Summary of 29 February 2024 GDC consultations

March 2024

Explanatory note

This page offers a summary of the latest round of consultations with UN member states and observers held in the context of the Global Digital Compact (GDC) process. It is ONLY based on the statements delivered by countries and regional groups during the informal consultations held on 29 February. 

The summary identifies key points from the statements and follows the draft GDC structure made publicly available in February 2024 by the GDC co-facilitators. It does not claim to be a comprehensive and all-encompassing summary.


  • Clear reference to WSIS and its outcome documents (G77 and China, Iran, Nigeria, Switzerland).
  • Highlight that GDC is to strengthen digital cooperation to advance sustainability/SDGs (South Africa, Denmark, USA, Lesotho).
  • Recognition of DD (Bangladesh) and commitment to support developing countries (Iran).
  • Highlight both the need to harness the benefits of digital tech / digital transformation and the need to address risks. (Indonesia, UK)
  • Include overarching principles: development at the centre, human rights, etc. (Indonesia)
  • Commitment to international (human rights) law. (USA, Romania, UK, Netherland, Canada, New Zealand)
  • The role of MSH cooperation (USA).
  • Recognise the role of the UN, especially ITU. (Iran)


  • Include reference to the need to close the digital divide within and between countries, (G77 and China) and to the importance of sharing digital tech (Lesotho).
  • Include principles related to an open, unfragmented internet. (EU+)
  • Include principles related to promoting equality and non-discrimination, as well as diverse and inclusive participation in the digital cooperation Agenda, including of women, girls, persons with disabilities, youth, among others, to embed a multi-stakeholder, whole-of-society approach. (UK)
  • Include digital sovereignty. (Bangladesh)
  • Include principles related to multilingualism. (Bangladesh, Andorra)
  • Highlight gender equality. (EU+)
  • Include a reference to eliminating all forms of discrimination. (Colombia)
  • Include a reference to the need for digital tech and platforms to be tailored to the needs of vulnerable persons. (Colombia)
  • Include principles related to transparency and cooperation. (Mexico)
  • Distinguish between principles applicable to digital cooperation and subject matter goals. WSIS principles to apply, including those related to SH sharing responsibilities. Avoid litigating what was agreed during WSIS; reaffirm what was agreed then and focus on necessary updates. (Switzerland)
  • Stress the preservation of the MSH nature of IG. (Colombia)
  • Match principles with commitments. (EU+)

Human rights as cross-cutting

  • Ensure HR are cross-cutting and integrated throughout the GDC, both as principles and commitment. (EU+, Netherlands, Slovenia, Paraguay, Portugal, Ukraine, Canada, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic)
  • Consider the recommendations made by the Secretary General on the establishment of a digital human rights advisory service facilitated by OHCHR in connection with the compact. (Costa Rica and Dominican Republic)

Commitments and actions (general)

  • Include references to IG. (G77 and China, Bangladesh, Nigeria) 
  • Include specific proposals, programmes, and initiatives that would enhance international cooperation and lead to tangible outcomes. (ASEAN)
  • Set out both high-level policy objectives and specific and targeted actions. (UK)
  • Be ambitious and pragmatic on defining specific commitments and actions. (Indonesia)
  • Include a pillar of research and development. (Mexico)
  • Include a chapter on the needs and priorities of developing countries. (Iran)
  • GDC to also highlight opportunities. (Baltic States)
  • Incorporate strategies to close digital divides and avoid fragmentation, ensuring the Internet remains a global, open, accessible and inclusive digital neutral, free, inclusive, interoperable, reliable, secure, privacy-protective and environmentally sustainable public good for all. (EU+) 
  • Root digital cooperation in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs and promoting shared benefits from digital technologies for everyone. (China)
  • Consult with the relevant UN departments and agencies responsible for the different areas of work to identify gaps and build on existing commitments. (Switzerland)

[Commitments and actions] Closing the digital divides and accelerating progress across the SDGs

