Role of ICT in Enhancing Economic Development of Mongolia and Future Trends

Role of ICT in Enhancing Economic Development of Mongolia and Future Trends

Opening Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann

UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia

29 November 2017

Best Western Premier Tuushin, Soyombo Hall

Mr. Zandanshatar, Parliament Member/Chief of Cabinet Secretariat

Mr. Chinbat, Communication and Information Technology Authority

Members of Parliament, Representatives of Government, Private Sector, Distinguished Guests –

We live in “e”-era. The uptake of mobile phones, computers, the Internet, and social media, have been the fastest adoption of technology in human history. Mobile phones went from a few tens of thousands of subscribers in 1980, to around 7 billion in 2015. While Facebook, for example, went from zero in its founding year 2004 up to 1.5 billion users as of 2015.  

Mongolia is marching hand in hand with global trends. Almost all soums are connected to a mobile network. 2.6 million people in Mongolia have access to the Internet and 3.3 million people (in double counting) are registered as active mobile users. Even herders are on Facebook.

Technology helps us close the distances between us. It helps us tackle challenges at lower costs. And it brings access to information, which helps create more socially and economically inclusive societies.

The role of ICT in promoting, achieving, monitoring and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals – the 2030 agenda to end poverty, reduce inequality and protect our planet - is critical. The SDGs essentially call for changing how we live, behave, do business, produce and consume – and this can only be delivered with technology.

ICT can be an accelerator for the SDGs in various areas. E-learning, telemedicine and e-banking for example, can bring education, healthcare and financial services to people who would otherwise be cut off. And it can be used in reducing risks from disasters. There is no sector that ICT does not touch. In Mongolia, the UN is working to support the provision of telemedicine services. We are also working with mobile operators to help deliver early warnings to herders on hazardous weather. And we are working on the application of geospatial data to direct help in  emergency responses.

The SDGs require information on performance to come in faster to adjust policies and financing strategies as we go along. With current technology, it is possible generate data in real-time and make the necessary adjustments much faster.  This type of information should complement traditional data that is collected through censuses and surveys but only available with time lags.

 A key principle of the SDGs is leaving no-one behind. This calls for better dis-aggregation of data, since aggregates often mask disparities, potentially conveying a skewed picture of progress. ICT has the power to count the uncounted and give voice to those left behind. A core part of Mongolia’s ICT strategy should therefore be an upgraded information platform, to harness the flow of data generated through various data sources and technologies for policy decision making.

Another critical area for ICT in sustainable development is in tapping into “big data” for insights and information that traditional statistics does not provide.

I would invite you to visit the website of Global Pulse, a flagship innovation initiative of The United Nations Secretary-General on big data. There, you will find international practices and examples on how big data can be used for sustainable development and humanitarian action.

Technology is vital to the 2030 agenda. But to harness the potential,  we must to be ready to tackle a number of unsolved questions, including balancing access to data and related protocols with the protection of personal information and security, to name a few. Policy makers and companies must work together to create conducive environment and legislation allowing us to take full advantage of the opportunities of technology for development.

I am delighted to learn that you will be discussing how you – as leaders from the public and private sector – can together contribute to new developments in ICT that can enable inclusive and sustainable development, for all Mongolia’s people.

Thank you.