New York: Top UAE officials stressed the importance of keeping abreast of the developments of digital technologies as the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation presented its report ‘The Age of Digital Interdependence’ to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday, marking the culmination of a year of deliberations.

The UAE along with Switzerland had worked closely with Guterres and his team since early 2017 on the conceptual framework of the panel, and in ensuring that the specific concerns of UN member states would be reflected adequately in the panel’s terms of reference.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, who is a member of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, stressed the importance working together to find solutions to the challenges to help countries in taking advantage of the advanced technologies for a better future.

“The efforts of the Panel to promote a comprehensive digital economy, reflect the United Nations goals and the keenness of the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to intensify the efforts of the world’s governments, technology leaders, and international organisations in developing the uses of the fourth industrial revolution tools and future technologies,” Al Gergawi said.

Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, said: “The panel identifies the most pressing issues that require our attention, such as ensuring that no one is left behind in the digital age and that UN Member States develop coordinated responses with non-government stakeholders to address a range of cyber risks. Meanwhile, we must not lose out on the opportunities that these technologies can offer us all.”

She added: “We appreciate the Secretary-General’s vision in launching the panel. Multilateralism must adapt if it is to stay relevant and reflect the networked world we represent.”

She called on member states to join the UAE in working with the Secretary-General and all stakeholders to champion the report and work on a path forward.

The report explores three main priorities — the role of technology in achieving the SDGs, human rights and security online, and improving multilateral forums for digital cooperation. The report concludes with 12 recommendations for a digital world. The panel was composed of a diverse group of experts representing UN Member States, the private sector, civil society, and academia, including the UAE, Norway, Botswana, Google, eBay, Oxfam, and the Harvard Kennedy School.

The High-Level Panel was established by the Secretary-General in July 2018 to recommend how states, the private sector, civil society, and academics can jointly spread the benefits of new technologies while mitigating their risks.

At the High-Level Panel’s briefing to the UN General Assembly, the Secretary-General stated: “I hope [the report] will stimulate an urgent and open debate between governments, the private sector, civil society, and others on how we move forward together safely in the age of digital interdependence.”

Based on the findings of the report, he intends to create a road map for the UN in the digital space.