At the United Nations Private Sector Forum (20 September), the GSMA unveiled the `2016 Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals’, a ground-breaking study that provides a current assessment of the mobile industry’s impact in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and outlines future actions that will expand and strengthen that impact. The GSMA also announced several industry commitments, including actions to elevate the focus on humanitarian assistance, as well as a partnership with the UN to drive ongoing engagement around the SDGs across the mobile industry and adjacent sectors.
“This first-of-its-kind report offers critical insights into the transformative impact of the mobile industry on individuals, societies and economies around the world, in developed and developing markets,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “Importantly, it establishes a benchmark through which we will assess our industry’s progress in contributing to the SDGs by 2030 and serves as a blueprint for other industries as they commit to achieving the Goals.”
The report, which was developed by Deloitte for the GSMA, is designed to facilitate progress reporting by creating a common, measureable system that links the industry’s activities to their impact on the SDGs and will serve as an input into industry decisions on strategy, planning and investment. The report will enable the mobile industry to engage more effectively with partners based on impact on the SDGs, and it creates a framework that can be shared with others in the mobile communications ecosystem, as well as with other industries. TheMobile Industry Impact Report forms a baseline to measure the industry’s progress against the SDGs; updates will be published on a yearly basis.
Mobile Industry Impact on the SDGs
The report finds that the mobile industry impacts all 17 Goals to varying degrees, with the greatest effect being felt on SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). Collectively connecting nearly 4.8 billion people globally, mobile operators and players across the ecosystem are already delivering a vast range of programmes and initiatives that contribute to achieving the SDGs, such as:
- SDG 1 (No Poverty) -Today, more than 400 million people have access to financial services via their phone, with mobile money services available in over 90 countries. The mobile industry is committed to continue to develop new mobile money products, such as international remittances, for developing world consumers who need them most.
- SDG 5 (Gender Equality) – The mobile industry is focused on increasing women’s access to and use of mobile services in low- and middle-income countries around the world. Since its launch in February, 18 operators representing over 90 million customers have joined the Connected Women Commitment Initiative to close the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services.
- SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) – The mobile industry is a major contributor to the world’s economy. The mobile ecosystem added $3.1 trillion in economic value to the global economy in 2015, equivalent to 4.2 per cent of GDP, a figure predicted to rise to $3.7 trillion by 2020. The industry also directly and indirectly supported 32 million jobs in 2015 and contributed $430 billion to public funding in the form of various types of taxation.
- SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) – The mobile industry is committed to leveraging technology and expertise to ensure that communication is possible in disasters and humanitarian crises. Endorsed by the United Nations OCHA, the GSMA’s Humanitarian Connectivity Charter now has 103 mobile network operators across 76 countries, committed to ensuring network resilience and supporting subscribers during times of crisis.
Accelerating Progress to 2030
The study identified three primary ways that the mobile industry can accelerate progress against the SDGs: expand the global mobile network footprint and connect subscribers to voice and data services; enhance the quality of connectivity and ease of access and innovate mobile-enabled services to meet sustainable development needs; and contribute to sustainable development policy alongside governments and agencies.
Further, the GSMA today announced several commitments that will align the mobile industry even more closely with the United Nations, governments, development organisations and other industry sectors to address the ambitious agenda set out by the Sustainable Development Goals. These commitments include:
- Partnering with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser to create a road map for ongoing engagement in the SDGs, identifying the most critical areas for mobile industry action;
- Elevating the mobile industry’s focus on humanitarian assistance – an area requiring immediate intervention – with emphasis on expanding the adoption of the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter;
- Implementing a programme, in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, to advocate sustainability principles and support mobile operators in advancing sustainability reporting linked to the SDGs; and
- Utilising the mobile industry’s reach and convening power to encourage further commitment to the SDGs by mobile operators, other industry sectors, and individual citizens.
“As an industry, we are focused on connecting everyone and everything to a better future,” continued Granryd. “In February, the mobile industry was the first to unite in supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and this report reiterates our commitment to ensuring that connectivity plays a key role in helping achieve the 17 Goals by 2030.”
The ` 2016 Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals’ is available at http://www.gsma.com/2016SDGImpactReport.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.