"The Age of Interdependence" How Will We Share Our Common Digital Future?

SDG Advocate Jack Ma, Co-Chair of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, discusses the main findings of new report

Humanity is facing significant new challenges. The world has seen modern technology used to violate privacy and erode national security - but moments of change present opportunities to solve problems. The Co-Chairs of a new UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation “believe the opportunities for human progress in the digital age ultimately outweigh the challenges” - with one caveat: we must all join together in the spirit of cooperation and inclusiveness.

This is a seemingly tall order - so one year ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, asked a diverse group of experts led by SDG Advocate Jack Ma and Melinda Gates to help answer the pressing questions around digital cooperation. The group convened under the title of UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Co-Chaired by SDG Advocate Jack Ma and Melinda Gates

The United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Co-Chaired by SDG Advocate Jack Ma and Melinda Gates

“The pace of technology continues to accelerate, but its benefits are still far from reaching everyone.”

- UN Secretary-General Anónio Guterres

After 9 months of consultations with governments, private sectors, civil society, international organisations, academia, technical communities and other communities worldwide, the Panel released a report titled “The Age of Interpendence.” The report addresses new ways of working together to address social, ethical, legal, and economic impacts of digital technologies which maxmise benefits and minimize harm.

Many people have been left out of the benefits of digital technology. Internet access and the many public goods and services it provides can drastically improve quality of life, access to markets, access to education, and opportunities for employment. The Panel’s recent report notes that although access is necessary, it is an “insufficient step forward.” It propose that making digital technology truly inclusive requires policy frameworks that directly support economic and social inclusion, investment in infrastructure, special efforts to allow marginalised groups to lead technological development, and assistance to people whose livelihoods have been disrupted by new technology.

“Soon, every industry will be digitised, and this will have a tremendous impact on every aspect of life. Global, cross-sector collaboration is critical to ensure the benefits of the digital era are possible for all.”

- SDG Advocate Jack Ma

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“The Age of Interdependence” covers a wide range of issues from human rights to autonomous intelligent systems. The five sections of the report are as follows:

  1. Inclusive Digital Economy and Society

  2. Human and Institutional Capacity

  3. Human Rights and Human Agency

  4. Trust, Security and Stability

  5. Global Digital Cooperation

You can read the full report here to better understand the positions of this High-Level Panel and the recommendations it gives to all sections of the global community.

Co-Chairs of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, SDG Advocate Jack Ma and Melinda Gates, together with the UN Secretary-General discuss the main findings of the recent report “The Age of Interdependence”