  • Promote digital public goods / digital commons for inclusive development (G77 and China, Small States Group, EU+, Baltic States, Mexico, Nigeria), alongside digital public infrastructure (G77 and China, EU+, Baltic States, South Africa, USA).
  • Commitments to ensure universal connectivity and close digital divides among top priorities. (Baltic States, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, Denmark, USA, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Andorra, NL, Ukraine, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Holy See, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand, )
  • Stronger emphasis on harnessing digital technologies and data to close development gaps. (ASEAN)
  • Address gender issues (gender inclusion, gender-based violence, etc.). (USA, Bangladesh, Mexico, NL, Finland, Canada, New Zealand, )
  • Empower persons with disabilities, as well as other vulnerable / marginalised communities. (Mexico, Andorra, Holy See, Canada, New Zealand, )
  • Commitments on / investments in improving digital skills and digital capacity development. (ASEAN, Baltic States, USA, El Salvador, Kenya, Nigeria, Andorra, Colombia, NL, Finland, Holy See, Canada, New Zealand)
  • Promote local languages and content across existing as well as new digital technologies, including artificial intelligence. (Portuguese-speaking countries, Mexico, Portugal)
  • Highlight environmental sustainability. (Brazil, Malaysia, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, NL)
  • Commitments to encourage investment to promote innovation and unlock the potential of the digital economy. (ASEAN, El Salvador, Nepal)
  • Include references and deliverables addressing the needs of LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS including re infrastructure (Lesotho, Paraguay, Portugal, Canada, New Zealand).These include inter-area access to submarine cables, as well as international internet bandwidth that reduces the cost of internet access and increases its quality. (Lesotho)
  • Enable the provision of capacity-building support for developing countries, such as technology transfer, digital infrastructure development, funding, and personnel training. (China, El Salvador, Russian Federation, Nicaragua, Nepal)
  • Ensure that calls for sharing or transfer of technology or know-how are voluntary and on mutually agreed terms. (USA)
  • Foster joint research and development in AI and other emerging technologies for social good. (Baltic States)
  • Balance the interests and the rights of people and rights and interests of the private sector and technology providers. (Thailand)

[Commitments and actions] Fostering an inclusive, open, safe, secure digital space

  • Include reference to inclusive digital literacy and participation. (G77 and China) 
  • Include meaningful digital inclusion for persons with disabilities. (Bangladesh, UAE)
  • Highlight the need to avoid all forms of discrimination (G77 and China) and include responsibility criteria in this regard.  (Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Commitment to a digital ecosystem that is accountable, safe, secure, resilient, and trustworthy for all people, especially those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. (USA)
  • Include provisions related to addressing disinformation though promoting / protecting information integrity online and a reliable, safe, and diverse information ecosystem that respects human rights and protects the safety of individuals (Baltic States, Slovenia, Republic of Korea, Holy See); addressing the development of new mechanisms to fight disinformation (Ukraine); highlighting responsibilities (in particular for platforms) to counter disinformation (Cote d’Ivoire) and other harmful content (Russian Federation).
  • Include a dedicated and stand-alone section on specific measures to protect children from various threats. (Holy See)
  • Include commitments that clearly and directly address responsibilities and the need for accountability from all stakeholders on content governance matters. (Colombia)
  • Include clear criteria and standards of accountability for digital corporations to prevent monopolies. (Russian Federation)
  • Prevent internet fragmentation. (Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Acknowledge the importance of MSH cooperation. (UAE)
  • Address digital security (of data, critical infrastructures, etc.). (Ukraine)
  • Do not address international information security. (Russian Federation)

[Commitments and actions] Advancing data governance

  • Broaden title: Advancing data protection while promoting cross-border data flows (Small States Group)
  • Pay attention to the need for data flows for sustainable development based on data protection and privacy with the active participation of multiple stakeholders. (Republic of Korea)
  • Need for international rules on inclusive data governance and data protection, reflecting the views and interests of all countries. (G77 and China) 
  • Need for a global framework / international rules that reflects the diverse interests and needs of all nations. (Nigeria, Nepal)
  • Identify areas of alignment on data governance that are specific and targeted instead of focusing broadly on promoting responsible and interoperable data governance. (USA)
  • Strengthen international cooperation on data for development to enable cross-border data flows, to maximize development gains, and to avoid monopolies.  (G77 and China) 
  • Encourage trusted cross-border data flows. (USA)
  • Emphasize the importance of promoting data and information exchange and cross-border digital data flow for interoperability. (ASEAN)
  • Strengthen data governance towards increased availability of data and cross-border data flows, interoperable and accessible data norms and standards, enhanced data security and privacy, and further knowledge-sharing initiatives. (Kenya)
  • Include a reference to the promotion and protection of digital public goods and protection from unfair practices. (G77 and China) 
  • Include a commitment on protecting public digital goods and open data sources from unfair and monopoly-like practices. (Colombia)
  • Include a commitment on data storage and the fair distribution of the benefits from the use of this data on the data market. (Colombia)
  • Introduce a mechanism for fair compensation for individuals contributing data and thus the creation of digital wealth. (Bangladesh)
  • Human-centric approach to data governance. (Romania)
  • Establish focal points between providers and the member states. (Iran)

