IGF 2021 UN OPEN FORUM: Connecting the digital dots – How the UN System is supporting the digital transformation and the way forward

Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 (14:00 UTC) - Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 (15:00 UTC)
Plenary Room

For more than two decades, the United Nations family of specialized agencies, Funds and Programmes, and Secretariat entities have been supporting Member States to harness digital technologies for sustainable development.  This support has been accelerating in recent years, with the rapid advancement of digital tools, platforms and applications.

At the normative level, the UN General Assembly and its Main Committees, as well as ECOSOC, have adopted resolutions on cybersecurity, ICTs for development, ICTs for human rights and protection of data and privacy, combating cybercrimes and terrorism, fighting mis- and dis-information, etc., supported by Secretariat Departments and entities, including Regional Commissions and UNCTAD.  Similar norm-setting work has been unfolding in governing bodies of UN specialized agencies, such as ITU and UNESCO, among others. Several UN entities have also been driving the critical deliberations on ethics in relation to application of digital innovations and applications

UN agencies have also stepped up its data gathering and analytical work, publishing a series of technical handbooks, datasets and indicators, surveys and reports, such as those on digital government, digital economy, access to information, digital connectivity, cybersecurity, etc.

Importantly, the UN system has also been devoting more resources to capacity building, helping countries to apply digital technologies to bridge digital divides and spur economic growth and development, including in agriculture, education, climate and environment, commerce, health, job creation, support for SMEs, SMART cities, and other sectors.  Several UN entities have also been leading by example, using digital tools to enhance the efficiency and impact of their work, including at the field level, in emergency and humanitarian assistance, child and maternal health, good governance.

At the IGF 2021 Open Forum, representatives of UN specialized agencies, Funds and Progammes and Secretariat Departments and entities, Regional Commissions, are coming together for the first time to present their ongoing work to IGF participants and stakeholders groups. This Open Forum will also serve as an opportunity for stakeholder groups and participants on-site and online to ask questions and make recommendations.