The rapid technological advances of our age bring tremendous improvements to people's lives. But they also risk exacerbating the existing digital divide. The very aim of innovative disruption is to break away from the current way of doing things, in order to do them differently, do them better. However, as the technological frontier is pushed further away by innovators and early adopters, others may find themselves left behind.
The pledge of Agenda 2030 requires us to ensure that as many people as possible take part in the technological advances that affect every aspect of our lives. Quality technological education is key (SDG4), while measures aimed at bringing technology to wider segments of the society help reduce inequalities (SDG10). But is the traditional toolbox of social inclusion sufficient in this regard? What if the answer to bridging the digital divide created by technology lay with the introduction of a growing number of players to the eco-system thereby making the pool of technological actors bigger?
Therefore, the main question to be explored in this side event concerns the potential of human technological agency being an effective means for social impact and for human rights. When marginalized populations participate in the technological game as actors, this constitutes a change of a different order: Including more and more people as active technological players has the potential making the playing field not only larger, but also more equal.
Several countries have embarked in recent years on ambitious national digital strategies, aimed at reducing technological inequalities, promoting social inclusion and creating opportunities for large scale human development. A great deal is being done to close gaps on the national level, but isn't there room for further international cooperation to find complementarities and synergies?
And so, an additional question to be addressed by the panel would be what more can be done to enhance international digital cooperation for the benefit of people's human rights around the world, drawing from the conclusions of Secretary General's High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation?
The web chat on Business, the Economy, and Livelihoods in a COVID-19 World marked the last ‘Right On’ online event before the summer break. The series will resume in September, at the pace of one online event per month.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform has been contributing to this review by providing expert input, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the discussions towards the follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy
The 2020 Annual Conference will focus on the connectivity between regional and global human rights mechanisms and relevant links with national systems, as well as on the effectiveness of these interactions in a number of policy areas.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy