Development - other

Updates

French president Emmanuel Macron has held a meeting with about 60 key figures of the tech industry, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. During the meeting, he reportedly warned the industry that they cannot just be ‘free riding’ without giving back to society and helping to improve ‘social situations, inequalities, [and] climate change’. The issue of taxation was one of the key discussion topics. In addition, with the meeting, Macron hoped to boost investment and jobs in France, especially in the area of artificial intelligence. Macron also discussed issues as data protection, hate speech, and fake news with the technology companies.

The World Bank has released The Global Findex Database 2017 report, providing data on how individuals around the world save, borrow, make payments, and arrange risks. In its third edition, the report also includes data on the use of financial technology (including the Internet and mobile phones) to conduct financial transactions. The main finding of the report is that financial inclusion – an enabler of the 2030 sustainable development goals – is on the rise at a global level, but that measures are still needed to expand access to financial services, especially in developing countries. To this aim, the report notes that digital technologies can drive sustainable financial inclusion if the necessary infrastructure is in place, and an enabling environment is created in areas such as digitising payments of wages and government benefits, putting in place strong consumer protection rules, and introducing digital technology-based identification cards. According to the World Bank, the data in the report is used by UN member states to track progress toward the sustainable development goals.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) organised the e-Commerce Week 2018, from 16 to 20 April. The event brought together stakeholders to discuss development opportunities and challenges associated with the evolving digital economy. This year, the overarching theme was the development dimension of digital platforms. The key role that these platforms play in facilitating international trade was discussed, as well as their potentially disruptive influence on the economy and the job market. The second meeting of the Group of Intergovernmental Experts on E-commerce also took place during the e-commerce week, under the theme ‘Fostering Development Gains from Domestic and Cross-border E-commerce in Developing Countries’. The discussions were guided by some questions proposed for reflection, and member states and observers were invited to present written contributions beforehand. Their inputs have been made available online. The GIP Digital Watch Observatory and DiploFoundation provided just-in-time reporting from most sessions at the UNCTAD e-commerce week and from the second meeting of the group of intergovernmental experts on e-commerce.

A blog post published by Julia While, Azure Corporate Vice-president at Microsoft, revealed Microsoft's plan to invest USD$ 5 billion in the Internet of things (IoT) in the next five years. The funds will be allocated to research and innovation in IoT, so that the products and services offered by the company can allow the creation of 'trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world'. Microsoft intends to pay particular attention to areas such as securing IoT, creating development tools and intelligent services for IoT, and supporting the growth of the overall IoT environment.​

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force created by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has published its report exploring possible implications of AI technological progress for India and outlining several recommendations to the government. Noting that 'AI should be seen as a scalable problem solver in India rather than only as a booster of economic growth', the Task Force recommends: (a) the creation of an inter-ministerial National AI mission to coordinate AI-related activities in India; (b) enabling the setting up of digital data banks, marketplaces and exchanges to ensure availability of cross-industry data and information; (c) participating in the elaboration of operation standards for AI-based systems; (d) putting in place enabling policies to encourage and facilitate the development and deployment of AI-based products (such as data policies regarding ownership, sharing rights and usage, as well as tax incentives to support innovation); (e) elaborating an AI education strategy to develop human resources with necessary skills; (f) supporting reskilling of the current workforce; (g) participating in the international policy discussion on the governance of AI technologies; and (h) leveraging bilateral partnership on the development of AI solutions for social and economic problems and for sharing best practices in regulation.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Cabinet has created a Council for Artificial Intelligence (AI), tasked with overseeing the integration of AI into the governmental and educational sectors. The Council, composed of representatives from every emirate and chaired by the Minister of State for AI, will look into how and where AI can be used in carrying out governmental functions and providing education services. The new body will also determine what supporting infrastructures are needed for AI to be efficiently used in these two sectors. The creation of the Council is part of the UAE's overall AI development strategy.​

The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.

What are the effects of the global Internet on international development? How can ICTs opportunities for development be harnessed and controlled?  

Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, there have been many initiatives aimed to explore the ways in which ICTs could catalyse development; some examples include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s ICT for Development programme, and the 2015 and 2016 WSIS Forums, which heavily focused on linking the SDGs to ICT solutions. The 2016 World Development Report of the World Bank provided an in-depth look into the broader development benefits from using digital technologies.

The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) process has strongly positioned itself in the development context. In 2015, WSIS Action Line facilitators published a matrix, linking the Action Lines directly to the SDGs. WSIS Forum 2016 anchored all activities and plans in the context of the SDGs. As the links between the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs show, the effects of ICT on socio-economic development are diverse and multi-directional. As ICT has deeply penetrated the dynamics of connected societies, it can have a pivotal effect on modern-day economies in a multitude of domains. For example, ICT can help in the fight against poverty, by improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, ICT applications in the health sector can promote well-being, and applications in education can stimulate quality education and learning opportunities for all. The accessibility to ICT for vulnerable groups can help in their empowerment, and use of ICTs by governments has the potential to generate more effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions.

These are only a handful of examples of the wide-ranging effect of ICTs on socio-economic development. The topic was addressed in further detail in the World Bank’s 2016 Development Report, Digital Dividends, which offers a comprehensive analysis of the benefits that digital technologies can bring for development. According to the report, digital technologies bring benefits to people (easier access to information, jobs, and other opportunities), businesses (more productivity and trade, greater competition and innovation), and governments (better public services and enhanced interaction with citizens). Yet, challenges remain in fully capturing the opportunities that digital technologies generate, and countries need to work on ‘analog complements’, including strengthened regulations and accountable institutions.

Finally, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development has focused its 2015-2016 intersessional activity on the theme ‘Foresight for digital development’, examining the potential long-term effects of quickly-developing digital applications (including the Internet of Things, online education, 3D printing, digital automation, etc.) on the economy, society, and the environment. The Commission has made a number of recommendations to governments, encouraging them to, inter alia, adopt appropriate policies to support the development of emerging technologies and to take advantage of the opportunities they create, and to promote an enabling environment for digital development, with a focus on areas such as human capital, ICT and complementary infrastructure, and legal frameworks.

In short, the effects of ICTs on socio-economic development are complex and wide-ranging. Moreover, with the continuous innovations in the ICT sector, it has become a challenge to have up-to-date information about the social consequences and potential of digital technologies. Nevertheless, the growing interest in these social and economic dimensions of ICTs provides possibilities to better measure and untangle the web of ICT’s impact on society, and to find out how to best utilise ICT applications for socio-economic development.

 

Events

Actors

(CSTD)

The CSTD reviews progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes at the regional and

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The CSTD reviews progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes at the regional and international level, and it prepares draft resolutions for the UN Economic and Social Council. These draft resolutions tackle issues ranging from access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and Internet, to  the use of ICTs for early warning and mitigating climate change. At its annual sessions and inter-sessional panels, the Commission also addresses development-related themes such as: science, technology, and innovation for sustainable cities and communities; ICT for inclusive social and economic development; digital development; Internet broadband for inclusive societies; and smart cities and infrastructure.

(ICT4Peace)

In the area of online content policy, the ICT for Peace Foundation is engaged in activities concerning the use

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In the area of online content policy, the ICT for Peace Foundation is engaged in activities concerning the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. The Foundation is organising events and producing publications on this issue, with the main aim of raising awareness and promoting a multistakeholder dialogue on possible solutions for countering terrorist use of the Internet. Together with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the organisation runs a global engagement project working with other stakeholders to develop community standards around the prevention of violent extremism online, consistent with UN principles, including in the area of human rights.

(IPU)

In line with its objective to build strong and democratic parliaments, the IPU assists parliaments in building

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In line with its objective to build strong and democratic parliaments, the IPU assists parliaments in building their capacity to use information and communications technologies (ICT) effectively. In 2005, the IPU, together with UNDESA, established a Global Centre on ICT in Parliament, mainly aimed at promoting the use of ICTs in parliaments as a mean to increase transparency and effectiveness. The IPU has also been mandated by its member states to carry on capacity development programmes for parliamentary bodies tasked to oversee observance of the right to privacy and individual freedoms in the digital environment.

