UN announces multi-stakeholder working groups for Digital Public Infrastructure Safeguards

March 4, 2024

The DPI Safeguards initiative aims to establish the guardrails that will ensure DPI can work for the public good, advancing human dignity and agency in the context of a digitally interdependent age.


New York - The United Nations announced six working groups composed of 43 members with diverse expertise, who will be working to develop a safeguards framework on digital public infrastructure (DPI). This framework aims to meet the growing demand in countries to build safe and inclusive DPI that maximizes benefits, while mitigating inherent risks.

Unless safety and inclusion are considered in its design, DPI’s full potential cannot be realized. Stewarded by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology (OSET) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the goal of the DPI Safeguards initiative is to empower countries to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The working groups will address inherent risks in digital transformation across multiple layers (technical, normative and organizational), and across the DPI implementation life cycle. This approach is integral to enhance compliance, trust, and equity during implementation of DPI to create safe and inclusive societies.

“I am pleased to see this diverse group of experts from around the world coming together to develop safe and inclusive digital public infrastructure,” said the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. “I am confident the efforts of this group will help countries to develop guardrails for digital infrastructure, so that it can work for the public good.”

Linked to this initiative is the United Nations Roadmap for Digital Cooperation that was released in 2020. Between then and now, there has been increasing recognition amongst countries that DPI is made up of foundational building blocks, which are important to manage the interplay of people, resources and information. The DPI Safeguards initiative aims to establish the guardrails that will ensure DPI can work for the public good, advancing human dignity and agency in the context of a digitally interdependent age.

Accompanying the development of the DPI Safeguards Framework, the UN will establish the DPI Safeguards Resource Hub (a community hub for digital cooperation providing updated knowledge, guidance, and resources from diverse partners), as well as facilitate international collaboration and in-country implementation.

The cornerstone of this process are the in-country engagements to create a universal and usable DPI Safeguards Framework with local digital ecosystems to challenge existing socio-economic disparities and move us closer to our 2030 goals. The first iteration of the DPI Safeguards Framework is expected to be made public at the Summit of the Future in September 2024.

For media inquiries:

Moritz Fromageot, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, dpi-safeguards@un.org

Dwayne Carruthers, UNDP’s Chief Digital Office, dwayne.carruthers@undp.org

About the DPI Safeguards initiative

The DPI Safeguards initiative is a multi-stakeholder process bringing together diverse voices to develop a safeguards framework to guide digital public infrastructure design and implementation around the world. Launched on September 17, 2023, the initiative represents a commitment to including and protecting everyone everywhere, while accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology (OSET)

OSET was created to champion global digital cooperation. Tasked with addressing emerging digital challenges, coordinating multi-stakeholder digital initiatives, and advising the UN leadership on technological trends, the Office plays a pivotal role in harnessing technology’s potential for the Sustainable Development Goals. Emphasizing an open, inclusive approach, the Envoy ensures synergy across UN entities, and serves as a primary contact for digital cooperation within the broader UN system.

About the United Nations Development Programme

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.