Time for a new digital and data governance path, eCommerce Week highlights

Better global governance of digital tools and platforms – and the data they produce – is urgently needed to avoid further fragmentation of the internet and widening inequalities.

© Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock Surging cross-border data flows require a balanced global governance approach that maximizes development gains, spreads the benefits equitably and minimizes the risks and harms.

“Governance is what will determine the outcome of digital transformation,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan on 25 April at a high-level session of the organization’s eCommerce Week 2022 .

The event that runs from 25 to 29 April has brought together UN experts, government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives and academics to find innovative solutions to ensure digitalization leads to more inclusive and sustainable development.

Ms. Grynspan said governance should help ensure data can be harnessed to deal with climate change, pandemics, productivity and urban planning, while protecting the privacy of users and national security and ensuring the benefits from data are shared more equitably.

Global internet protocol traffic – a proxy for data flows – has more than tripled since 2017, according to UNCTAD’s Digital Economy Report 2021 . But just two countries – China and the US – are reaping most of the benefits, accounting for 50% of the world’s hyperscale data centres.

Meanwhile, nearly 3 billion people remain offline, 96% of whom live in developing countries.

The UN can help accelerate progress in this area, Ms. Grynspan said, by coordinating its various data-related activities and building links to other processes and initiatives led by civil society, academia and the private sector.“It is more important than ever that we bring great minds from all stakeholders together,” she said. New risks and challenges President of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid said the fragmented hallmarks of digitalization have generated new risks and challenges, particularly around inequality.“Nowhere was […]

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