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?
At the online meeting of the Chairpersons of UN human rights treaty bodies, the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform reiterated the importance of conducting dialogues with state parties concerning their reports at the national or regional level.
This monthly newsletter will keep our audience informed about the activities of the platform, upcoming events and key human rights discussions in Geneva and beyond.
The 2021 Annual Conference will discuss the connectivity between national human rights actors and the Geneva-based international mechanisms.
This project aims at providing support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé by addressing emerging issues affecting civic space and eveloping tools and materials allowing various stakeholders to promote and defend civic space.
UN PHOTO /Jean Marc Ferre