UNDP joins the Digital Public Goods Alliance to accelerate inclusive digital transformation

Posted On September 15, 2021

Digital Public Goods enable knowledge and data sharing and reduce duplication in the development system and beyond. They also play a significant role in accelerating digital transformation in low and middle-income countries.

Photo:
UNDP India

New York - The world is at an inflection point in its digital transformation journey. Digital public goods (DPGs), such as open source software, open data, and open AI models, hold tremendous potential across sectors, including agriculture, logistics, smart cities, upskilling and employment, and the informal economy. Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced it has joined the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) to unlock new digital opportunities for individuals, and facilitate the transition to digital for businesses of all sizes.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of our societies – from brand-new ways of working online, to the expansion of digital finance which enabled governments to rapidly transfer crucial social protection payments to people unable to leave their homes during lockdowns,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “Yet it has also exposed widespread digital inequalities – globally 1 in 3 children missed out on remote learning when the pandemic shuttered schools, for instance. UNDP looks forward to working with the wide range of partners involved in the Digital Public Goods Alliance to help close these gaps, ensuring that everyone can reap the incredible benefits of our new digital world.”

UNDP is supporting digital transformation in various countries through its Global Policy Network in regional and country offices. By joining the DPGA, UNDP will offer important lessons for integrating digital into development. As laid out in the DPGA annual roadmap, UNDP will contribute to the strategic objectives of the Alliance through a set of activities:

  • Advance thought leadership on deploying inclusive DPGs at scale.
  • Identify transformative DPGs within UNDP’s network, especially DPGs led by women, minorities, and emerging market governments and stakeholders.
  • Empower its global network of staff and local partners, to create dialogue and exchange knowledge with a goal of catalyzing inclusive DPGs at scale.

UNDP will work closely with the other members of the DPGA, including the Government of Norway, one of its founding members. “We are delighted to have UNDP join the DPGA and its board. By bringing its strong country expertise and network, UNDP will become a key partner in discovering and implementing DPGs,”, said Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norwegian Minister of International Development.

Joining the DPGA complements other UNDP efforts in support of the implementation of the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, such as the UNDP-ITU Joint Facility for Digital Capacity Development. Through its engagement in the DPGA, UNDP aims to further reduce duplication, build alignment, and develop concrete digital solutions for sustainable development.

Digital technologies for sustainable development

The UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation highlights the essential role of DPGs in unlocking the potential of digital technologies for sustainable development. They are defined as “open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable best practices, do no harm, and are of high relevance for attainment of the SDGs.”.

DPGs support sustainable development in multiple ways. They enable knowledge and data sharing and reduce duplication in the development system and beyond. They also play a significant role in accelerating digital transformation in low and middle-income countries.

By joining the DPGA, UNDP is committing to strengthening the DPGs ecosystem and supporting our partners in deploying DPGs for inclusive digital transformation.