Development - other

Updates

Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in partnership with the Internet Society (ISOC) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), conducted a global survey on internet security and trust of over 25,000 internet users worldwide. “The CIGI-Ipsos survey provides us with compelling evidence to help make decisions, shape policy and channel resources to reduce the digital divide in a way that is safe and still creates opportunities for development,” noted director of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics Shamika N. Sirimanne. The survey covers six key areas: a) internet security, online privacy and trust; b) social media, fake news and algorithms; c) product security: internet of things and other internet-enabled devices; d) cryptocurrencies, blockchain, dark web and product certification and e) cross-border data flows. Among the key findings of the survey is that 75% of those surveyed who do not trust the internet referred this to social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter among others. Also, 62% ascribed this to the lack of internet security. Additionally, the survey unveiled a digital divide between developed and developing economies vis-à-vis cryptocurrencies and other new internet frontiers. Individuals surveyed in developed countries were four times more inclined to buy cryptocurrencies with the next year compared to those in developing countries. According to UNCTAD, such survey can help developing countries design good internet governance and protection policies.

The UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation published a report on The Age of Digital Interdependence which addresses possible ways for technology to help achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It tackles the question of ‘digital cooperation’ and how it could contribute to sustainable development goals (SGDs) through cooperating on the social, economic, ethical, and legal levels to maximise the benefits of technologies and reduce its risks. The report invites different stakeholders to commit to a Declaration of Digital Independence which emphasises that ‘humanity is still in the foothills of the digital age.’ It further pinpoints some of the risks faced by mankind including dangerous adventurism among states, exploitative behaviour by companies, regulation that stifles innovation and trade, and an unforgivable failure to realise vast potential for advancing human development. To this aim, the declaration calls upon the stakeholders to collaborate to fulfill digital development. At the end, the report provides some recommendations on key areas including an inclusive digital economy and society, human and institutional capacity, human rights and human agency, global digital cooperation, and trust, security and stability.

The 2019 China-Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Summit investigated how China and Africa could uphold the global development agenda of digital financial inclusion (DFI) through building partnerships, sharing knowledge, and promoting investments. 'By providing financing to individuals, financial inclusion can make people actively involved in economic activities, enhance their sense of involvement and level of happiness,' noted president of Chinese Academy of Financial Inclusion (CAFI) Bei Duoguang. During the summit, top Chinese digital financial inclusion organisations showcased some DFI cases in China. The summit was also seen as a platform for Chinese policymakers to understand the financial inclusion landscape in Kenya and other African countries to identify some business and investment opportunities and to advocate financial services for social development. 'African countries have also explored a lot in this field, such as mobile payment and correspondent banking. It is of great realistic significance for experts and scholars from China and Africa to gather here in Africa, exchange perspectives and learn from each other on digital inclusive finance,' said President of National Internet Finance Association of China Li Dongrong.

The Artificial Intelligence for Good Global Summit was organised on 28-31 May 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland under the theme: accelerating progress towards the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Summit, which is the main UN platform for inclusive dialogue on AI, aims at putting innovators in contact with problem owners for sustainable development to a) identify practical applications of AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs, and b) ensure trusted, safe, and inclusive development of AI technologies and equitable access to their benefits. The Summit focused on five ‘breakthrough tracks’ which are AI and health, AI and education, AI and human dignity and equality, scaling AI, and AI for space. During the launch of the summit, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao emphasised that ‘Artificial intelligence, or AI, is at the forefront of fighting hunger, mitigating the climate crisis, and facilitating the transition to smart sustainable cities.’ It was also noted that for AI to address the major global challenges, it is important to maintain fairness, inclusiveness, and accountability.  

