D4D Hub’s civil society and academia advisory group contributes to consultation on the Global Digital Compact


In the dynamic landscape of global cooperation, it is crucial to acknowledge the influential role of digital technologies in shaping our future. Recognising this significance, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, emphasised the imperative in "Our Common Agenda", calling the international community to agree on shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all — the Global Digital Compact.

As groundwork for the Summit of the Future scheduled for September 2024, during which the Global Digital Compact will be finalised, the appointed co-facilitators leading the intergovernmental process have initiated informal consultations with UN Member States, observers, and stakeholders. Notably, in the stakeholder category, the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub civil society and academia advisory group (CSAAG) prepared a contribution aimed at positioning the principles that the D4D Hub stands for.

A consultative body of the D4D Hub, the CSAAG’s primary objective is to ensure that the needs of society for a human-centric digital transformation are addressed by the European Union and its Member States. Since its establishment in 2023, the group shares knowledge and provides input on the D4D Hub's relevant areas of activity. As such, the contribution to the Global Digital Compact consultations reflects members’ continued commitment to an inclusive multi-stakeholder approach.

Below is the contribution prepared by Shamira Ahmed of the Data Economy Policy Hub, chair of the CSAAG, in consultation with the rest of the members.



Ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Shamira Ahmed.

As the chair of the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub civil society and academia advisory group (CSAAG), I am honoured to speak at these informal consultations on the Global Digital Compact (GDC).

First, I would like to highlight that the five principles of the D4D Hub included in the D4D Hub letter of intent complement the values of the UN Charter, the Agenda 2030, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The D4D Hub CSAAG expects the GDC to be anchored in respect for human rights and to serve as a roadmap for a human-centric, inclusive, sustainable, and green global digital transformation, as well as data security and protection and, the mainstreaming of gender equality .

Cooperation for sustainable digital transformation requires designing interventions that leverage existing local expertise as well as the co-creation of technical assistance. These should be aligned with ethical principles, socioeconomic needs and values of the target communities, tailored to diverse contextual realities and culturally diverse societies. Meaningful digital access and digital inclusion need to be central in the GDC.

The D4D Hub CSAAG’s vision for global digital cooperation can be effectively embodied through inclusive multi-stakeholder collaboration. The aim is to pool resources, strengthen oversight, facilitate research on common challenges, and promote the sharing of best practices that foster digital public goods and the flourishing of local innovation ecosystems.

It is our recommendation that a human-centric global AI governance embodies the values of transparency, accountability, safety and equity throughout the AI lifecycle. This requires meaningful cooperation with stakeholders, state and non-state actors to ensure ethical development and deployment of AI and other digital technologies. Moreover, this holistic and inclusive approach to digital cooperation supports human flourishing, equitable wealth distribution from the data-driven digital economy, and environmental sustainability.

In addition, the D4D Hub emphasises the need for education systems to integrate digital literacy and technology skills at all levels, equipping all children and young people with the skills and knowledge required to navigate digital technologies safely and confidently.

In this realm, sharing knowledge and best practices ensures the development of a GDC based on the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely environmental stewardship, inclusive social enhancement, and equitable economic growth.