UNGA: Digital Cooperation: Action Today for Future Generations

Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the high-level event Digital Cooperation: Action Today for Future Generations, 23 September 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis affects us all. At the same time it gives us striking examples of the opportunities provided by digital solutions.

These solutions enable the communication; collaboration and knowledge building we need in order to manage this pandemic and build back better and greener.

We need, however, also to acknowledge the risks.

Our increasing dependence on digital solutions gives rise to new vulnerabilities. It can widen the digital divides that already exist. Indeed, adoption rates are stagnating, especially in poorer areas of the world. The gap between women and men using the Internet is increasing in developing countries.

I am furthermore deeply concerned with the violations and abuses of human rights online. I am worried about the increased spread of misinformation and disinformation, including about COVID-19. While disinformation can polarise, undermine trust and even kill. Reliable information, based on facts, can save lives.

It is our joint responsibility to counter dis- and misinformation, and to join forces to close the digital divide.

We must work together for a digital space that contributes to international stability and security. A space that facilitates cybersecurity and safeguards democratic values and universal human rights.

We must seize this opportunity of digitalisation and at the same time address the digital challenges and threats.

My government has given priority to promoting digital public goods for many years and we have been supporting the Alliance for digital public goods since its beginning.

Only through multilateral and multi-stakeholder cooperation and globally coordinated actions can we can achieve results.

I am therefore extremely pleased with the topic and the broad participation at this Summit.

 I wish you all an interesting and fruitful discussion and I look forward to the proceedings from this important event.

Thank you.