United Nations References Importance of ICT Professionalism
in Driving Sustainability Outcomes
Global ICT Professionalism Body – IFIP IP3 – Strengthens Ties with UN General Assembly
Thursday 22 October 2015 – New York, USA: Key figures at the United Nations this week heard about the critical role information and communications technology (ICT) professionalism will play in helping to drive progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at the UN General Assembly’s informal interactive stakeholder consultation around the WSIS+10 review and the SDGs on Monday, Stephen Ibaraki, IFIP Global Industry Council Founding Chair, Vice-Chair and Industry Fellow of IFIP’s Professional Partnership Practice, IP3, reinforced the importance of professionalism in delivering the trustworthy technology that is essential to assist developing nations in achieving their potential.
Mr Ibaraki reminded the assembly about the impacts of recent ICT issues including VW’s illegal use of emissions test cheating software in over 11 million vehicles, the Sony Movies hack that wiped half the company’s computers and saw valuable corporate data posted online, and Apple’s failure to detect that around 4,000 apps in its App Store were infected with the xCodeGhost malware.
He said digital disruption, new work practices and the growing cost of failure mean that it’s time to focus on the people of ICT.
“The reasons for failure include lack of commitment and buy in from senior management, lack of skills in the project team – managers and ICT practitioners – lack of planning, inappropriate funding models, poor procurement practices and deficient or absent governance models,” said Mr Ibaraki. “It’s time to focus on the ICT people, the qualities they need to succeed – professionalism, skills and entrepreneurial acumen – and how we can enable and empower them to provide “trustworthy” computing globally.
“Given the reach of ICT in our lives, it is important for an ICT professional to be technically strong (in order to use the right technology for the relevant problem), ethically grounded (to ensure that technology is put to the right use), socially conscious (so that the technical solution takes into consideration elements of sustainability) and business savvy (to ensure commercial viability which is required for social prosperity and funding of new developments),” he continued.
Driving the UN Agenda
UN General Assembly President, Mogens Lykketoft, said the review of the implementation of the outcomes of the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is one of the most important processes taking place at the United Nations this year. Just last month, world leaders adopted the ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which seeks to eradicate poverty and advance shared prosperity, peace and sustainability.
“That Agenda together with the Addis Agenda highlighted the critical role of science, technology and innovation, and in particular by ICTs, as means of implementation for the sustainable development goals,” Mr Lykketoft said in his opening address.
“Thanks to the rapid development of Information and Communications Technology and growth in global interconnectivity this  past decade, ICT plays an increasingly important role in promoting economic and social progress in many parts of the world. Nonetheless, the full potential of ICT in catalysing broad-based and inclusive growth is far from being realized.”
Mr Lykketoft identified issues including the digital divides within and among countries, internet stability and security, data ownership, and exercise of human rights online as being emerging challenges that needed to be addressed by the process.
ICT professionalism was a strong theme of the talks, with the issue highlighted by Mr Lykketoft in his summary remarks, as well as by session Chair, Anne Miroux, Director of the Technology and Trade Logistics Division in the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. She is also Head of the Secretariat of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), where she drives work relating to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the 10 year Review of WSIS and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In her concluding comments, Ms Miroux again pointed to the role of ICT professionalism as an issue to be considered when furthering the zero-draft, the primary document being developed to encapsulate key recommendations for implementation.
“I also wish to underscore that in dealing with education … that was the link to professionalism of ICT employment that was mentioned and emphasised by Mr Ibaraki and it might be something to focus on as well and submit to the various negotiators,” she said.
One of a select group of stakeholders invited to present to the WSIS Review process, Mr Ibaraki previously made five presentations at the first historical informal stakeholder UN GA briefing in July and will return to the UN in November and December.
IFIP IP3 has been a regular presenter at the WSIS Forum in Geneva for the past four years, helping to educate stakeholders and UN decision-makers about the impact of professionalism in ICT and the role it must play in advancing the SDGs and the WSIS Action Lines.
IP3 Chair and Australian Computer Society President, Brenda Aynsley, has been a major force behind the organisation’s involvement first at WSIS and now with the United Nations, providing substantial financial support through the ACS as well as driving its professionalism initiatives.
In further supporting the UN agendas, IFIP, through Global Industry Council Chair Mr Ibaraki, has provided access to expertise in big data/machine learning for a briefing of UN agency ICT leaders as well as exploring opportunities to partner on key CIO-focused activities. In added deliberations, Mr Ibaraki has pointed to the resources available through the IFIP World Computer Congress (most recently from October in Korea), World CIO Forums, World IT Forums, IFIP Technical Committees and Working Groups and IFIP member societies.
A comprehensive interview of Anne Miroux by Stephen Ibaraki is now available as part of the ACM Learning Center podcast library. See to access the recording.
About IFIP
IFIP, the International Federation for Information Processing, is the global professional federation of societies and associations for people working in Information and Communications Technologies and Sciences. Established under the auspices of UNESCO in 1960 and recognised by the United Nations, IFIP represents ICT professional associations from more than 50 countries and regions with a total membership of over half a million. It also brings together more than 3,500 scientists from industry and academia, organising them into over 100 Working Groups and 13 Technical Committees to conduct research, develop standards and promote information sharing. Based in Austria, IFIP organises and supports over 100 conferences each year, fostering the distribution of research and knowledge to academics and industry practitioners alike.
About IP3
The IFIP International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) was established to encourage development of ICT professionals, define standards and to recognise professional excellence. To carry out this mission, IP3 works closely with its partners, who share a commitment to creating a sound global ICT profession.  IP3 members are organisations that have: 1) Undertaken an accreditation process by IP3 for their professionalism scheme ; or 2) Are willing to make a commitment to actively promoting professionalism; or 3) Are actively working towards accreditation. See for more details. 
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