UN makes ‘declaration of digital interdependence’, with release of tech report

UN Photo/Mark Garten Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (c), Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group (l) and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres (r) discuss how digital cooperation and technology can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The digital future must be safer and more inclusive, says a new tech report, “the Age of Digital Interdependence”, released on Monday by the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, almost a year after the Panel was launched by Secretary-General António Guterres.

The digital future must be safer and more inclusive, says a new tech report, “the Age of Digital Interdependence”, released on Monday by the UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, almost a year after the Panel was launched by Secretary-General António Guterres.

The launch included a “declaration of digital interdependence” on the part of the study’s authors, which describes humanity as being “in the foothills” of the digital age. It also lays out the risks faced by mankind, such as exploitative behaviour by private companies, a failure to realize human potential, and the stifling of necessary regulation.

The declaration outlines the Panel’s belief that cooperation in the digital space is paramount, as individuals, institutions, corporations and governments cannot manage digital developments alone, and that global aspirations and vulnerabilities are “deeply interconnected and interdependent”.

The report explores the ways that digital technology can help achieve the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; how digital tech relates to human rights and security; and models for digital cooperation between different parts of society. Several recommendations are contained within the report, based on the three main areas.

Inclusivity, trust and cooperation in the digital future

At a time when around half the world’s population still has no access to the Internet, the panel calls for every adult to have affordable access to digital networks, as well as digitally-enabled financial and health services, by 2030.

Women and marginalized groups must be supported, says the Panel, with specific policies adopted to ensure their full “digital inclusion”, and internationally recognized ways to measure inclusiveness must be established.

In order to protect human rights, the report recommends that the Secretary-General should conduct a global review of the ways in which human rights norms apply to digital technology, and calls on social media companies to cooperate fully in responding to human rights concerns.

Trust issues should be addressed with a “Global Commitment on Digital Trust and Security”, and new forms of global cooperation should be developed by the UN Secretary-General, said the Panel, based on the report recommendations.

Women must have ‘a seat at the table’

The launch of the report was marked with a live Webchat, featuring Mr. Guterres, Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of the Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group, and Melinda Gates, co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For Jack Ma, digital technology is helping to make globalization more inclusive. Giving the example of his own digital company, Alibaba, Mr. Ma said that of the 10 million small businesses selling products via his online platforms, 50 per cent of the most effective “power sellers”, are women. Mr. Ma claimed that most of the fears surrounding the internet come from the more developed economies which want to “hold on to yesterday”, whilst in China, and African countries, young people are less afraid of the future.

Melinda Gates insisted that women must have a “seat at the table, as the creators of society”, pointing out that women entrepreneurs currently receive just 6% of venture capital funding for digital start-ups. Regarding fears over inadequate internet governance, Ms. Gates acknowledged that this is a legitimate concern, but noted that the technology sector is coming together to self-govern and collaborate. Smart regulation, however, is also necessary to solve problems.

Mr. Guterres recalled that the growth of the internet began with a “naïve optimism”, but inequalities have actually grown. He called for digital technology to be used for a “quantum leap” in global development, and for everyone to have access to the internet. Without a huge commitment and investment in digital inclusion, he said, conflicts and mistrusts will grow.

‘The longer we wait, the further we will fall behind’: UN chief

The Secretary-General also spoke at an informal meeting of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters on Monday, at which he urged Member States to closely study the report, and expressed his hopes that it will stimulate an “urgent and open debate between governments, the private sector, civil society and others on how we move forward together safely in the age of digital interdependence”.

The United Nations itself, as the “multilateral system of the digital age”, said the UN Chief, is “unprepared and needs to catch up”, he said, adding that, every day, he sees ways that digital tech can help the UN to achieve its mission of peace, human rights and sustainable development.

However, he also sees daily examples of the disruption that digital technology can cause and the threats it can bring to that mission. “The international community is failing to meet its responsibilities. The systems for governance of digital technology are old, fragmented and reactive. The longer we wait to update these systems, the further we will fall behind.”

The 20-strong High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation is co-chaired by Jack Ma and Melinda Gates, with members drawn from a diverse group of independent experts, including US internet pioneer Vint Cerf, and South Korea-based digital marketing mastermind Sophie Eom. The Panel was created to fulfil the UN chief’s wish to include input from industry and the private sector, as well as governments, academia, civil society and inter-governmental organizations, in tackling the challenges of the digital age.         

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN must bring more women police officers into the fold to be effective – UN peacekeeping official

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

A Europe that protects: Continued efforts needed on security priorities

Global warming: our responsibility

Why sustainable products are a win-win for all of us

Main results of Foreign Affairs EU Council, 16/07/2018

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

Afghanistan: UN mission condemns deadly attack near Kabul airport

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

Further reforms will move Slovakia toward a more innovative and inclusive society

The world is facing more disasters. This is how data can help us reduce that risk

Here’s how to check in on your AI system, as COVID-19 plays havoc

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

Leaders need hard data to make the hard decisions about sustainability

The global response to the coronavirus pandemic must not be undermined by bribery

ECB guarantees the liquidity of the Atlantic financial volume

European Youth Capital 2019 announced: Novi Sad, Serbia

JADE Generations Club: Connecting perspectives, changing Europe.

Here are four steps SMEs can take for long-term success

Commission and EIB provide CureVac with a €75 million financing for vaccine development and expansion of manufacturing

What COVID-19 tells us about the changing nature of disaster risk

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

How privacy tech is redefining the data economy

Cyber attacks are shutting down countries, cities and companies. Here’s how to stop them

Will the end of QE come along with ECB’s inflation target?

World Malaria Day: 7 things to know about the deadly disease

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Convincing the Germans to pay also for the unification of Eurozone

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

Reintegrating former rebels into civilian life a ‘serious concern’ in Colombia: UN Mission chief

Combatting terrorism: EP special committee calls for closer EU cooperation

“If they think they can slave an entire nation, then they will just have the opposite results!”, Alexis Tsipras cries out from the Greek parliament

Hurricane Dorian: Bahamas death toll expected to rise as thousands remain missing

This is how travel hotspots are fighting back against overtourism

Berlin to pay at the end for Eurozone banks’ consolidation

‘Fire-fighting approach’ to humanitarian aid ‘not sustainable’: Deputy UN chief

The Working Methods of the von der Leyen Commission: Striving for more at home and in the world

Commissioner Hogan announces new transparency package

Syrian crisis is ‘clearest example’ of foreign investment in terrorism, Deputy Prime Minister says at UN

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

This robot has soft hands. It could be the future of sustainable production

Davos participants call for digital trade deal

4 key steps towards a circular economy

Tax revenues have reached a plateau

6 charts that show how Japan’s economy stacks up as it enters a new era

Migration and asylum: EU funds to promote integration and protect borders

Nicaragua: MEPs demand an end to repression of political opponents

The 10 most common types of plastic choking Europe’s rivers

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

Protecting citizens’ access to social security in case of no-deal Brexit

China’s impact as a global investor; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

5 ways governments can unleash the power of young entrepreneurs

Europe must remember its past to build its future

The world wide web is 30 years old. What better time to fight for its future?

JADE Spring Meeting 2017– day 1: Excellence awards, panel discussion, keynote speeches

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

How a chocolate bar gives hope for a new economy

Five ways to increase trust in e-commerce

Fairer food supply chain: Agriculture MEPs clamp down on unfair trading

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s