[Commitments and actions] Governing emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, for humanity

  • AI and biotech to be front and centre of the GDC. The GDC to address the existing  gap: no multilateral framework to decide whether and how to develop advanced technologies and, crucially, how to distribute their benefits. (Costa Rica and Dominican Republic)
  • Highlight the importance of inclusive and equal participation by all countries in AI governance. (G77 and China; China)
  • Highlight a leading role for the UN in AI governance and international cooperation. (G77 and China, China, Kenya)
  • Advance in the establishment of a coordinated, inclusive and adaptable AI governance mechanism, with relevant and meaningful participation from developing countries in order to tackle the persistent divides and disparities and in which the United Nations can play a key role. (El Salvador)
  • AI governance to be built on and reflect the efforts by various actors in the international community. (Japan)
  • Disagreement with the perceived urgent need to establish certain supranational bodies to regulate AI. (Russian Federation)
  • Highlight AI’s potential to contribute to sustainable development. (Republic of Korea)
  • Highlight the importance of providing capacity building, technology transfer, and knowledge transfer to developing countries. (G77 and China; China) 
  • Examine how to promote innovation that will maximise the benefits of AI systems and open source AI, while addressing the potential risks in a holistic manner. (Small States Group)
  • Support efforts to govern artificial intelligence applications while promoting innovation in the development of AI and open-source AI. (UAE)
  • Address issues related to explainability (Mexico), transparency that ensures responsible AI use (Baltic States, Iran), and human oversight that safeguards human control and decision-making (Baltic States).
  • Highlight that digital technologies – throughout their entire life cycle – need to respect fundamental rights, be human-centric. (Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mexico)
  • Integrate ethical considerations in the development and deployment of AI and other emerging technologies. (Bangladesh)
  • Oppose the use of AI to spread disinformation, interfere in the internal affairs of others, and undermine their sovereignty. (China)

Follow-up & review

Connecting the dots

  • Recognition of the need to build on existing mechanisms/institutions/fora, avoid duplication or creation of new institutions  (e.g. through focusing on identified gaps), and/or strengthen coordination / cooperation among existing entities and processes (G77 and China, Small States Group, Indonesia, EU+, Baltic States, Malaysia, South Africa, USA, UK, Switzerland, Russia Federation, India, Finland, Paraguay, Portugal, Holy See), including by strengthening existing institutions and processes (USA, Paraguay) and having them contribute to the realisation of GDC objectives according to their mandates (USA) or giving them more clearly determines roles in GDC implementation (Baltic States).
    • Mentions of ITU (Indonesia, Baltic States, Malaysia, India, Paraguay)
    • Mentions of IGF (Indonesia, Baltic States, USA, Switzerland, India, Paraguay, EU+), including as venue for periodic consultations and GDC review (Switzerland).
    • Mentions of UNESCO (Baltic States, Portugal)
    • Mentions of WSIS, WSIS+20, WSIS Forum (G77 and China, Small States Group, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, USA, UK, Switzerland, Finland, Paraguay, Portugal) – in particular on linking SoF/GDC with WSIS+20.
      • Use the existing WSIS architecture for follow-up; existing structures for WSIS follow-up, especially the CSTD, and lead UN departments and agencies could be tasked with developing a GDC follow-up plan of action. (Switzerland) 
  • Direct mentions of the Digital Cooperation Forum: Support (Bangladesh) | No support (USA).
  • Reinforce / promote / strengthen the MSH, inclusive and collaborative governance model (EU+, Baltic States, El Salvador, Romania, USA, Netherlands, Slovenia, Canada, New Zealand) and recognise the role of the tech community and academia (USA, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Portugal).
  • Establish a fixed schedule for follow-up and review. (South Africa)
  • Have robust mechanisms for follow-up and review, ensuring accountability and the continuous evaluation of progress. (Kenya)
  • Have clear targets and commitments that can be monitored through the existing structure in the UN system. (Finland)