Transform Africa Summit 2019 was convened under the theme ‘boosting Africa's digital economy’ in Kigali, Rwanda, from 7-10 May 2019 to promote sustainable socio-economic development in Africa through improving access to broadband internet and use of information and communication technology (ICT). The Summit was attended by 4000 participants from the government, private sector, international organisations, entrepreneurs, civil society, and academia. This corresponds to the ongoing endeavors to foster the continent’s economic growth through technology aiming at supporting the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). “This conference has reinforced the role of ITU in key areas like deploying future networks in developing countries, and has extended our mandate to new areas like bridging the financial inclusion gap. These are key issues for Africa,’ noted International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

SpaceX just made global internet coverage a reality when it successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket on 23 May, 2019 which sent 60 internet-beaming satellites into space. According to a report, the 60 satellites which was tucked on the nose of the rocket is only the first batch of SpaceX’s Starlink mega-constellations, which the company is confident will provide the world with reliable and affordable high-speed broadband services. SpaceX, also announced in a tweet that it is targeting up to 9 launches this year to accelerate its deployment goals.

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.

(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.

(WHO)

E-health/digital health is one the WHO’s focus areas.

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E-health/digital health is one the WHO’s focus areas. Several General Assembly resolutions focused on issues such as: health data standardisation, the operation of the .health top level domain, e-health in national health systems, the online advertising and selling medical products, etc. An e-health unit works on promoting the use of ICT in health for development, while various departments produce studies and guidelines on e-health/digital health issues. The organisation also integrates ‘digital health interventions’ in its strategies for dealing with certain diseases. A Global Observatory for e-health aims at assisting member states with information and guidance on practices and standards in e-health.

GSMA
(GSMA)

World Bank
(World Bank)

World Wide Web Foundation
(Web Foundation)

NetHope
(NetHope)

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

Africa goes digital: Leaving no one behind (2018)
Blockchain Technology and Internet Governance (2017)

Publications

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

Reports

Rule of Law and Democracy in the Digital Society: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe (2018)
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

UNIDIR Cyber Stability Conference: Strengthening Global Engagement (2019)
Table-Ronde sur la Gouvernance Internationale du Numérique (2019)
Principles for AI: Towards a Humanistic Approach? (2019)
30th Anniversary of the World Wide Web (2019)
The deployment of automated mobility services (2019)
Cybersecurity impact and outlook for automotive systems (2019)
Connected and automated vehicles at the cross-roads to success (2019)
Scaling up human rights due diligence through the use of blockchain (2018)
Data & diplomats: capacity development for diplomats and policy-makers in the data age (2018)
Closing session: Implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data – the way forward (2018)
The Open Algorithms (OPAL) Project: What has been achieved in Senegal and Colombia and how can it scale? (2018)
Relevant to everyone’s sense of “me, here, now”: data literacy as the means towards a social inclusion revolution (2018)
Investment and the Digital Economy (2018)
Global Leaders Investment Summit I: Investment in a new era of globalization (2018)
Matchmaking for the data revolution: bringing data producers and users together (2018)
Increasing Trust in Data and Statistics (2018)
Developing Capacities for the 2030 Agenda: Moving towards Implementation (2018)
Opening session: Harnessing the power of data for sustainable development (2018)
Effective Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in a world of data: How to say no and better coordinate technical assistance (2018)
Big Data for Sustainable Development: what does it take to get to the next level? (2018)
Sustainable technology-enabled trade and a more inclusive trading system - Small state, ACP States, LDC and SSA perspective (2018)
Inclusive trade and new technologies: Challanges for African countries (2018)
Privacy and consumer protection in the age of artificial intelligence (2018)
Leveraging technology to support SMEs in LDCs: Opportunities and challenges (2018)
Digital Trade and Cyber Security: Catalysts for Development? (2018)
Digital trade - Global anarchy or revival of rule-based world order? (2018)
Competition issues in the context of technology and internet-based firms (2018)
Blockchain and the future of trade: fostering sustainability and inclusiveness through innovative distributed ledger technologies (2018)
Will technology help developing countries have easier access to trade finance (2018)
The great connector: Digital trade policy as a path to a comprehensive framework for multilateral regulations of trade and socio-economic development (2018)
How can WTO contribute to ensure that technology enables trade in goods and services in 2030 and beyond? Is the e-commerce multilateral initiative the right solution? (2018)
A workers' agenda for e-commerce (2018)
Technology for trade and agriculture: Unleashing agriculture global value chains' (GVCs) potential in OIC member countries (2018)
Opening Plenary Debate (2018)
E-commerce 2030: Enabling an inclusive future for e-commerce (2018)
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)