Open source powers the United Nations’ sustainability goals

The United Nations embraces open source tech to reach Sustainable Development Goals.

Image credits : Joshua Pearce, CC BY-SA 4.0

Although the United Nations (UN) has previously spoken well of open source development, several recent events show the UN taking definitive actions to introduce the entire world to the open source way. In July, the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a draft resolution introduced by the representative of Pakistan titled Open source technologies for sustainable development. ECOSOC noted the availability of open source technologies that can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The council invited the Secretary-General to “develop specific proposals on ways to better leverage open source technologies for sustainable development based on inputs from interested Member States and other stakeholders.” Open source technology development can be an effective and rapid tool for innovation. Applying it to appropriate technologies to help reach SDGs is extremely promising. “Appropriate technologies” encompass technological choices and applications that are small-scale, economically affordable, decentralized, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and easily utilized by local communities to meet their needs. There is a particularly strong case for open source appropriate technologies (OSAT). OSAT can help everyone out of poverty and into a sustainable state by leveraging the same type of development that makes open source software such a slamming success.

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