STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO CUESTA, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CUBA TO THE UN, AT THE FIRST INFORMAL CONSULTATION WITH MEMBERS STATES ON THE GLOBAL DIGITAL COMPACT (New York, 30 January 2023)
H.E. Ms. Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden,
H.E. Mr. Claver Gatete, Permanent Representative of Rwanda,
Excellencies and colleagues,
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the G77 and China.
At the outset, I would like to thank the co-facilitators for sharing the proposed roadmap for the intergovernmental process on the Global Digital Compact, which helped to clarify the way forward, and for convening these consultations. The Group takes note with appreciation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General to improve global digital cooperation, and looks forward to actively engaging in this important process.
I now would like to tackle some procedural matters concerning the proposed roadmap and process, including seeking further clarifications on some of its aspects, and I will briefly convey the key priorities of the Group pertaining to global digital cooperation.
On procedural matters, the Group would like to seek further clarity on the modalities expected to be followed in the second and third informal consultations to be held with Member States and Stakeholders, in addition to the envisaged format, objective and outcomes of the thematic deep-dive sessions proposed in the roadmap. The topics of the thematic deep-dive sessions should be informed in a timely manner to allow delegations prepare for substantive discussions.
The Group would like, at this point, to emphasize the importance of taking into consideration the limited capacities of small delegations in the Group to effectively engage in a large number of whole-day sessions and consultations. Adequate time must also be provided between sessions to enable Member States to effectively coordinate positions.
The Group looks forward to further clarifications on scope, timeline and modalities of the meetings and consultations in this process, including the roadmap for negotiations among Member States.
The Group expresses appreciation for the inclusivity which has characterized this process throughout the last few months by engaging all stakeholders, including through their participation in the regional meetings, and receiving their written inputs through the relevant website. While we acknowledge the relevance of stakeholder inputs in this process, the Group strongly emphasizes that this should remain a Member State driven process throughout and should respect States' ownership over their own development pathways.
The Group also recognizes that this process will be interdisciplinary in nature, and therefore Member States delegations in New York will need to draw on the expertise and technical knowledge of a multitude of national institutions and entities.
Consequently, the Group requests that consultations throughout the process can be held in a hybrid format, to allow for the remote participation of relevant government entities in Member States, as well as experts from other UN system organizations like ITU and UNESCO.
We also underline the importance of ensuring synergies and avoiding duplication across various entities and processes related to global digital cooperation, and to build upon what has already been achieved. To this end, we would like to highlight other important existing platforms in this regard, including International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Internet Governance Forum, and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), and request further clarity on the envisaged interrelationships between the Global Digital Compact and these platforms.
The Group also underscores that engagement in this intergovernmental process on the Global Digital Compact should not be perceived as automatic acceptance of other processes proposed in "Our Common Agenda" Report, including those feeding into the Compact.
On substantive matters, the Group acknowledges that there is a massive number of issues pertaining to global digital cooperation. However, the Group underscores that the Compact should address development aspects effectively and focus on expanding the role of digital technologies as enablers of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
The Group also considers that important issues related to global digital cooperation include: closing the digital divide, avoiding internet fragmentation, increasing investment in digital infrastructures, expanding the role of digital technologies in the fight against extreme poverty, countering disinformation and misinformation, data protection, advancing technology transfer to developing countries, ending technological monopoly, refraining from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures, advancing capacity building and global connectivity, expanding digital entrepreneurship and strengthening relevant regulatory frameworks.
Finally, the G77 and China confirms its commitment to actively engaging in this very important intergovernmental process and looks forward to reaching a concise, action-oriented outcome agreed by consensus through intergovernmental negotiations.
I thank you.