Leveraging the Digital Principles for the Sustainable Development Goals
By: Sabrina Kang
On United Nations (UN) Day, October 24th, the UN celebrated its 74th anniversary. For 74 years, the UN has been dedicated to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international cooperation, and being a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.
In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals that recognize the cross-cutting nature of factors such as poverty, health, education, and climate change, requires multifaceted solutions.
Our organization – The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) – aims to advance digital inclusion to achieve the SDGs. We believe that we can connect communities and reach underserved populations around the world, allowing everyone to benefit from life-enhancing, digital services. In particular, DIAL commits to SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals) by acting as a convener in the digital ecosystem and as the steward of the Principles for Digital Development.
The Principles for Digital Development (Digital Principles) are a set of nine living guidelines designed to help digital development practitioners across numerous sectors integrate established best practices into technology-enabled programs. By using the Digital Principles, organizations can develop more effective and sustainable solutions and move one step closer to achieving the SDGs.
In celebration of UN Day, the Digital Principles team participated in UNA-USA Chapter events in Charlottesville, VA and Philadelphia, PA. By serving as volunteer speakers for the celebratory events, the Digital Principles team sought to promote UNA-USA, the mission of the United Nations, and discuss global issues, climate action, the SDGs, and how to support a more sustainable future. You can read more about these events and UN Day here.
However, advocating for the SDGs is not just for October! Every day, we collaborate with stakeholders in digital development who work on a range of projects, from increasing access to services such as market price information for farmers to health messaging for mothers, and more! While the potential of digital services in progressing the SDGs is clear, the path to success is not always so.
We need to strengthen capacity among those in the digital sphere to implement this new vision. We believe that we must and can do better to deliver scalable and sustainable solutions to underserved populations. The Principles for Digital Development can help inform and improve the design, procurement, and policy practices of digital solutions.
To help practitioners understand how the Digital Principles can help achieve the SDGs, various resources are available in our Advocacy Toolkit. Our Digital Principles 101 Training introduces development practitioners to what the Digital Principles are, how they can be applied practically, and shares examples of good technology use in development programs. Our Sustainable Development Goals and Digital Principles Card Game Activity goes one step further and encourages participants to draw connections between the two frameworks.
Additionally, we have new Digital Principles resources rolling out soon, including what we are calling the ‘Digital PrinciplesxSDG Framework’. Leveraging technology is a powerful method to catalyze development outcomes. This upcoming tool will serve as a guide to show practitioners how their projects and programs centered on the SDGs can continually improve by using the Digital Principles.
All our products are registered under Creative Commons. We hope the community will use and adapt these resources for their programmatic needs! For more information on our resources or how to use them, please contact PrinciplesAdmin@digitalimpactalliance.org.