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Launch of UNSG’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation

Technological innovation’s unprecedented impacts will fundamentally change the working lives of people around the world. Issues such as human rights, the emerging risks, and opportunities for sustainable growth in our digital future will “cut uniquely across international boundaries, policy silos and professional domains” says the UN Secretary-General at the launch of the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation in mid-July.

The freshly minted 20-member digital cooperation panel co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma of China’s Alibaba Group “is expected to raise awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the economy, and contribute to the broader public debate on how to ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all, taking into account relevant human rights norms.”

The newly-minted panel is taking place at an important juncture when the rules governing our digital lives, the Internet, e-commerce, and fair competition need to be strengthened, refined and even re-drawn. These concerns have lead Becky Faith and Ben Ramalingam at the Institute of Development Studies to advocate for why the future of work in a digital age matters for development actors ahead of its Digital Development Summit in London.

Another area where digital cooperation that needs attention in addressing the emerging risks in our digital future, such as the rapid and deep concentration of digital power in the hands of a few mega digital monopolies. The tech-giant Apple might become the first trillion dollar firm in world history with its valuation at the start of 2018 at USD 869 billion. The astronomical growth of digital giants like Apple, Alibaba, and others is a clear sign of the importance of our digital economy, networked society, and ecosystem. However, these digital monopolies are also an alarming sign of a gluttonous and unfair winner-takes-all economy taking place at the time when job quality around the world is trending down and, partly due to new digital management methods.

Panel Documents:

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