As many parts of the world still grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, many cities and countries are beginning to take their first steps at rebuilding after the disruption that has now lasted for more than a year. Over the course of the past year, the pandemic revealed itself to be much more than just a global health crisis, having had cross-cutting human, economic and social impacts, which are particularly damaging to members of vulnerable groups, including older persons, people living in poverty, persons with disabilities, youth, and indigenous peoples. These groups have been disproportionately affected by the harmful impacts of the pandemic and risk staying behind in the global recovery from the pandemic.
It is imperative that policymakers locally, nationally and internationally all across the globe implement the right policies in the aftermath of the pandemic to ensure that possible long-term effects on inequality, exclusion, discrimination and global unemployment do not become the “new normal”. In an increasingly digital economy, technology, in particular the Iinternet and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, can play an important role in addressing these issues. If harnessed properly, and with human-centric values at the core, technology can be an important instrument in the improvement of global health, sustainability and well-being and contribute to bridging the inequality gap. However, not all countries are equally prepared for new and emerging technologies.
In 2019, only 19,1% of people in the least developed countries were online, compared to 86,6% of people in the developed countries. A similar trend was shown in the “readiness for frontier technologies index” developed in 2021 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). According to the UNCTAD, North-American and European economies are the most prepared to use, adopt and adapt frontier technologies. Developing countries, and particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa, Northern Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, on the other hand, are the least prepared, scoring significantly below the average index score. Policies ensuring the improvement of access to the internet and the development of technological skills in these countries are thus paramount to bridge the global digital divide by ensuring digital inclusion and development across the world.
The principle of “leave no one behind” is at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The importance of technology in realizing this global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, has been emphasized on many occasions, including by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who suggested “Technology can turbocharge the recovery from COVID-19 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Preventing crime through the protection and empowerment of vulnerable groups is a strategic priority of UNICRI as provided in its 2019-2022 Strategic Programme Framework. Since 2018, UNICR), through its Centre for AI and Robotics in the Hague, the Netherlands, has sought to explore the potential of emerging technologies in the context of its mandate.
This global webinar will seek to explore the potentiality of emerging technologies to support vulnerable communities and decrease the inequality gap in the world recovering from the post-COVID-19 pandemic. It will bring together important voices from local and national government, the private sector, civil society and international organizations to discuss benefits and pitfalls of novel technologies in helping to ensure that no one is left behind.
17:00 – 17:05 Opening Remarks
- Irakli Beridze, Head of Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, UNICRI
17:05 – 17:20 Keynote Address
- Christopher Fabian, Co-Founder Giga UNICEF & ITU Partnship
17:20 – 17:55 Panel Discussion, moderated by Irakli Beridze, UNICRI
- Witek Radomski, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Enjin
- Joseph Weinberg, Co-Founder of Shyft Network
- Brittany Kaiser, Chair of the Board of Directors of Gryphon Digital Mining and Co-Founder of Own Your Data Foundation
- Yalda Aoukar, Co-Founder and Managing Partner Bracket Capital
17:55 – 18:00 Closing Remarks
- Saskia Bruines, Deputy Mayor, City of the Hague, the Netherlands
- Irakli Beridze, UNICRI
The webinar will be a public event and will take place on Zoom. Interested participants should register here:
Access details for joining the webinar will be provided following the completion of the registration form.
For any questions regarding this event, kindly contact Ms. Rozemarijn Jens at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr. Odhran McCarthy at email@example.com.