ITU and the office of the UN Under Secretary-General Fabrizio Hochschild co-organized a series of webinars on digital cooperation in response to COVID-19.
Under the theme "Digital Cooperation during COVID19 and beyond", the webinar series focused on how to secure safe, stable, affordable and inclusive connectivity in this time of crisis and helped identify possible solutions and common approaches and strategies from different nations and stakeholders.
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, digital technologies and connectivity have become a critical enabler facilitating business continuity and connecting people more than ever before. The sudden increase in internet usage and upsurge in data consumption are putting heavy pressure on existing broadband networks decreasing the quality and speed of the Internet. We are also confronted with increased opportunity for digital technology's potential for misuse - from cyberattacks and crimes to misinformation, as well as burgeoning issues related to data privacy and security. Most importantly, as 46% of the global population/almost 3.6. billion people are still without internet, the lack of connectivity and issues of accessibility will become even more pressing: translating directly into missed socio-economic opportunities and missed learning opportunities, and so widening the digital divide and inequality gap in our society.
This Webinar series started with a discussion on assessing current connectivity gaps and challenges in different regions, followed by best practices and success connectivity stories; capacity building (to implement misinformation management); online safety and security, with a final discussion session on how to balance public health, privacy and human rights. Each session was prepared and organized jointly by strategic partners, including leading UN agencies on action to address the subject matter.
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