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Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for UNECE Region 2024: Peer learning roundtable on SDG 17

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The Roundtable on SDG 17 “Building effective partnerships for digital transformation"​ of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region took place on 14 March 2024 from 10:00 to 13:00 CET. It was held in the Palais des Nations room XIX, in Geneva, Switzerland. The roundtable was organized by the UN Digital Transformation Group for Europe and Central Asia, under the leadership of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the contribution of other UN agencies.

In the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, the persistent digital divide remains a significant challenge, hindering progress and impacting 2.6 billion lives globally.

In order to meet the central promise of the SDGs to leave no one behind, uniting the efforts of various stakeholders to put the progress on the SDG's back on track is critical. These partnerships are significant not only for the SDG17, but also for the Global Digital Compact, proposed under the Common Agenda and informed by the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The Global Digital Compact is expected to be agreed upon at the Summit of the Future in September 2024

In the letter released earlier this year, the co-facilitators of the UN Global Digital Compact make it clear: We need to collectively harness the benefits and manage the risks of digitalization for all.

Simultaneously, the World Summit on the Information Society called for the organization of regional WSIS follow-up activities. This time, they have particular relevance, as the WSIS marks a significant milestone of twenty years of progress-, As part of this ongoing review process, a WSIS+20 High Level Event will be held in May 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The focus of the session aligned with the imminent Summit of the Future, emphasizing international digital partnerships and reviewing the impact of the WSIS at the regional level. Delving into crucial policy areas, such as infrastructure development, digital skills, data governance, and more, the session aimed​ to foster a safe and inclusive digital environment.

A spotlight on developing countries from the region provided insights into ongoing digital transitions, achievements, and work on the ground, addressing regional nuances. It looked at factors hindering internet connectivity access and use across communities and locations. It discussed the importance of robust digital infrastructure as a prerequisite for the successful uptake of ICT solutions. The session underscored the core role of partnerships across sectors in digital transformation, discussing future trends, challenges, and opportunities to enhance goal delivery.​​​​​​

Guiding Questions

  1. ​What potential collaborative initiatives or partnerships currently exist or are envisioned for the future that can further accelerate the digital transformation in the region?

  2. What potential collaborative initiatives or partnerships currently exist or are envisioned for the future that can further accelerate the digital transformation in the region?

  3. What are the key policy action solutions to developing resilient ICT infrastructure?

  4. Delving into crucial policy areas such as infrastructure development, digital skills, and data governance, what are some best practices and innovative strategies that can foster a safe and inclusive digital environment, especially in developing countries and economies in transition?

  5. Exploring innovative elements, what unique approaches or strategies have been employed in your respective contexts to foster digital inclusion and ensure the responsible use of digital technologies?

Agenda

Thursday | 14 March

TIME ZONE CET (UTC+1​)​​​


10:00 – 10:05​​​
Welcome - moderator​

10:05 – 10:15Introductory remarks by the co-organizers
10:15 – 10:25UN processes related to digital: From the past to the future
 ​ Building block 1: Bridging the Digital Divide
10:25 – 10:45

Roundtable discussion

The roundtable discussion will bring stakeholders to discuss the policy actions and recommendations needed to connect the unconnected across the region.

10:45 – 10:55

In-depth case studies

The in-depth case studies will provide concrete examples of initiatives that may be scaled up in the region to achieve this objective.

10:55 – 11:00​

Q&A and wrap-up of building block 1

The floor will be open to questions from the audience.

Building block 2: Partnerships and Collaborations Resulting in Digital Resilience and Strengthened Confidence in the Use of ICT
11:00 – 11:30

Roundtable discussion

This roundtable will bring stakeholders to discuss the policy actions and partnerships needed to foster the resilient ICT infrastructure.

11:30 – 11:50

In-depth case studies

The in-depth case studies will provide concrete examples of initiatives that may be scaled up in the region.

11:50 – 11:55

Q&A and wrap-up of building block 2

The floor will be open to questions from the audience.

11:55 – 12:05Break
  Building block 3: Accelerating Inclusive Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development
12:05 – 12:35

Moderated session

Based on the insights gained throughout the roundtable, this concluding segment will bring regional and national actors to reflect jointly on the partnerships and mechanisms needed to foster human centric approaches and facilitate sustainable digital development.

12:35 – 12:50

In-depth case studies

The in-depth case studies will provide concrete examples of initiatives that may be scaled up in the region.

12:50 – 13:00Wrap up and concluding remarks