Tuesday, June 28, 2022
In July 2018, the United Nation’s Secretary General established The High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma) to raise awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the economy, identify good examples and propose modalities to strengthen cooperation in the digital space among Governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, academia, the technical community and other relevant stakeholders. Cooperation across borders and sectors was deemed critical to realizing the full social and economic potential of digital technologies as well as mitigating the risks they could pose.
The High-Level Panel met several times in 2018 and 2019 and conducted consultations to gather input on ways to maximize the potential of digital transformation. They considered the question of “digital cooperation” – defined as “ways of working together to address the social, ethical, legal and economic impact of digital technologies in order to maximise their benefits and minimise their harm”, – and more specifically how digital cooperation can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In response to the High-Level Panel’s report, UN Secretary General issued a Roadmap for Digital Cooperation taking into consideration the recommendations of the High-Level Panel and the outcomes of the consultations with Member States, UN entities, subject-matter experts and other stakeholders. He acknowledged the significance of digital technologies and the role of digital cooperation in achieving the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the roadmap, the UN’s role as a convenor and facilitator of multi-stakeholder policy dialogues was highlighted. Following the roadmap, the Secretary General called for a Global Digital Compact that can outline shared principles for an open, free, and secure digital future for all.
Local and indeed, national governments, have a key role to play in accelerating the implementation of the roadmap and at the same can benefit from the SG’s proposed actions for advancing global connectivity, promoting digital public goods, digital inclusion, digital capacity building, digital human rights, artificial intelligence, digital trust and security and global digital cooperation. They can contribute to the global digital compact and accelerate its achievement.
Digital co-operation and in particular the elements outlined in the SG’s roadmap for digital cooperation, are essential in efforts to achieve sustainable urbanization.
The central theme of the event is to therefore explore how the SG’s roadmap for digital cooperation can be localised and in cities in particular. The event will consider how technology, innovation and data can be better harnessed for the benefits of all and in all parts of city. The event will therefore also touch on the disparities that exist in the availability and use of technology solutions at the local level and between communities. It will discuss ways to reduce the disparities by advancing connectivity, promoting digital public goods, digital capacity building, digital human rights, proper use of artificial intelligence and global digital cooperation.