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 Advisory Board of the Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) – composed of leading human rights experts and practitioners from different regions and backgrounds – provides guidance to the GHRP Executive Director regarding the Platform's strategy, priorities and activities.
The written submission includes all the proposals developed by the Geneva Human Rights Platform since the beginning of the process. They are the outcome of a multi-year process of academic research and consultations, along with multi-stakeholder consultations.
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.