New study highlights mobile’s increasing impact on reaching the UN SDGs

(New York/Fornebu, 25 September 2018) A new GSMA report released today has found that the mobile industry is strengthening its commitment to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all, by demonstrating significant and measurable impact in contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Telenor Group’s Digital Birth Registration project together with UNICEF and local authorities in Pakistan is highlighted as best practice for contributing to SDG #10, Reduced Inequalities. 

Published: 26 September 2018 00:30

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The 2018 edition of the GSMA’s annual ‘Mobile Industry Impact’ report, published at the UN General Assembly today, found that the industry has continued to increase its contribution to all 17 Goals – two years on from mobile becoming the first sector in the world to uniformly commit to delivery of the SDGs. This growing impact reflects mobile’s unprecedented global scale, which provides a platform to connect unconnected communities, reduce poverty, improve access to healthcare and education, and drive sustainable economic growth.

“More than two-thirds of the people on the planet are now connected to a mobile network and, for many, mobile is the primary – sometimes only – channel for accessing the internet and life-enhancing services. Today’s report reiterates how the mobile industry is playing a central role in accelerating delivery of the SDGs and leveraging the power of mobile networks and services to transform lives around the world,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, at the launch of the report.

SDG ingrained in Telenor strategy

Telenor Group has pledged commitment to the UN SDG #10, Reduced Inequalities, and this is reflected in the company’s business strategy as well as the purpose to empower societies.

“As a mobile operator present in Scandinavia and Asia, Telenor was built on a belief in connecting the many, not just the few. SDG #10, Reduced inequalities, is one of the global goals that is trending in the wrong direction and needs more focus. To reduce inequalities is ingrained in our strategic direction, the way we provide access to services that foster inclusion and empowerment, and strive to influence and raise working and operating standards wherever we operate,” said Sigve Brekke, President & CEO of Telenor Group.

Telenor has committed itself to concrete contributions towards Reduced Inequalities, SDG #10, by 2020. They are:

  • 7 million mobile birth registrations in Asia
  • Providing online safety training for 4 million children
  • Delivering 100,000 hours of supply chain sustainability training

Digital birth registration in Pakistan

More than one billion people in the world today lack an official identity. The ability to prove one’s identity is crucial to social, political, and economic inclusion and enables greater access to basic services such as healthcare and education. Changing this reality is a challenge, but also an opportunity to reduce inequalities on a considerable scale.

In the GSMA’s Mobile Industry Impact report for 2018, Telenor’s Digital Birth Registration project together with UNICEF and local governments in Pakistan is highlighted as best practice for contributing to SDG #10, Reduced Inequalities.

In Pakistan, the births of approximately 60 million children remain unregistered, with registration rates lowest among girls, children from rural areas and the poorest households. In 2014, a first-of-its-kind pilot for Digital Birth Registration trained local health workers visiting newborns for health check-ups to also register the births via a mobile app. The aim was to test how mobile technology could effectively augment the traditional, paper-based birth registration process.

Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan said: “The project is an extension of Telenor’s vision to empower societies by leveraging our strengths as a connectivity provider and our commitment to reduced inequalities. Birth registration becomes increasingly important towards helping children claim their right to identity and access to basic amenities of life, including education, health, nutrition, safety and social security.”

During just six months, the pilot saw an increase in birth registration from 30 percent to 90 percent in the Punjab and Sindh provinces. Nearly 200,000 children have been registered through the solution until mid-September 2018. The project has been gradually scaled and the ambition is to register 700,000 children by end of 2018.

In August 2018, Telenor and UNICEF announced they would be scaling the mobile birth registration pilot to Myanmar. The organisations have signed a partnership agreement for a Mobile Birth and Death Registration (MBDR) project endorsed by the Government of Myanmar.

Read more about the Mobile Industry Impact Report

The 2018 Mobile Industry Impact Report was authored by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA. The report provides summaries on mobile’s impact on all 17 SDGs, alongside in-depth analysis on five selected SDGs that showcase innovative case studies of operator initiatives supporting the Goals.

Click here to download the report

For more information, contact:
Hanne Knudsen, Director, Media Relations, Telenor Group
+47 90 80 40 15 | Hanne.knudsen@telenor.com