Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to address the 2021 World Internet Conference - Wuzhen Summit.
This year’s theme “Towards a New Era of Digital Civilization - Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace” is both timely and forward-looking.
It provides a framework for examining the impact of digital transformation in promoting an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
In this context, I wish to highlight at the outset, the continuing digital divide as a most pressing challenge facing the international community. Even before the pandemic, close to half of the global population – an estimated 3.6 billion people, mainly in developing countries – remained offline.
The global digital divide is now a new face to global inequality.
Closing this gap must be a top priority. Harnessing resources from multi-stakeholder partnerships can help facilitate the needed investments in digital infrastructure and capacity building.
At the same time, efforts must be accompanied by strengthened policy frameworks and international cooperation. This is critical for enhanced data security and cybersecurity, which is another rising challenge in cyberspace.
More effective digital policies, including through coordinated regulatory frameworks, can also ensure that the design and application of digital technologies are matched with the necessary safeguards.
In this regard, we welcome the Global Initiative on Data Security launched by China last September. It calls for States to handle data security in a comprehensive, objective and evidence-based manner, and maintain an open, secure and stable supply chain of global ICT products and services.
Ensuring data security and cybersecurity will also be essential for the future of digital technologies, including the fifth generation technology. The development of 5G is conducive to the transformation of traditional industries, and to emerging fields such as the Industrial Internet, the Internet of Vehicles, and the Internet of Things – supporting a larger and deeper digital transformation.
The applications of 5G in areas such as education, health care, disaster risk reduction, and urban transport, also promise to improve:
- efficiency and inclusiveness of remote learning,
- emergency care, and
- early warning of natural disasters, while helping reduce emissions and fight climate change.
Given their potential to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, there should be greater international cooperation to support the development of 5G technologies
Your deliberations at the Wuzhen Summit will contribute to the work of the Internet Governance Forum – or the IGF in short.
The IGF is convened by the United Nations Secretary General, supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN DESA. The outcomes of the IGF inform and inspire decisionmakers across the world.
Its next meeting will be hosted by the Government of Poland, this December 2021. I invite all participants to join the discussions at the IGF, in person or remotely.
In conclusion I wish you all great success at the Wuzhen Summit.
I thank you.