Third reading of the GDC zero draft

The third reading of the GDC zero draft – as part of the intergovernmental negotiations process – is scheduled to take place on 16 May 2024, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber (UN headquarters in New York).

Second reading of the GDC zero draft

The second reading of the GDC zero draft – as part of the intergovernmental negotiations process – is scheduled to take place on 2 May 2024, in Conference Room 1 (UN headquarters in New York).

First reading of the GDC zero draft

The first reading of the GDC zero draft – as part of the intergovernmental negotiations process – is scheduled to take place on 5 April 2024, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber (UN headquarters in New York).

Negotiations on the GDC

Intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Digital Compact are expected to start in April 2024 and continue throughout the second quarter of the year.

Deadline for written input

The permanent representatives of Rwanda and Zambia will invite UN member states, observers and stakeholders to submit written input by 8 March 2024 to inform the preparation of the zero draft of the GDC.

Germany and Namibia, co-facilitators of the Summit of the Future, publish zero draft of the Pact for the Future

On 26 January 2024, Germany and Namibia – co-facilitators of the Summit of the Future – announced the release of the zero draft of the Pact for the Future. The zero draft tackles digital issues in the chapeau and in two subsequent chapters: international peace and security, and science, technology, innovation and digital cooperation.

1. Chapeau

The paragraph on peace and security notes that member states would act collectively to maintain and restore international peace and security on land, at sea, in space, in cyberspace and other emerging domains. They would also take concrete steps to avoid the misuse of emerging domains and new technologies.

The paragraph on science, technology and innovation and digital cooperation includes a commitment from member states to strengthen digital cooperation and harness the potential of science, technology and innovation for the benefit of all humanity. Member states also reiterate their commitments for an open, free, secure, inclusive and human-centred digital future. They further commit to ensuring that new technologies are shaped in ways that are human-centred, reflect universal human values and protect the planet.

1. International peace and security

A sub-section in the chapter dedicated to peace and security focuses on ’emerging domains and new technology’ and proposes a series of commitments from member states:

  • Commitment to developing international norms, rules and principles to address threats to space systems, and launching negotiations on a treaty to ensure peace, security and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
  • Commitment to be guided – in the use of ICTs – by agreed norms of responsible state behaviour.
  • Commitment to concluding a legally binding instrument to prohibit lethal autonomous weapons systems that function without human control or oversight, and which cannot be used in compliance with international humanitarian law, and to regulate all other types of autonomous weapons systems.
  • Commitment to strengthening oversight mechanisms for the use of data-driven technology, including AI, to support the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Commitment to developing norms, rules and principles on the design, development and use of military applications of AI through a multilateral process, while also ensuring engagement with other stakeholders.
  • Commitment to exploring measures to address the risks involved in biotechnology and human enhancement technology applied to the military domain.

2. Science, technology and innovation and digital cooperation

Echoing to some extent the provisions of the UN General Assembly Resolution on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development (A/RES/78/160) and the Political declaration adopted at the 2023 SDG Summit (A/RES/78/1), this section acknowledges the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in advancing sustainable development. Among other provisions, member states:

  • Undertake to increase the use of science and scientific evidence in policymaking.
  • Reiterate the need to accelerate the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms.
  • Commit to addressing barriers to equal access for women and girls to STI.
  • Commit to addressing structural impediments to accessing new and emerging technologies, including by scaling up the use of open science, affordable and open-source technology, research and development.
  • Aim to increase funding for research and innovation related to SDGs and build capacities in all regions to contribute to and benefit from such research.
  • Call upon the UN system to support the efforts of developing countries to develop and strengthen their national STI ecosystems.

The zero draft also notes that the Global Digital Compact – developed and negotiated in a separate process – is to be annexed to the Pact for the Future.

The co-facilitators have also published a roadmap outlining the next steps towards the Summit of the Future in September 2024.

  • 29 January 2024 | Presentation of the zero draft
  • By 12 February 2024 | Submission of written input by member states
  • 6–9 February 2024 | First reading of the zero draft
  • 21 February 2024 | Virtual consultations with Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) and civil society
  • 21–23 February, 26–28 February, 4–6 March 2024 | Second reading