Deep Dive Consultation on Accelerating Progress on the SDGs for the Global Digital Compact

June 2023

Amay Korjan

Research Consultant Amay Korjan represented IT for Change at the Global Digital Compact’s ‘Deep Dive Consultation on Accelerating Progress on the SDGs’ on 14 June 2023.

This session focused on answering the following questions:

  1. Given existing experience, especially from the Global South, where and how is digital technology helping to deliver on the SDGs (e.g. health, water, jobs, environment)?
  2. How can experiences be shared effectively? Are there any principles and approaches that could be generalized?
  3. How can Member States, the private sector, civil society, the technical community, and individuals work together to design and apply digital technologies to accelerate progress on the SDGs?
  4. What role could capacity development of public officials and other development stakeholders play in this regard?
  5. Which future challenges, for example with regards to environmental sustainability, could digital technologies create or help solve in relation to the SDGs? What measures could support stakeholders in tackling these issues?

The IT for Change input took as its point of departure the recent release of the Secretary-General’s policy brief on the Global Digital Compact. In the context of the SDGs, the input applauded the Secretary General’s critical analysis of prevailing issues but took issue with the set of prescriptions that were ultimately put forward. In particular, the input critiqued the overreliance on multi-stakeholder partnerships and related models as the main source for financing large-scale infrastructural and SDG-related projects, pointing out the adverse effects of such an approach on emerging market digital ecosystems. As an alternative, the input recommended the increase and allocation of Official Development Assistance for these purposes.

Similarly, the input also critiqued the lack of discussion on instituting adequate guardrails for proposed initiatives to build Digital Public Goods and various forms of ‘data commons’. In the absence of such mitigating regulations, the input suggested that such institutions would consolidate elite and corporate capture of data value.

To learn more about the intervention, read it in full.

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