Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Irish rocker Bono have called on the UN to make universal internet access by 2020 a global priority.
In a jointly worded op-ed in The New York Times at the weekend, the programmer and the U2 musician said that if we want to unite the Earth we need to connect it.
“Today over half the people on this planet don’t have access [to the internet]. That is not good for anyone – not for the disempowered and disconnected, and not for the other half, whose commerce and security depend on having stable societies,” they wrote.
‘It’s one thing to say we should connect the world. The real question is how. There is no simple solution or silicon bullet’
– MARK ZUCKERBERG
They said that despite progress in fighting killer diseases, the economic impact of internet access is critical and pointed out how desperate refugees on the frontiers of Europe rely on smartphones to stay in touch with loved ones.
“It’s one thing to say we should connect the world. The real question is how. There is no simple solution or silicon bullet.”
One world, many voices
Zuckerberg also addressed the 70th annual UN General Assembly session as well as the UN Private Sector Forum, which was also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“World leaders are here at the UN to approve a new set of Global Goals that address fundamental challenges for the world in the coming years,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
“Achieving universal internet access is one of those challenges, and governments have agreed to work towards this by 2020 as part of the Global Goals. To help make this a reality, I announced a global call-to-action in partnership with ONE and supported by many leaders and organisations.
“Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation. More than 4 billion people don’t have a voice online — but you do,” Zuckerberg said.