IGF 2020 OF #39 OECD – Policy responses from COVID19 and the digital economy

Time
Wednesday, 4th November, 2020 (17:10 UTC) - Wednesday, 4th November, 2020 (18:10 UTC)
Room
Room 2
About this Session
This Open Forum will report on the key messages from the OECD work on COVID-19 and the digital economy. It will also present some highlights from the upcoming OECD publication "Digital Economy Outlook 2020". Together with representatives of government, business, civil society and international organisations, it will foster a reflection on opportunities and challenges for the digital economy during and beyond COVID-19.
Theme

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min

Description

The OECD has been compiling data, analysis and recommendations on a range of topics to address the health, economic and societal crisis related to COVID-19 in order to facilitate co-ordination and contribute to the necessary global action. Beyond issues related directly to health, education and taxes, for example, the OECD has been providing specific guidance related to the effects on the digital economy, particularly in the areas of:

Ahead of immediate responses, the content that the OECD is producing in the area of digital economy also aims to provide analysis on the longer-term consequences and impacts, paving the way to recovery with co-ordinated policy responses across countries, with a specific focus on vulnerable sectors of society and the economy.

This Open Forum seeks to report on the key messages from the body of work produced in the OECD since April 2020 on the subject of COVID-19 and the digital economy and to foster a reflection on the lessons learned from this crisis, together with representatives of government, business, civil society and other international organisations.

The session will look into both opportunities and challenges for the digital economy during and beyond COVID-19, by addressing two main questions:

• In which way has COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for the digital transformation? • What are the digital economy divides, limitations and risks revealed by COVID-19?

Agenda

1. Setting the scene (5 minutes) - The moderator will explain the purpose of the Open Forum and introduce the panellists.

2. Opportunities and challenges for the digital economy during and beyond COVID-19 (35 minutes) - The moderator will invite panellists to answer the following questions: “In which way has COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for the digital transformation?” and “What are the digital economy divides, limitations and risks revealed by COVID-19?”

3. Questions and answers (15 minutes) - The moderator will open the floor for a section of questions and answers between the audience and panellists.

4. Wrap-up (5 minutes) – The moderator will summarise the main points and wrap up the discussions.

Organizers

OECD

Speakers
  • Ms Audrey Plonk, Head of Digital Economy Policy Division, OECD
  • Ms Carolina Botero, Representative of the Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC) to the OECD
  • Mr Bengt Molleryd, Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) and Chair of OECD’s working Party on Communication Infrastructure and Services Policy
  • Ms Carolyn Nguyen, Director of Technology Policy, Microsoft
  • Ms Golestan (Sally) Radwan, Minister Advisor for Artificial Intelligence, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology of Egypt
  • Mr Mark Uhrbach, Chief of Digital Economy Metrics at Statistics Canada and Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy
  • Mr Yves Verhoeven, Deputy Director of Strategy at the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI) and Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Security in the Digital Economy
Onsite Moderator

Mr Yoichi Ida, Chair of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP), Japanese Ministry of Internal affairs and Communication

Online Moderator

Lucia Russo, OECD

Rapporteur

Lucia Russo, OECD

SDGs

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
In which way has COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for the digital transformation?
What are the digital economy divides, limitations and risks revealed by COVID-19?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

There was unanimous agreement that the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst tor the digital transformation. All the participants also recognised that the crisis has starkly revealed existing and increasing digital divides that build on existing socio-economic and geographic divides.

The panellists stressed that while the crisis has accelerated the transformation (“two years of progress were achieved in two months”), the journey through the digital transformation is only at the beginning. The forthcoming OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2020 shows that despite the progress, there are divides still to be bridged in connectivity and effective use of the Internet, that digital security and privacy risks are increasing and that policy action is needed to shape an inclusive digital transformation.

Participants discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased online activities resulting from lockdowns and social distancing have put an unprecedented pressure on the networks. They also reported on the increased digital security risks, on the raised level of awareness of personal data protection among the population and on the use of Artifical Intelligence in healthcare. Participants reported on the government responses and on industry initiatives to meet the increasing connectivity demand, to raise awareness and preparedness for digital risks, and to adress the skills gaps.  Civil society also reported on the need to balance emergency measures with respect of human rights and democratic values, and to design the right system of checks when deploying technologies to monitor and contain the spread of the virus. 

3. Key Takeaways

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst, we are still at the beginning of our journey towards the digital transformation.

A holistic regulatory approach such as the Going Digital Integrated Policy framework is needed to accompany and shape the digital transformation.Policy makers need to identify, measure and adress the different digital divides linked to the use of digital technologies.

The COVID-19 crisis provides an urgent but real world context for many of the digital policy initiatives underway at the OECD, such as connectivity, digital security, privacy and data protection, artificial Intelligence and responsible data sharing.
 

 

6. Final Speakers

Moderator: Mr Yoichi Iida, Chair of the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP), Japanese Ministry of Internal affairs and Communication

 Speakers:

  • Ms Audrey Plonk, Head of Digital Economy Policy Division, OECD
  • Ms Carolina Botero, Representative of the Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC) to the OECD
  • Mr Bengt Molleryd, Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) and Chair of OECD’s working Party on Communication Infrastructure and Services Policy
  • Ms Carolyn Nguyen, Director of Technology Policy, Microsoft
  • Ms Golestan (Sally) Radwan, Minister Advisor for Artificial Intelligence, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology of Egypt
  • Mr Mark Uhrbach, Chief of Digital Economy Metrics at Statistics Canada and Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Measurement and Analysis of the Digital Economy
  • Mr Yves Verhoeven, Deputy Director of Strategy at the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI) and Chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Security in the Digital Economy
7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Gender issues were reflected in the discussion by the points made on the emerging digival divides that are affecting some specific groups and that are building on existing divides. There was a call to ensure that those divides are adequately measured and addressed by policy makers. 

9. Group Photo
IGF 2020 OF #39 OECD – Policy responses from COVID19 and the digital economy