From yesterday until this Friday, the UN is holding its annual eCommerce Week event, highlighting the need for global data and digital governance in order to boost access of developing countries to the overall benefits of ecommerce.
The event is set to host 60 leading speakers across 100 sessions in addition to 1,000s of participants. It brings together government officials, business leaders, academics, civil society representatives, and UN experts.
The event, named Data and Digitalization for Development, is addressing core issues in how the digital world is managed and how governance can help bridge the divide and drive sustainable development.
Across the world, there are 3 billion people that are still offline, with 96% of them living in developing countries. This unequal access to ecommerce – particularly during the pandemic – has reinforced the disadvantages both socially and economically that are suffered by vulnerable communities.
“The pandemic has exposed the huge and growing digital and data divide that cuts off many developing countries from health-care solutions, financial access, ecommerce, technology skills and new growth sectors,” said UNCTAD secretary general Rebeca Grynspan said.
“Now is the time for a new path with new governance that makes the digital world far more inclusive, equitable and beneficial. All of us – technology companies, multilateral institutions, policymakers, the business community, and civil society groups – must work together to set robust rules of the game and ensure all countries and people have full access to the digital, data and cybersecurity solutions they need to develop and grow.”
During the week-long event, a panel of intergovernmental experts are also looking into the role of digitalization during the pandemic as well as the roads to recovery.
The United Nations’ eCommerce Week, as the world’s forum on the digital economy and development, attempts to highlight and underline the urgency of bridging the divides in digital and data in addition to helping developing countries as well as vulnerable populations benefit more from ecommerce.
eCommerce Week includes debates on ecommerce, digital entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, data governance, the role of big tech, challenges around setting global rules, collecting and sharing vital health data, and issues of technology’s growing waste and carbon footprint.
Among the key speakers include internet pioneer Vinton Cerf and digital expert Gerry McGovern as well as international leaders from UN agencies, governments, big tech corporations, ecommerce entrepreneurs and innovators, and civil society leaders.
The event is convened by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in collaboration with eTrade and is being carried out in a hybrid format – both online and in person in Geneva.