The focus in accelerating the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and recovering forward has been increasingly on leveraging digital governance. Of the 169 SDG targets, 103 are directly influenced by digital technologies, and an analysis of 20 targets and their indicators across the SDGs shows that the expected deployment of existing digital technologies can, on average, accelerate progress by 22% and mitigate downwards trends by 23%. Digitalisation can create opportunities for development such as new types of goods and services, new markets, new jobs, new skills and new capacities. In addition, digitalisation has huge potential to improve and shape governance systems with a view towards increasing participation, coordination, and transparency. Social media, for instance, is changing how people participate in political and civic life – traditional broadcasters are complementing radio with chatbots or using WhatsApp groups to host discussions with expert guests; and micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector are receiving cash transfers using mobile money.


> >

Of the 169 SDG targets,

are directly influenced by digital technologies

Deployment of existing digital technologies can, accelerate progess by

and mitigiate downwards trends by 23%


Like other complex adaptive systems, governance systems are dynamic and shaped not only by internal but also by external factors. Digital disruption is one of the most significant contributors to the dynamism of governance systems. Therefore, practitioners and governments working on governance reforms must remain aware that digitalisation has the potential to massively transform the governance landscape. Near-ubiquitous digital access provides citizens with more politically relevant information than ever before. However, the digital transformation also comes with risks for the governance system. Microtargeted misinformation, misleading and fake news make it more difficult for citizens to engage in informed debates, and threaten the integrity of democratic elections. Governments are increasingly adopting surveillance capabilities to monitor citizens and crack down on opposing voices. 


Therefore, any governance structures, processes and policies seeking to achieve transformative change must be informed by the ways that digitalisation impacts governance, while also seeking to alter current digital governance trends.