An independent expert group appointed by the UN Secretary-General calls on governments, the private sector and civil society, to work together urgently to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of digital technologies.
Digital technology-related events during the High-level segment of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly
Week of 12-18 September 2021
15-16 September, 10:00-14:00 (AST) - Digital Transformation Conference for Environmental Sustainability (organizer: UNEP West Asia Region)
In this conference, a wide range of stakeholders will discuss clean technologies, digital tools and applications that can be adopted in the West Asia region with the goal of tackling the three planetary crises – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution - and making use of the best scientific and technological innovations to address pressing global and regional environmental challenges at speed, scale and impact. For more information and registration, click here.
Week of 19-25 September 2021
19 September, 09:00-12:30 (ET) - The Broadband Commission Annual Fall Session 2021 (organizer: International Telecommunication Union)
At the meeting, entitled “People-centered Approaches to Universal Broadband”, Commissioners will discuss the road ahead in digital cooperation, examining role of strong partnerships, new business models, frontier technologies and collaborative policy and financing approaches in making it worth the risk to unleash the power of connectivity for all and accelerate investments in the digital transformation process for the new normal. For more information, click here.
20 September, 08:30-11:30 (ET) - Road to Addis: Partner2Connect Meeting (organizer: International Telecommunication Union)
The event will present the key takeaways and the future of the Road to Addis series, including the launch of the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, as well as the kick-off of its preparatory work. During the event, the LDC’s Connectivity Report will also be launched. For more information, click here.
20 September, 09:00-10:30 (ET) - Reimagining Education in Africa (organizers: African Union Commission, UNICEF)
The meeting is expected to present key recommendations and a call to action for ‘Reimagining Education in Africa’ to be taken forward to the education ministerial meeting, the STC-ESTI, that is scheduled later in 2021. The event will be livestreamed here.
21 September, 12:30-13:30 (ET) - Change the Face - Accelerating Diversity and Inclusion in the Tech Sector (organizers: Vodafone Group and members of the #ChangeTheFace alliance)
Vodafone Group is hosting the official launch event of the #ChangeTheFace alliance; an industry-wide initiative calling on changemakers to join and take action to increase diversity and equality in the tech sector. This new industry leading alliance will collaborate on common initiatives, share knowledge, information and best practice, to help the wider industry to create a long lasting and meaningful change in Tech. Online and in-person at: SohoWorks, 875 Washington St, New York 10014, USA; RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
21 September, 13:00-14:00 (ET) - Let's future-proof 2030 success (organizers: Facebook)
Join the conversation to hear from leading experts on how we can set a new gold standard for measurement success to hold ourselves accountable as we march towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030 in a smarter way. For more information, click here.
22 September, 10:00-11:00 (ET) - UnMute Civil Society Dialogue (organizers: The Permanent mission of Denmark to the UN, The Permanent mission of Costa Rica to the UN, Global Focus and Action 4 Sustainable Development)
This interactive high-level event will gather high-level representatives from government and perspectives from human rights defenders and civil society to discuss how to take forward the recommendations to open space for meaningful civil society participation online and in person at the United Nations. To register for the event, click here.
22 September, 11:00-12:15 (ET) - New and Emerging Technologies: Private Sector Responsibilities to Promote Human Dignity Online (organizers: Access Now, ICNL, ISHR, OHCHR)
The event aims to clarify the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to new and emerging technology and the tech sector’s impacts on the rights to freedom of expression, movement, association, and assembly. Speakers will explore how initiatives like the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and upcoming summits on democracy and technology can affirm and bolster respect for the dignity of communities at risk of vulnerability and marginalization. Watch online here.
22 September, 13:00-14:00 (ET) - Overcoming barriers to digital inclusion for older persons (organizers: Devex, in partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons)
The meeting will explore how to advance digital equity and inclusion by looking at solutions to close existing gaps among different user groups, particularly older persons. The event will also look at the key role of multi-stakeholder platforms in advancing the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and their role in harnessing expertise and knowledge sharing from across sectors. For more information, click here.
22 September, 13:00-14:00 (ET) - Unlocking women’s potential for economic recovery (organizer: Facebook)
Join Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and other distinguished women's empowerment advocates to learn more and recognize the many women, organizations, and governments who work tirelessly to support women’s economic inclusion. This work supports SDG 8, a global call for decent work and economic growth, and SDG 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. For more information, click here.
23 September, 09:00-10:30 (ET) - From Open Software to Open Culture (organizer: Digital Public Goods Alliance, UN Office of Information and Communications Technology, Office of the Envoy on Technology)
The objective of this event is to explore the potential of open source technologies in the work of the United Nations, particularly to help exemplify and develop new ideas on how open source can be used as test bed for co-creating new solutions to global challenges. For more information, click here.
23 September, 10:00-11:00 (ET) - Securing our Digital Future (organizer: Foreign Policy, in partnership with Microsoft)
At the event, a report on the economic, social, and geopolitical implications of escalating cybersecurity threats and the urgent need for international collaboration to combat them will be unveiled. The special report, Securing Our Digital Future, explores the dangers posed by rising cyber threats from both state and non-state actors—and the cost of inaction. For more information, click here.
23 September, 10:00-11:00 (ET) - Shaping an inclusive digital age (organizer: Digital Cooperation Organization)
The event is intended to acquaint UN member states with members of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), DCO strategic initiatives, and with the progress and future goals of the Digital Cooperation Organization. For more information and to RSVP contact: email@example.com
24 September, 14:00-15:30 (ET) - A business perspective on Climate Action (organizer: Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), with the support of ITU)
New business models involving the fast deployment of new technologies and innovation are poised to benefit both society and the health of our planet. How will governments and business leaders partner to ensure regulation neither creates unnecessary burdens nor unintended consequences that could impair such progress? For more information, click here.
Week of 26 Sept. to 2 Oct. 2021 & beyond
27 September, 08:00-09:30 (ET) - Promoting Transparency to Counter Disinformation and Build Trust (organizers: Office of the Envoy on Technology, UN Department of Global Communications, UN Global Pulse, UNDP, UNESCO, WHO)
This follow-up side session to the 2020 UNGA aims to listen to Member States, civil society organizations, and companies to learn about the biggest challenges they face in countering disinformation while upholding freedom of expression, and identify solutions for improved cross-collaboration. It will highlight key learnings, shared considerations, best practices, and recommendations that emerged out of the inter-agency work (throughout the UN system) over the past 12 months (see discussion paper 1, and discussion paper 2). To register for participation, click here.
29 September, 08:00-09:30 (ET) - From Open Software to Open Society (organizer: Digital Public Goods Alliance, UNDP, and Office of the Envoy on Technology)
This session will explore the practical strategies Member States are using to leverage the potential of open source and digital public goods to accelerate inclusive digital and social transformation especially in the context of COVID-19 adaptation and recovery. The link to the livestream of the event will be posted shortly.
29 September, 08:30-09:30 (ET) - Setting priorities for an includisve digital transformation in Least developed countries (organizer: UNCDF)
This event will see the launch of the Inclusive Digital Economies Scorecard (IDES), developed by UNCDF in partnership with UNDP, UN-DESA, GSMA, UNCTAD and the EU, in support of digital transformation in Least developed countries (LDCs). To register for the event, click here.
30 September, 14:00-17:30 (CEST) - Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue: Enhancing International Cooperation Mechanisms For Cybercrime And Cyberterrorism Investigations (organizer: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research)
This Multi-stakeholder Dialogue aims to discuss limits, operational challenges, and rooms for improvements of existing formal and informal mechanisms of international cooperation in the field of cybercrime and cyberterrorism cooperation, especially looking at information exchange and collecting digital evidence. For more information, click here.
30 September, 08:00-09:30 (ET) - Investing in inclusive digitalisation: a government and investor roundtable (organizer: World Benchmarking Alliance)
This 90-minute roundtable will bring together governments and investors to discuss how they can leverage common interests in addressing digital development challenges, some of which are highlighted in WBA’s benchmark results to enhance digital cooperation, drive digital inclusion, and accelerate the achievement of SDGs for the Decade of Action. For more information, click here.
30 September, 09:00-10:30 (ET) - Innovating against food loss and waste (organizers: International Telecommunication Union, Food and Agriculture Organization, with support of Mission of Andorra and Mission of San Marino)
This year, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste will make a call for public and non-state actors to prioritize actions and redouble efforts to use innovation to reduce food loss and waste, restoring and building back better more efficient, inclusive, sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. For more information, click here.
30 September and 1 October - Global Multi-stakeholder Forum on addressing hate speech through education (organizers: UNESCO and the UN Office on the Prevention of Genocide)
The Forum is part of the implementation of the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate speech and will serve to provide inputs for the upcoming "Global Education Ministers Conference on addressing hate speech through education" due to take place on 26 October 2021. For more information, click here.
1 October, 10:00-11:30 (ET) - UN International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP): Digital Equity for All Ages (organizers: American Association of Retired Persons, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Office of the Envoy on Technology)
The International Day of Older Persons 2021 will provide a platform for multistakeholder dialogue and serve as a call to action. The #UNIDOP2021 will adopt a person centered, human rights approach to ensure digital equity including adequate policies, access, digital literacy and safety for individuals of all ages. For more information, click here.
5 October, 11:00-12:30 (ET) - Child Sexual Exploitation Online (organizers: Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the UN, UNICRI, and UNICEF)
The event will provide an opportunity to further understand the new face of the menace of online sexual exploitation of children and will explore avenues to fight it with the help of artificial intelligence. For participation, register here.
Key events, 2021
RightsCon was an important opportunity for the Office of the Envoy on Technology to engage with civil society stakeholders and partners. At a community labs session, the Office, together with the Governments of Canada and of Mexico, and UN Women gathered feedback on the definition of 'digital inclusion' and the related framework for metrics drafted by the Digital Inclusion Roundtable. The Office also convened a private virtual roundtable of the digital human rights recommendation group, for the co-champions and key constituents to provide updates and discuss next steps. The Office also spoke at sessions on effective civil society engagement in the implementation of the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the development of guidance for the UN system on human rights due diligence for the use of new technologies, and the importance of private sector commitment to using technology for good. At RightsCon, 9 United Nations Special Rapporteurs released a joint statement in which they underscored that digital rights are a 'top priority' for rebuilding civic space as part of COVID19 recovery.
2021 STI Forum side-event: Digital Cooperation to Leave No One Behind: Implementing the Secretary-General’s Roadmap, 4 May 2021
General Assembly's High-level Thematic Debate on Digital Cooperation and Connectivity, 27 April 2021
Launch of the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES), 24 March 2021
Key milestones, 2018-2020
High-Level Side-Event to the General Assembly 2020: Digital Cooperation: Action Today for Future Generations, 23 September 2020
Launch of the Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, 11 June 2020
Launch of the report and recommendations of the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, 10 June 2019
Establishment of the Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, 12 July 2018