Mohammad Al Gergawi shakes hands with UN Secretary- General António Guterres in New York on Thursday. Image Credit: WAM

NEW YORK: Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, has been selected by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as one of 20 independent experts on his High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, launched at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday.

The panel will be co-chaired by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, and includes prominent leaders from government, private industry, civil society, academia and the technical community.

The purpose of the panel is to advance proposals to strengthen international cooperation in the digital space, with the ultimate aim of realising the transformational potential of digital technologies while safeguarding against risks and unintended consequences. The panel will contribute to the broader global dialogue on how interdisciplinary and cooperative approaches can help ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all.

“We stand at the very outset of vast changes, and are not yet able to predict the impact of the technological revolution. The issue we are dealing with is bigger than any particular aspect like cyber security, privacy, or economic changes. Digital technology will affect every aspect of human life. This will be a new era for humanity.” said Al Gergawi, stressing the need for the panel.

“The United Nations has unique legitimacy to convene this dialogue, based on the breadth of the organisation’s mandate across the spheres impacted by the digital technologies. I am honoured to bring the UAE perspective to the discussion,” he added.

The UAE, the minister said, is in the business of change and embracing the future. We need to embrace technology and bring the right people together from across sectors and regions of the world in order to bring the country, the region and the world into the future. “The cooperative approach that has been a strong part of our development model is needed at the global level.” he stated on accepting the position on the panel.

“Our experience since co-facilitating the 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2015 is that there is a strong need for multidisciplinary and international discussions on cooperation in the digital realm. As a highly networked and future-oriented country, the UAE strongly supports the Secretary-General’s initiative and looks forward to the panel’s findings,” said Ambassador Lana Nussaibah, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.

The High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation will work for a period of nine months to identify good examples and propose modalities for working cooperatively across sectors, disciplines and borders to address challenges in the digital age. The three metrics for success of the panel will be a high-quality report, an engaging and inclusive consultation process, and an enhanced capacity of all stakeholders to deal with the digital transformation.