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António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on the Launch of his Roadmap for Digital Cooperation - The State of the Digital World Today and Implementing the Roadmap
11 Jun 2020 -  Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Launch of his Roadmap for Digital Cooperation - The State of the Digital World Today and Implementing the Roadmap.
"(...) This is the backdrop to the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation that we are launching today.
The Roadmap is a guide for a multilateral, multi-stakeholder way forward in the age of digital interdependence.
Building on the report of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, it sets out eight areas where we can come together and pursue the imperative for global action on digital cooperation.
The overriding aim of the Roadmap is to connect, respect, and protect people in the digital age.
The United Nations will be a facilitator and a platform, mobilising partnerships and coalitions between governments, citizens, civil society, academia, and industry.
This diverse panel of distinguished speakers exemplifies the inclusive approach we need.
Allow me to suggest what some of the first steps could be.
First, on Universal Connectivity. We must convene leaders in connectivity to establish baselines, targets and metrics for connectivity and affordability, and then to support emerging efforts and develop new financing models. Together, we can achieve the target of ensuring that every person has safe and affordable access to the Internet by 2030.
Second, Digital Public Goods. We need a concerted global effort from Member States, the UN system, private sectors, and others, to promote open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy, applicable laws and do no harm. These have vast potential to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Third, Digital Inclusion efforts that reach all, including the most vulnerable. The proposed Digital Inclusion coalition will help develop metrics and scorecards to accelerate an inclusive digital ecosystem that addresses the growing digital gender gap and reaches the most vulnerable, including migrants, refugees and others.
Fourth, Digital Capacity-building through expanded training programmes and support. The United Nations system stands ready to work with national governments on efforts to meet these global needs, which will require greater coherence and coordination.
Fifth, Digital Human Rights. The Roadmap addresses issues including data protection and privacy; digital identities; surveillance technology as well as online harassment and abuse. It calls for human rights to be put at the centre of regulatory frameworks and legislation on the development and use of digital technologies.
Sixth, Artificial Intelligence – an area that poses some of the greatest challenges to ethics, policy and governance. We need to ensure that all perspectives, particularly those of developing countries, are part of the conversation. The Roadmap offers the United Nations as a platform to strengthen global cooperation on AI so that it is trustworthy, human rights-based, sustainable and safe, and promotes peace.
Seventh, Digital Trust and Security. The international community must come together at the highest levels to prioritize and safeguard the digital technologies that underpin core societal functions and critical infrastructure, such as access to food, water, housing, energy, health care and transportation.
I urge you to continue exploring the value of a universal statement which acknowledges the strong linkage between the principles of digital trust and security and our ability to realize the 2030 Agenda.
Finally, Global Digital Cooperation. I will work with all of you to implement the proposals to enhance the Internet Governance Forum so that it can guide efforts to build a more effective architecture for digital cooperation. I also intend to appoint an Envoy on Technology to push forward the United Nations work on these issues (...)" - António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations [Excerpt].
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