STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN, COUNSELOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE JOINT DEBATE OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEMS 15 (INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT) AND 20 (GLOBALIZATION AND INTERDEPENDENCE) (New York, 7 October 2022)
Agenda Item 15: Information and Communication Technology for Sustainable Development
I have the honour to deliver the statement on behalf of the G77 and China.
Information and Communication Technologies are driving profound changes in how economies work, and how societies function. It is driving innovation, spurring economic growth, and enhancing productivity.
The pandemic accelerated the pace of digital transformation, and demonstrated how Information & Communication Technology (ICT) has become an integral part of life, with there being an enhanced dependency on the internet for a host of functions such as business, commerce, production, health systems etc.
At the same time, the pandemic has laid bare the existing inequalities in the digital sphere and highlighted the risk of the digital divide becoming the new face of the development divide.
Some 2.9 billion people remain offline, 96 per cent of whom live in developing countries. Some 390 million people of these are not even covered by a mobile broadband signal .
Beyond the problem of access, lack of capacity to engage meaningfully with ICT and ICT related products, including frontier technologies remains a key issue for developing countries.
Factors behind the digital divide including lack of infrastructure, high cost of digital equipment, lack of digital skills and literacy must be tackled through significant investments in digital infrastructure, technology transfer, and capacity building.
In the absence of consistent dialogue and institutionalized mechanisms for knowledge sharing, the experience, expertise, and technologies, we will not be able to achieve these objectives.
Issues such as taxation of the digital economy, strengthening regulatory capacity, instituting a robust Intellectual Property Rights regime, cross border data movement, internet governance, protecting the rights of the digital economy workforce, and identifying policy incentives for higher Research & Development investments and joint efforts for R&D are only some of the areas where exchange of ideas, and experiences would be most useful.
Digital exclusion cuts across gender, demography, and geography is also a major hurdle in harnessing the advantages of the ICT.
There is therefore a need for us to find common ground in terms of how we can foster inclusion.
The Group looks forward to the discussions on these issues at the second committee and in the global digital compact.
Agenda item 20: Globalization and Interdependence
Today, we are confronted with what is undoubtedly, the greatest challenges of our times - the COVID-19 Pandemic, geopolitical tensions, climate change and the accompanying crisis of food fuel and finance.
The impacts of current crises are the most deleterious on the developing countries and the poorest peoples.
It must be understood that the international economy will not revive from this recession if vast majority of the world's population in developing countries is not part of the recovery.
The crises have illustrated, brutally, the essential unity of humanity. As today none of us will be safe from the virus unless all of us are safe.
The multiple crises are reminder of the need for strong multilateral cooperation to confront the complex and mutually reinforcing challenges collectively confronting the international community.
The best measure of our commitment to multilateralism is to recommit ourselves to the purposes and principles of the Charter.
The UN will be as weak or strong as the member states want it to be.
- We need a UN that fully upholds the principles and purposes of the Charter, based on sovereign equality of states, their territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes and the right of people to self-determination. Unless the UN becomes true to these ideals, the goal of peace and prosperity in "larger freedoms" will remain elusive.
- We need a robust and nimble UN which can quickly react to challenges;
- We need a more representative, transparent and accountable UN;
- We need a UN which gives effect to the interlinkage between peace and security and sustainable development.
- We need a UN which places ECOSOC as the centerpiece of the global economic architecture etc.
We need to first reaffirm our faith in the Charter's principle of sovereign equality, non-interference in internal matters, non-use of force, pacific settlement of disputes, and rules-based international order and its vision of "international cooperation" to promote "better lives, in larger freedoms".
Second, there is no peace without sustainable development and no sustainable development without peace. However, peace and security can only be achieved by addressing its underlying root causes.
Third, deep and growing global mistrust is a consequence of growing inequality within and among countries. The issue transcends beyond economic inequalities. It is an outcome of violations of the fundamentals of international law, binding UN resolutions and international agreements, and protracted and festering disputes.
It can only be addressed by ensuring strict adherence to Charter principles and to seek more "representative" and "equitable" global financial and political institutions.
I thank you.