EU Statement – United Nations 2nd Committee: Information and communications technologies for sustainable development
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
At the outset let me thank the Group of G77+China for presenting this draft resolution. We also thank all Delegations for their active engagement in the negotiations, the co-facilitators from Mexico and Singapore for steering us to a consensual outcome, and the Secretariat for their support throughout the process.
We are pleased to join consensus today.
For two years now our discussions on this resolution have been constrained by the modalities of the Second Committee in place to ensure its business continuity under the extraordinary circumstances associated with COVID-19 pandemic. Over the same period, the world has also witnessed significant increase in reliance on information and communication technologies and acceleration of digital transformation. Second Committee itself is a prime example for that.
Digital technologies have provided important lifelines during the COVID-19 pandemic and served to ensure the continuity of work, education and service delivery. However, persisting digital divides mean that the opportunities offered by digital technologies cannot be enjoyed by all as this resolution has also recognized. Moving forward, digital transformation must be harnessed for inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery and for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is our conviction that digital transformation must be inclusive, human-rights based and deliver for people, planet and prosperity.
We appreciate that this resolution is one of the rare Second Committee resolutions that references the recent Secretary General’s report “Our Common Agenda” by taking note of its recommendations to improve digital cooperation. In our view, the hallmark of these recommendations is the proposal to develop a Global Digital Compact. We have already registered our strong interest in this proposal during our discussion in the General Assembly and emphasize that it shall strengthen existing processes dealing with digitalization and internet governance. We stand ready to engage with the Secretary General, all delegations and other stakeholders on its purpose and scope.
In that regard, we would also like to express our support to the Secretary General’s vision that the process on developing a Global Digital Compact should be a multi-stakeholder one. For the considerations on how to improve digital cooperation, bridge digital divides, protect human rights online and promote open, free, secure and unfragmented Internet to be meaningful and fruitful all stakeholders should be involved. We regret that this could not be accurately reflected in the relevant operative paragraph that takes note of the recommendations. We will continue to stand up and advocate for a multi-stakeholder approach as it already is the accepted model for considering issues on ICTs, Internet governance and digital transformation.