Revised version of Global Digital Compact draft made available

Changes were made to the language of the zero draft, and new commitments were added.

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As the process towards a Global Digital Compact (GDC) advances at the UN level, the co-facilitators – the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Zambia – released a revised version of the GDC draft (rev.1) on 15 May 2024. 

Some of the key changes introduced in the draft include:

  • Overall objectives: Some changes were made to the language associated with the overall objectives and commitments. For instance, objective 5 changed from ‘govern emerging technologies, including AI, for humanity’ to ‘enhance international governance of emerging technologies, including AI, for the benefit of humanity. (see Figure 1 below). 
  • Closing all digital divides and accelerating progress across SDGs. 
    • Recognition that innovative solutions can help deliver high-speed connectivity to remote and rural areas. 
    • Reference that the targets on connectivity will be based on ITU work. 
    • Clarification and expansion of environmental-related provisions (e.g. from ICT equipment to digital tech/equipment). 
    • Commitment to mitigate potential negative consequences from digitalisation/automation for workforces and promote decent work.
    • Reflection of the need for capacity building programmes to respond to tech change. 
    • Commitment to increase investment in both DPG and DPI. 
  • Expanding inclusion in and benefits from the digital economy for all
    • Consistent language on tech transfers ‘on mutually agreed terms’. 
    • New commitment to fostering open, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory digital environment. 
  • Fostering an inclusive, open, safe and secure digital space that respects, promotes and protects HR
    • Reference to HR due dilligence in commitment about safeguards to address adverse HR impacts.
    • New recognition of the need to address the governance of the Internet in a global manner, with the participation of all states and other stakeholders.
    • Changes in language about the IGF and a new commitment about internet fragmentation.
    • New call on tech companies and developers to increase transparency in systems/processes. 
    • New commitment to facilitating access to accurate info to counter mis-/disinformation. 
  • Advancing responsible and equitable international data governance
    • A new commitment to establish definitions and data classifications to promote interoperability and facilitate data exchanges.
    • A new intergovernmental process towards a framework for international data governance.
    • Deletion of commitment to implement DFFT.
  • Enhance international governance of emerging tech, including AI, for the benefit of humanity
    • Scientific Panel to also look at emerging technologies.
    • Global AI dialogue becomes International Contact Group on AI Governance (convened annually).
  • Follow-up and review
    • Clarification that the new office within the UN Secretariat to facilitate coordination on digital issues is to build on the existing Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.
    • A proposal for member states to report on GDC implementation as part of their voluntary national reporting on SDG achievements. 
    • An invitation for the  IGF to establish an annual policy discussion track to facilitate the contribution of all stakeholders to the delivery of the Compact’s commitments and actions
    • A request for UN agencies to leverage the WSIS Forum as they support GDC implementation. 
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Fig.1 GDC rev.1 – changed language regarding objectives.