STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEMS 15 AND 19: INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND GLOBALIZATION AND INTERDEPENDENCE (New York, 6 October 2023)
Agenda item 15: Information and communications technologies for sustainable development
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the G77 and China.
Information and Communication Technologies have become a driving force expanding learning opportunities and development of skills; improving healthcare access, increasing financial inclusion; enhancing agricultural productivity; facilitating disaster monitoring and coordination during emergencies, among other advantages.
However, the use of ICTs has been limited for developing countries due to the lack of the required infrastructure, computer capacity, human resources and expertise. In this context, emerging technologies and the rapid digitalization process have put additional pressure on these nations who need these tools to attain higher levels of development but do not have equal access to them.
The digital divide persists, with 2.7 billion people still offline worldwide, impacting the ability of countries to effectively use digital technologies as an implementation tool for the SDGs. In this regard, the first step must be to bridge this divide and turn it into a digital opportunity for all. This will require enhanced international cooperation, technology transfer and capacity building in order to strengthen the ability of developing countries to optimally utilize digital technology for sustainable development.
For the Group, the important issues pertaining to digital cooperation encompass an inclusive digital economy and literacy; internet content fitting local specificities and needs, including local languages; access to digital networks and connectivity; capacity building and technology transfer on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms; investment in digital infrastructures; data protection; data governance; artificial intelligence; avoiding Internet division and fragmentation; countering the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation, and to outline shared principles for a digital future for all to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We should leverage the role of the United Nations as the main channel in global Internet governance to take urgent action aimed at reducing digital divides and inequalities in data generation, infrastructure and accessibility within and among countries and regions, as well as between developed and developing countries, with special attention to the poorest and most vulnerable among them and to ensure equal participation of all countries, while respecting their rights in choosing their own model of network development and governance. In this regard, a universal, ubiquitous, equitable, non-discriminatory and affordable access to, and use of, ICTs, considering different national circumstances, must be ensured not only in their use but also in their management and governance. In the same vein, the United Nations needs to play a key role in advancing a more balanced global data governance.
In the G77 and China Summit on Science, Technology and Innovation held in Havana, the Group has reaffirmed the vision of building an inclusive, people-centered and development-oriented information society and has urged the creation of the necessary conditions to provide developing countries with affordable and reliable connectivity, aimed, inter alia, at promoting digital access and inclusion. Concrete actions are needed if we aimed to achieve this goal.
The Group has sent its contributions for the Global Digital Compact (GDC) and looks forward to constructive, meaningful and real negotiations. The GDC must focus on the pressing need to address the major structural impediments that developing countries face in engaging with and accessing new and emerging technologies.
Agenda item 19: Globalization and Interdependence
Globalization has reached unprecedented pace and scope. It has spawned new opportunities and realities as well as persistent and new challenges for the acceleration of economic growth, development, and poverty eradication. Much remains to be done to ensure an equitable global trading system so that all countries and all people can benefit from the full potential of globalization.
We have to reinvigorate our focus on reducing inequalities through trade and development, reinforce international cooperation and respecting each country's policy space.
We must reaffirm our commitment to creating an enabling international environment for development and to facilitating the necessary means of implementation, particularly in the areas of finance, technology and capacity-building for developing countries, and in this regard call for a sincere follow-up on the global commitments of all actors, particularly developed countries.
The Group reaffirms that a reinvigorated multilateral system, with the United Nations at its center, is the cornerstone of a renewed approach toward a more inclusive and sustainable globalization. This is necessary, we believe, in order to address cross-border and other global and new emerging challenges.
We stress the important role of science, technology and innovation as pillars, enablers and catalysts to support sustainable growth, accelerating the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. In this context, we call upon the international community, the United Nations System and the International Financial Institutions to support the efforts of the countries of the Global South to develop and strengthen their national science, technology and innovation systems.
We acknowledge the contribution of science to the creation of innovative technologies and solutions to move towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. In that context, we call for the provision of the necessary means of implementation to developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacities. We reaffirm the need for political decision-making at all levels to create an enabling international environment for science, technology and innovation development and to take into account, in the first instance, available scientific knowledge and innovation, as well as the use and promotion of traditional, local, afro-descendant and indigenous knowledge and capacities.
The successful G77 Summit on Science, Technology and Innovation held in Havana on September 15 and 16 launched an urgent call for science, technology and innovation to be built around the unwavering goal of sustainable development. There, we decided to resume the work of the Consortium of Science, Technology and Innovation for the South, in order to promote joint research projects and foster productive linkages.
We also agreed to promote the convening, by 2025, of a High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Science, Technology and Innovation for Development.
Furthermore, the Group recognizes culture as an enabler and a driver of sustainable development. We stress the importance of respect and understanding for cultural diversity and fostering intercultural understanding and dialogue. Culture represents a source of identity, innovation and creativity, and makes important contributions to the three dimensions of sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs. We recognize the efforts and initiatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the mandated United Nations agency in this field.
The Group reiterates the urgent need to identify ways and means to ensure that the diverse and specific development needs of middle-income countries are appropriately considered and addressed, in order to leave no one behind. In this context, the UN development system must improve its support to different countries, given their diverse contexts, including how to provide better coordinated, more efficient and focused support to middle-income countries.
The reform of the international governance system, particularly in the economic and financial areas, with more voice and participation of developing countries in decision making is fundamental if we want the globalization process to be less exclusive and better prepared to manage and solve the new emerging challenges.
In closing, the Group of 77 and China urge the international community to collectively address these challenges through continued and constructive dialogue.