(ITU, UIT)
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The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) develops international standards (called recommendations) covering information and communications technologies. Standards are developed on a consensus-based approach, by study groups composed of representatives of ITU members (both member states and companies). These groups focus on a wide range of topics: operational issues, economic and policy issues, broadband networks, Internet protocol based networks, future networks and cloud computing, multimedia, security, the Internet of Things and smart cities, and performance and quality of service. The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), held every four years, defines the next period of study for the ITU-T.

(WEF)

Within the framework of its Digital Economy and Society initiative, WEF has launched the

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Within the framework of its Digital Economy and Society initiative, WEF has launched the Internet for All project, aimed at bringing online tens of millions of Internet users by the end of 2019, initially through programmes targeted at the Northern Corridor in Africa, Argentina, and India. In addition to this project, WEF also undertakes research on Internet-access-related issues. One notable example is the annual Global Information Technology Report and the related Networked Readiness Index, which measures, among others, the rates of Internet deployment worldwide. Internet access and the digital divide are also addressed in the framework of various WEF initiatives such as its annual meetings and regional events.

(BCSD)

The Commission promotes the adoption of practices and policies that enable the deployment of broadband network

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The Commission promotes the adoption of practices and policies that enable the deployment of broadband networks at national level, especially within developing countries. It engages in advocacy activities aimed to demonstrate that broadband networks are basic infrastructures in modern societies and could accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals. The Commission publishes an annual State of the Broadband Report, providing an overview of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by-country data measuring broadband access. Other reports, open letters, and calls for actions issues by the Commission also underline the benefits of broadband as a critical infrastructure towards achieving growth and development.

World Bank
(World Bank)

NetHope
(NetHope)

World Wide Web Foundation
(Web Foundation)

GSMA
(GSMA)

Instruments

Resolutions & Declarations

WHO Resolution 66.24 - 'eHealth Standardization and Interoperability' (2013)

Other Instruments

Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 111 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 23 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 29 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 34 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 35 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 55 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 69 (2005)
Link to: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (WSIS) paragraph 72 (2005)

Resources

Blockchain Technology and Internet Governance (2017)

Publications

Internet Governance Acronym Glossary (2015)
An Introduction to Internet Governance (2014)

Reports

ICT Facts and Figures 2017 (2017)
Global Information Technology Report 2016 (2016)
Advancing Digital Societies in Asia (2016)
UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index 2016 (2016)
The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband (2016)
Internet for All: A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption (2016)
e-Commerce in India: A Game Changer for the Economy (2016)
A New Regulatory Framework for the Digital Ecosystem (2016)
Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development (2016)
Measuring the Information Society 2015 (2015)
The 2015 BCG e-Intensity Index (2015)
UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030 (2015)
The Mobile Economy - Arab States 2015 (2015)
Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation Survey 2015 (2015)
OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015 (2015)
The Global Information Technology Report 2015: ICTs for Inclusive Growth (2015)
The Relationship between Local Content, Internet Development and Access Prices (2013)
Smart Policies to Close the Digital Divide: Best Practices from Around the World (2012)

