Partner2Connect rallies commitments for connectivity The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today announced its Partner2Connect pledging platform and an action framework to advance universal connectivity and digital transformation.
TU’s Partner2Connect (P2C) Online Pledging Platform will help mobilise resources to transform societies, promote sustainable digital technology uptake, and ensure meaningful connectivity for everyone.
Today, an estimated 2,9-billion people – 37% of the world’s population – have never used the Internet. An estimated 96* of them live in developing countries – despite a global surge in connectivity surge the past two years.
“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, ITU has redoubled its efforts to help countries around the world expand connectivity, to reach communities where connectivity remains too fragmented or unreliable to offer meaningful benefits,” says Houlin Zhao, ITU secretary-general. “The Partner2Connect Coalition reflects these efforts, helping put new and emerging technologies truly at the service of humanity and sustainable development.”
The P2C Online Pledging Platform is set to receive pledges and commitments from across the government, business, civil society, and academic sectors to drive digital transformation all over the world. The P2C Online Platform serves as a key place for leaders to declare their organizations’ commitment to close the digital divide and as a “marketplace” to catalyse new partnerships and collaboration.
The 16 March kick-off featured high-profile statements of support from multiple governments and an initial set of pledges from the German development agency GIZ, and global technology and communications firms Microsoft and Vodafone.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, says: “The international community needs to find new ways to move the needle on connecting the unconnected, to overcome chronic connectivity barriers, to dramatically level-up affordable access to technology, to empower people with digital skills, and to foster thriving local digital ecosystems.
“As the UN specialised agency for ICTs with a mission to connect the world, the P2C platform will re-energize global and regional connectivity efforts through broader commitments and a holistic approach to advance universal and meaningful connectivity, so that everyone, everywhere, has access to life-changing, enabling, digital platforms and services.”
Partner2Connect addresses four key priorities to ensure a sustainable global digital transformation:
* Access: Connecting people everywhere
* Adoption: Empowering communities
* Value creation: Building digital ecosystems
* Accelerate: Incentivising investments
Companies, governments, and other stakeholders can register single-organisation or joint pledges spanning financial, policy, advocacy, and programmatic support.
The P2C Online Platform will allow those who pledge to self-report progress and showcase best practices. The P2C Secretariat will produce an annual report.
ITU last year launched an alliance of public and private partners, the P2C Digital Coalition, in close cooperation with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
The Coalition builds on the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation in fostering meaningful connectivity globally, with a particular focus on helping hardest-to-connect communities in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“The benefits of being online are not shared equally,” observes Heidi Schroderus-Fox, acting high representative at the UN’s Office of the High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. “The Least Developed Countries struggle most to use technology to drive innovation, growth, and the delivery of services. As a crucial milestone in the realisation of the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition will help bring about meaningful change in the countries that need it most.”
The P2C Platform aims to strengthen global digital co-operation and support efforts towards the UN Global Digital Compact and the 2023 Summit of the Future.
Maria Francesca Spatolisano, assistant secretary-general of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Acting Envoy on Technology at the Office of the UN’s Secretary-General Technology Envoy, reiterates that “global connectivity is the foundation of the Secretary-General’s vision of an open, free and secure digital future for all” and “that the action-oriented approach taken by Partner2Connect will be critical in pushing this forward.”