ONE Campaign’s Connectivity Declaration Gets Some Big-Name Support

"When people have access to the tools and knowledge of the Internet, they have access to opportunities that make life better for all of us."

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a champion of connecting the world for quite some time, and he was one of many technology, global development and philanthropy powerhouses to sign the ONE Campaign’s Connectivity Declaration.

The Connectivity Declaration reads:

I believe: Internet access is essential for achieving humanity’s #globalgoals.

When people have access to the tools and knowledge of the Internet, they have access to opportunities that make life better for all of us.

The Internet is critical to fighting injustice, sharing new ideas and helping entrepreneurs create more jobs. But right now, half the people on this planet don’t have access, especially women and girls.

The Internet belongs to everyone. It should be accessible by everyone.

I call on leaders and innovators from all countries, industries and communities to work together as one to make universal internet access a reality by 2020, as promised in the new Global Goals.

Let’s #CONNECTTHEWORLD to achieve our #GLOBALGOALS.

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In addition to Zuckerberg, the Connectivity Declaration was signed by:

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post:

By giving people access to the tools, knowledge and opportunities of the Internet, we can give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. We also know that the Internet is a vital enabler of jobs, growth and opportunity. And research tells us that for every 10 people connected to the Internet, about one is lifted out of poverty.

If we connect the more than 4 billion people not yet online, we have a historic opportunity to lift the entire world in the coming decades. Those without Internet access cannot share their voices online. But you can. Share your support at www.one.org/connecttheworld.

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ONE co-founder and global executive director Jamie Drummond added in a release:

Internet access is a catalyst for creating a world of greater freedom, fairness and dignity for all peoples, everywhere. Every country must now agree an urgent plan to implement the Global Goals, and mission-critical within those strategies is connectivity for all. The Pope and (Malala Yousafzai) have spoken eloquently about the one world and one family we’re all a part of, and the Internet, at its best, facilitates that unity. But when 3 billion are left beyond the Internet, they are left behind and left out of that family. That must change and fast.

And Zuckerberg and Bono penned an op-ed for The New York Times. Highlights follow:

Today, over one-half of the people on this planet don’t have access. 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.

In this century, global development and global connectivity are closely linked. If you want to help people feed, heal, educate and employ themselves around the world, we need to connect the world, as well. The Internet should not belong to only 3 billion people, as it does today. It should be seen as a necessity for development and a tool that makes larger things possible.

In the last few weeks, we’ve watched desperate refugees seek shelter on the frontiers of Europe. Smartphones have made it possible for those left behind to communicate with loved ones across checkpoints and razor wire. The Internet connected our world in shared grief as a Syrian child’s death on a beach in Turkey came to symbolize every refugee. Social media carried the message and changed not just popular opinion but public policy.

It’s one thing to say we should connect the world. The real trick is how.

There’s no simple solution or silicon bullet.

All the global goals must be scored—but the goal of connectivity for everyone everywhere will surely hurry this game-that’s-not-a-game to its successful conclusion. Hurry being the operative word here.

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Readers: What do you think of the efforts by Zuckerberg and the other supporters of the ONE Campaign’s Connectivity Declaration?