GIP event reports

Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development: regional experiences to promote youth employment and address inequality (2018)
Better data for sustainable development (2018)
Combining Digital Governance and Stakeholder Knowledge to Promote Innovation and Transformative Actions in Support of the 2030 Agenda (2018)
Ireland’s innovative approach to monitoring the SDG indicators through geospatial visualisation (2018)
From up there to down here: Big space data and the SDGs (2018)
Knowledge frameworks to accelerate the 2030 Agenda (2018)
It’s in the Numbers – the Power of Partnerships to Measure SDG Progress (2018)
Shaping smarter and more sustainable cities: Striving for Sustainable Development Goals (2018)
Session 3: Policy and regulation perspective – Privacy and beyond (2018)
Blockchain for transition towards sustainable and resilient societies (2018)
StaTact, data and monitoring for resilient societies (2018)
Thematic review: Advancing Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (2018)
ICT enabling the transition towards sustainable and resilient societies (2018)
Roundtable Discussion: AI for Development (2018)
Leadership Debate: Emerging Technologies for Digital Transformation (2018)
Scaling solutions for Goal 12 for smartphones and ICT (2018)
Opening Session and Session 1: AI and Cybersecurity – The State of Play (2018)
Monitoring peace, evaluating institutions, building capacity: A data-driven conversation on SDG 16 and its upcoming 2019 review (2018)
Session 4 – Ways forward and closing (2018)
Session 2: AI and IoT – Exploit the potential for building confidence and security in the use of ICTs (2018)
Privacy is Everywhere: How to Deal with Emerging Problems? (2018)
Applying Technology to Reinforce Security and Promote Development (2018)
Create Your Digital Future: Transforming Lives and Businesses in Europe (2018)
Building on a Blockchain (2018)
Blockchain – A competition to Governments? (2018)
Implementations of AI to Advance the SDGs – Panel 4: Safe and Secure AI (2018)
Projects in Action: Towards AI and Data Commons – Part 2 (2018)
Projects in Action: Towards AI and Data Commons – Part 1 (2018)
Ideas for Impact: AI Breakthrough Team Project Pitches (2018)
Collaborating and Investing in Beneficial AI (2018)
Celebration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day AI-Powered Moonshots – Meet the Astronauts (2018)
Building Trust for Beneficial AI – Trustworthy Systems (2018)
AI for Outbreaks, Emergency Response, and Risk Reduction (2018)
Storytellers (2018)
Building Trust for Beneficial AI – Developer Communities (2018)
AI Fostering Smart Government (2018)
AI Empowering Smart Citizens (2018)
AI + Smart Cities and communities (2018)
Building digital competencies to benefit from existing and emerging technologies with a special focus on gender and youth dimensions (2018)
Transformations on the Horizon (2018)
AI for Good Global Summit – Opening Keynote (2018)
Disrupting Development through Science, Technology and Innovation (2018)
Internet Governance or the Question of Legitimacy (2018)
Big Data and Conflict Prevention: Balancing Opportunities with Challenges (2017)
Early Warning Systems and GIS: How Data and Mapping Technologies Can Support Peace (2017)
Can we put artificial intelligence at the service of mankind? (2017)
Launch of the Information Economy Report 2017 (2017)
High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (2017)
How I Am Affected by Internet Governance (2017)
EuroDIG 2017 Welcoming Address (2017)
GIS for a Sustainable World Conference (2017)
Key Outcomes and Way Forward (2017)
Can E-commerce Trade Rules Help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Developing Countries? (2017)
Supporting the Involvement of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in E-Commerce (2017)
Special Session on Assessing eTrade Readiness of the Least Developed Countries (2017)
Launch of eTrade for all Online Platform (2017)
Inclusive Development and E-Commerce: Case of China (2017)
E-commerce in Africa (2017)
Data Flows and Development (2017)
A Multistakeholder Perspective (2017)
Presentation of Good Practices in Cross-sectoral Knowledge Management (2017)
Integration – Fish Bowl Discussion (2017)
Measuring the Impact of Knowledge Management (2017)
Knowledge Management Award 2017 Ceremony (2017)
Introduction of Flagship Documents (2017)
Good Practices in Knowledge Management in the United Nations System (2017)
ICANN58: Moving Towards a Data-Driven ICANN (Cross-Community Session) (2017)
Report for Briefing for Heads of Missions: Digital Policy in South Eastern Europe (2017)
Report for Second Physical Meeting of the WSIS Forum 2017 Open Consultation Process (2017)
Report for World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 (2017)

Other resources

The Digital Economy & Society Index (2016)

Processes

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UNCTAD 2018

WSIS Forum 2018

12th IGF 2017

WTO Public Forum 2017

WSIS Forum 2017

IGF 2016