From the 4 to the 8 of December 2023, IFLA participated at the UNCTAD eWeek that was held at the CICG in Geneva.  

During the past week leaders from governments, private sector, international organizations, development banks, academia and civil society convened to discuss key challenges and opportunities of the evolving global digital landscape. Some of the main topics that were explored included digital inclusion, platform governance, the development impact of artificial intelligence, eco-friendly digital practices, empowerment of women through digital entrepreneurship, and the acceleration of digital readiness in developing countries.

The global voice of libraries remains relevant in these conversations as libraries hold significant value in the digital economy by championing digital inclusion, fostering digital literacy and providing crucial access to technology. They promote inclusive internet access, engage in workforce development through capacity building, provide valuable entrepreneurship resources and ultimately contribute to the growth of a digitally skilled and economically empowered community.

  • The high-level dialogue on shaping the future of the digital economy illustrated ITU’s new framework for the development of 6G and the crucial importance of energy efficiency in the development of both 5G and 6G technologies. The panelists also emphasized the need to bridge the digital divide with initiatives focused on connectivity and meaningful access.
    The United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Technology highlighted the following areas of focus for the upcoming months: addressing the digital divide, building public sector capacity, replicating success stories, measuring impact, fostering private-public partnerships, ensuring access to smart devices, combating energy poverty and encouraging global south participation.
  • Many discussions highlighted the interconnectedness between the digital economy and sustainability. A connection was made to the discussions that took place at the same time during COP28 and that are focused on the need for a global environmental data strategy.
  • In line with the ‘Our Common Agenda’ report, a briefing on the Global Digital Compact (GDC) took place, in which UNCTAD announced its upcoming digital economy report in May 2024. The report seeks to address the lack of available data and shed light on the environmental impact of the digital economy. The issues paper circulated in September 2023 was also mentioned as a guideline that summarizes information obtained from previous consultations. Artificial Intelligence is emerging as another key issue for the GDC, as well as the need to further develop a common understanding of the risks entailed by emerging technologies.
  • CSTD held a Consultation on WSIS+20, that meant to build up from the first consultation that took place during the Internet Governance Forum 2023 in Kyoto. The second open consultation is underway with a focus on the WSIS implementation and its future. The necessity of education and training programs was highlighted as well as the promotion of digital culture and the development of skills to ensure that individuals can take advantage of the opportunities presented by ICT infrastructure.
Call to action

Would you like to contribute with your own input to IFLA’s submission to the WSIS Open Consultation or learn more about the benefits of engaging in this process?
Please reach out to us before January 20! [email protected]