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Towards a UN Global Digital Compact: ECA to gather insights for an open, inclusive, and secure digital future

Cape Town, 3 July 2023 – As part of the efforts to ensure inclusive global digital development, a regional review meeting on Africa’s Contributions towards the Global Digital Compact will take place from 4 – 5 July 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. Organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Digital Centre of Excellence, the meeting aims to provide a platform to propose and review Africa’s contributions to the Global Digital Compact by bring together representatives from government institutions, policymakers, private sector entities, and civil society organizations.

The United Nations recognizes the immense potential of digital technologies in transforming societies worldwide while acknowledging the need for international cooperation to effectively harness their benefits and mitigate their risks. In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, a Declaration has been adopted, emphasizing the significance of digital cooperation and the urgent requirement to forge a shared vision for a secure and advantageous digital future. The UN Secretary-General’s proposal to establish the Global Digital Compact outlines the principles of fostering an open, free, and secure digital environment. To lead the intergovernmental process on this Compact, Rwanda and Sweden have been appointed as Co-facilitators. As part of the consultative process, the UN seeks input from individuals, organizations, and entities worldwide, aiming to gather diverse perspectives and shape a comprehensive agreement.

This review meeting presents an opportunity for Africa to actively participate in shaping a more inclusive and equitable digital future. By collaborating with diverse stakeholders and incorporating African perspectives, the continent is expected to contribute significantly to the development of the UN Global Digital Compact.

The Global Digital Compact aims to address critical issues, including connecting the unconnected, preventing Internet fragmentation, safeguarding privacy rights, ensuring human rights online, countering discrimination and misleading content, and regulating artificial intelligence. Its overarching goal is to co-create an open, free, and secure digital future for all, guided by shared principles and regulations that promote trust, inclusivity, and sustainability.

The Africa Regional Review Meeting intends to gear Africa’s contribution towards the following priorities:

  • Ensuring universal access to the internet
  • Protecting people’s privacy and cybersecurity
  • Safeguarding human rights online and eliminating cyber-based violence
  • Fostering digital skills, including basic, intermediate, and advanced digital skills
  • Promoting digital inclusion and addressing the digital divide, particularly the gender and rural-urban divide
  • Encouraging the responsible use of emerging technologies for social and economic development, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT)

 

Getting involved

Stakeholders are invited to actively engage in the consultative process and provide input to shape the Global Digital Compact. By doing so, they can contribute to influencing the actions of the international community in addressing digital challenges and opportunities. The input received will play a vital role in crafting a comprehensive agreement that reflects the needs and aspirations of individuals, organizations, and entities worldwide.

For further information and to participate in the consultative process, please visit https://uneca.org/events/africa-regional-review-meeting-on-africa%E2%80%99s-contributions-towards-global-digital-compact

Virtual participants are able to join via Zoom using the link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkduiorzwtHdeGzi12m_jcHClMqJ9tVGe-#/registration

For press and media related inquiries, please contact the focal persons below:

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About the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA’s) mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its Member States, foster intraregional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development. ECA is made up of 54 Member States and plays a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape.

For more information, visit:  www.uneca.org

 

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Tel: +251 11 551 5826
E-mail: eca-info@un.org

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