HIGH LEVEL EXCHANGE PANEL: Global economic recovery – where are we at? "Monday 6 December 11.00 - 12.00 CET"


The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to take concerted action to revive the stifled global economy and unlock growth factors in both developed and developing countries. Global economic growth was uneven even before the pandemic, as was progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Countries now have a chance to leverage the economic recovery as an opportunity towards sustainable and inclusive development.  

The digital economy can play a fundamental role as an enabler of opportunities for human development and economic improvement. The importance of investing in Information and communication technologies (ICTs), and making them available to all segments of populations, is one of the lessons of the recovery. ICTs offer opportunities to both developed and developing countries, as accelerators toward high value-added information economies that can offer equitable and sustainable growth for all.

At the same time, the ongoing global digital divide risks becoming the new face of global inequality. This is a pressing challenge and closing the gap must be a top priority. Harnessing resources from multi-stakeholder partnerships can help facilitate needed investments in digital infrastructure and capacity building. Ensuring data privacy, security and rights will also be essential for the future of digital technologies, especially for meeting the needs of developing countries.

This panel will discuss how a synergetic approach to data, platform-driven services and disruptive technologies can pave the way to economic recovery and sustainable development – the factors that the post-pandemic world needs just like lungs need air. Specifically, it will reflect on reshuffling the existing order to move forward with accelerated digitalisation and have it implemented across the board, leaving no country and no one behind. Whether we will come out stronger from this unprecedented crisis depends on how effectively and comprehensively the global community will address digital challenges for more equitable and sustainable human development.

Moderator: Mr. Jonathan Charles

Jonathan Charles is the Managing Director of the Communications & Business Information Services department at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and is a member of the Bank’s Executive Committee.
Jonathan came to the Bank in 2011 after a long and distinguished career at the BBC, winning several awards for his journalism. As a BBC presenter and foreign correspondent, he has appeared on BBC1 and BBC World News television, as well as the BBC’s main radio channels.

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific took office on 1 November 2018. Ms. Alisjahbana was Professor of Economics at Universitas Padjadjaran and was Minister of National Development Planning and the Head of the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), Indonesia from 2009 to 2014. In 2016, Ms. Alisjahbana was a member of the High-Level Independent Team of Advisors to support the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the United Nations for the 2030 Agenda. Ms.

Ms. Teki Akuetteh Falconer

Teki Akuetteh Falconer is an ICT/Telecom Lawyer, a Privacy/Data Protection Consultant and Senior Partner at a law firm based in Accra, Ghana. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Africa Digital Rights Hub LBG, a member of the UN Global Pulse Privacy Advisory Group, and a non-resident fellow of the Center for Global Development. 

Mr. Liu Zhenmin

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Mr. Liu Zhenmin of China as the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs effective 26 July 2017. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Liu was Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of China since 2013.  Among his various diplomatic assignments, he served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland (2011-2013).

Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo

Simonetta Di Pippo is Director of UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), a position which sees her lead the Office’s strategic, policy and programmatic activities and advising the UN Secretary-General on space affairs. Prior to joining UNOOSA, she served as Director of Human Spaceflight at the European Space Agency, and previously also as Director of the Observation of the Universe at the Italian National Space Agency, ASI. She is an Academician of IAA and a member of WEF Global Future Council on Space Technologies since 2016 and its co-chair since 2020.

Mr. Iyad Mohammad Alkhatib

Mr. Iyad Al Khatib is currently holding the position of the minister of communication and technology in Syrian Arab Republic (since 2018). Before his position as the minister of communication and technology, He held several management positions, like the chief executive officer of Syrian Telecom, and the director of the technical administration. Mr. Al Khatib has B.Sc. in Electronics and Communication Engineering, from Damascus University and MBA.  In E-Business Administration, from the Arab Academy for E-Business and Technology.