Financing for ICT for Development (ICT4D) in Light of Delivering on the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: A Force to Fund or a Fight to Find?

Elnaz Barjandi

Student thesis: Master thesis


There is little doubt that globalisation has had notable impacts on the global arena and spurred defining changes in economic, social and environmental domains, affecting international development. Notably, with increased global challenges and much needed efforts to address issues, the United Nations and Member states adopted in 2015 the Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as a global call to all to implement sustainable development efforts by 2030. In light of this, while there is undoubtedly a crucial need to address the economic, social and environmental issues faced worldwide, the ugly truth is that there has been noted to be a great financial gap in relation to the needed resources to address and deliver on the SDGs and what is currently available for this effort. With this in mind, the financing issue may be interpreted as one where the finances exist, however efforts need to be made to direct the resources toward implementing the 2030 Agenda. To address the concerns, key efforts are placed by IOs for the Financing for Development (FfD) process for aligning new innovative solutions for multi-stakeholder financial flows towards sustainable development implementation. In addition, technological advances seen as a result of globalisation, are noted to have transformed the global economic structure and operations, by introducing efficient and cost saving solutions. Arguably, Information Communication Technologies (ICT) have a critical role in advancing development in number of SDGs and thus may attract investments to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, by addressing issues with ICT for development (ICT4D) solutions. The aim of the thesis is to understand the drivers and challenges of the Financing for Development process in the delivery of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development with the implementation of ICT4D operational solutions and investigate it through the lens of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in particular on a local Country Office (CO) level. The purpose is to add to existing ICT4D literature by looking at how the reality for UNDP country offices is for mobilising resources for ICT4D, in the form of Smart UN Facilities operational solutions, and how the environment affects their efforts and if FfD tools drive the implementation of SDG through ICT4D solutions. The research is conducted through empirics from a case study approach and complemented with qualitative documentary research, observation and online interviews and then analysed a constructivist and institutional theorist perspective with an appropriate analytical framework used for understanding the behaviour of organisations in an institutional setting. From the analysed and discussed findings on this particular study, the results indicate that although the FfD process may show results of being a key driver for gathering the support for mobilising resources to implement ICT4D solutions to deliver on the SDGs on an international level, but the reality for the UNDP Country offices in the case study is different. Essential conclusions drawn from the findings; 1) ICT4D solutions are definitely considered as crucial elements for the delivery of the SDGs, 2) new FfD mechanisms are established, but not always known by CO level nor used for acquiring Smart UN Facilities solutions, thus lack of communication and 3) a mind-set shift and leadership is needed to agenda-set ICT4D operational solutions and attract needed investments via multi-stakeholder collaboration locally. The thesis supports the previous literature that ICT4D solutions can add notable value in the delivering on SDGs and finds that tools and mechanisms are established, however notes that this does not fully adhere to operational solutions and thus FfD mindset does not always trickle down to all UNDP Country office level, where generally there are lacking funds, leadership and does not permit this implementation of ICT4D solutions in focus of this thesis. With this future research is invited to consider the possibilities of how investments for ICT4D operational solutions for UN offices can attracted.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages100