STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE STATE OF PALESTINE DURING THE CONSIDERATION OF AGENDA ITEM 16: INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 18 October 2019)
Thank You, Mr. Chair,
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. The Group would like to thank the representatives of the Secretariat for their presentations.
3. At the outset, I assure the Group's steadfast resolve to the use of Information and Communication Technology to achieve the people centered Agenda for Sustainable Development.
4. The Group understands that digital technologies are rapidly transforming our societies and at the same time giving rise to profound new challenges.
5. We believe that the opportunities provided by digital technologies are paralleled by stark abuses and unintended consequences.
6. We are also witnessing increasing digital divides and accelerated technological changes with which mechanisms for cooperation and governance are finding it difficult to keep pace with.
7. The Group therefore sees it of utmost important that the countries cooperate with each other to achieve the full social and economic potential of digital technology, while avoiding unintended consequences, and work to close the digital divide, where more than half the world has limited or no access to the Internet, as inclusivity is essential to building a digital economy that delivers for all.
8. Such digital cooperation need to be based on inclusivity, equity, international law, multilateralism, complemented by a multi-stakeholder approach and putting people at the center with an aim of leaving no one behind.
9. In this regard, the Group also underlines the work done by Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation and regrets that consensus could not be reached on critical issues within the Working Group.
10. The Group believes that to enhance digital technologies, there is a need for the advancement of science and technology policies, particularly in respect of developing countries, and for the United Nations System to prioritize for developing countries on science and technology matters for development.
11. In this regard, the Group emphasizes on the role and mandate of UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) as the pivotal UN inter-governmental process with mandate and expertise to articulate the critical role of STI as enablers of the SDGs.
12. The Group also attaches due significance to the advices that CSTD provides to the GA, the ECOSOC, the HLPF and other relevant forums.
13. It is also the Group's understanding that the Commission is the United Nations focal point in the system-wide follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.
14. The Group recognizes the significance of two emerging and related forces that drive value creation in the digital economy: platformization and the monetization of the rapidly expanding volume of digital data.
15. We understand that in the past decade, many digital platforms using data-driven business models have emerged. They are uniquely positioned to record and extract data related to online actions, interactions and transactions among platform users, and we believe that platform-based business models shall be used for development purposes and solving societal problems, especially those related to the SDGs, bearing in mind the importance of promoting financial inclusion, generate economic and social impact in terms of achieving poverty eradication, bridging digital divides and inequalities.
16. The Group underlines that most developing countries have limited capacity to collect, analyze and monetize digital data, there is a risk that they will end up lagging in the global data value chain as suppliers of raw data, then having to pay for the refined digital intelligence developed with those data.
17. The rising spread of digital technologies has the potential to support economic, social and financial inclusion, but at the same time can also exacerbate inequalities.
18. The Group therefore emphasizes on the critical role governments have in shaping the digital economy in dialogue with other stakeholders and factoring in existing digital divides, variation in the readiness of countries to engage in the digital economy and the increasing consolidation of market power of digital platforms.
19. A cautioned embrace of new technologies, enhanced partnerships and greater intellectual leadership is needed to redefine digital development strategies and the future contours of globalization with a view to making the digital economy more inclusive.
20. Policy responses need to explore new pathways for structural transformation and local value creation and capture through digitalization.
21. Governments and other stakeholders will, therefore, need sufficient policy space to ensure that the digital economy is inclusive and benefits all.
22. At the same time, several key policy challenges associated with value creation and capture in the digital economy can only be effectively addressed at the regional or international level, with the full involvement of developing countries.
23. This applies not least to those related to competition, taxation, cross-border data flows, intellectual property, trade and employment. Finding consensus solutions in these areas will require sufficient flexibilities to satisfy all countries.
24. The development community needs to support more comprehensively those countries that are trailing in the digital economy. Assistance should aim at reducing the digital divides, strengthening the enabling environment for value creation and capture, and building capacities in both the private and public sectors.
I Thank You.