As part of its G20 Presidency, India is partnering with UNDP to advance a global vision for inclusive and sustainable digital public infrastructure driven by collective action
Inspiring Collective Action on Digital: India Sets the Stage at the G20
February 13, 2023
New York - The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to drive collective action on digital public infrastructure during India’s G20 Presidency. The partnership aims to catalyse knowledge and action in the digital space to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
From health to finance, digital transformation is reshaping public and private services with greater efficiency and effectiveness. Despite its numerous benefits, not all countries are equally benefiting. Today, a global vision for an inclusive and sustainable digital public infrastructure offers renewed hope.
“Countries that are at the start of their digital transformation journey may not have the digital infrastructure in place to compete in the digital economy. Designing and implementing these systems requires technical expertise and substantial resources,” said Robert Opp, UNDP’s Chief Digital Officer.
“Digital public infrastructure that is powered by open and interoperable standards, designed and implemented with people at the centre, is stepping in as a critical enabler to shorten the learning curve and lower implementation costs, especially for low- and middle-income countries,” Opp highlighted.
By default, digital public infrastructure is open for all countries to adopt, reuse and replicate. As India’s experience has shown, it is made up of shared digital solutions that are working together to provide essential services to the population. Digital public infrastructure drives innovation, competition and inclusion, and is governed by enabling rules and relies on a technology layer, governance framework and a multistakeholder ecosystem.
India has excelled in this space, having successfully engineered and scaled digital solutions that have improved public governance and service delivery for its people. CoWIN, for example, is the digital backbone of India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, and has facilitated the registration and administration of a billion vaccines in a matter of months. Its success rests on a digital infrastructure that was put in place a decade earlier.
“India has implemented other transformative digital public infrastructure like Unique Digital Identity, Unified Payments Interface, Digilocker and others. The lessons we have gathered from our experience in India and as G20 countries can be shared with other countries that are intent on designing and implementing people-centric digital public infrastructure,” noted Shri Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary of MeitY, Government of India. “Beyond our own experiences, we want to create a global knowledge hub where countries can share, learn and grow together in building and implementing their digital public infrastructure.”
Digital transformation needs to be inclusive by design and driven by a whole-of-society approach. At its best, it blends public and private partnerships, for instance where the public sector delineates the structural safeguards, and the private sector unshackles the forces of innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic not only underscored that global challenges call for solutions that are global in scale, but also demonstrated the critical role of digital public infrastructure for greater societal impact. This is reflected in the theme of India’s G20 Presidency: ‘One earth, One family, One future’.
“Digital technologies and public goods have already proven their worth for development. When led by India, at scale, it can bring about transformative change for the world. UNDP India is proud to support India during its G20 Presidency and its vision to drive global cooperation and sustainable development,” said Shoko Noda, Resident Representative of UNDP India.
India’s G20 Presidency offers a unique opportunity to steer this vital global agenda through global digital cooperation. UNDP is pleased to be a part of this effort and will continue to coordinate across the UN system and the wider development community to explore synergies and bring new capabilities to focus equally on technologies, the governance of technologies, and local digital ecosystems necessary for implementing digital public infrastructure.
For Media Inquiries:
Victor Garrido Delgado, Media Analyst, UNDP. Email: email@example.com.
Dwayne Carruthers, Strategic Communications Specialist, Chief Digital Office, UNDP. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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