, budget processes, research and innovation missions, and other policy instruments.
  • Set up new permanent mechanisms for structured and meaningful engagement with civil society, including youth.

The year 2024 will be full of political changes. In June will take place the European Parliament election and the establishment of a new European Commission. When deciding the new priorities for the 2024-2029 period, the new political powers need to assess and incentivize new solutions to ensure that the EU is on track to achieve the SDGs before 2030.

Digitalization for society

Digital solutions improve people´s quality of life, facilitate equitable growth and protect the environment. According to the UNDP SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda, digital solutions can help in the consecution of most of the SDG´s.

Digitalization for sustainability

Digitalization is an enabler for other industries to become more sustainable. It can help towards reducing CO2 emissions, a better management of water and a more sustainable production and consumption of products.

On the midst towards the 2030 agenda, the progress towards achieving the 17SDGs is not going as expected. If we want to achieve these goals, the new Commission will have to incentivize new solutions, digital technologies have the possibility to ease the way towards the consecution of the objectives as it is beneficial for the economy, the society and the environment. Differences in regulatory requirements slow down the deployment of smart technologies, as they increase the complexity associated with their development and utilization, and the cost.


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