UN chief calls for efforts to make digital technologies "a force for good"

May 18, 2021

UN chief calls for efforts to make digital technologies "a force for good"

United Nations, May 18: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for efforts to make digital technologies "a force for good."
"On World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, let us commit to work together to defeat COVID-19 and ensure that digital technologies are a force for good that help us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind," the UN chief said in his message for the international day celebrated annually on May 17.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across the planet, millions worldwide still lack Internet access, said the secretary-general, highlighting why information and communication technologies must be "a force for good."
"Digital technologies sustain life, work, health and learning for billions of people. In the face of COVID-19, businesses, governments and the digital community have proven resilient and innovative, helping to protect lives and livelihoods. These challenging times have accelerated the transformation everywhere," he said.
The secretary-general said that some 3.7 billion people, or nearly half the world's population, remain unconnected to the Internet. Most are women.
"They, too, must be included if we are to make the possibilities of 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digital health and other technologies truly transformative and sustainable," he said.
"We must also protect against the dangers of digital technologies, from the spread of hatred and misinformation to cyberattacks and the exploitation of our data," he added.
World Telecommunication and Information Science Day marks the signing in 1865 of an agreement to form the International Telegraph Union (ITU), making it the world's first modern international organization. ITU took the name of International Telecommunication Union in 1932 and became a UN specialized agency in 1947.
Last June, the UN launched a Roadmap for Digital Cooperation that lays out eight key actions, including achieving universal connectivity by 2030.
Guterres said the roadmap, together with the vital work of the ITU, aims to make the digital transformation equitable, safe, inclusive and affordable for all, while also respecting human rights.
Source: Xinhua