EU provides €1 million in funding to the Office of the Envoy on Technology of the UN’s Secretary-General

The EU will provide €1 million to support the work of the Envoy on Technology of the UN’s Secretary-General over the next two years. This contributes to the financing of the Office’s work as well as the Envoy’s outreach activities.

This will be done under a cooperation agreement signed between the Commission ant the Office of the Envoy on Technology.

This agreement reflects the commitment by the EU and its Member States to support the UN Envoy on Technology in implementing the digital aspects of the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Our Common Agenda’, notably the development of a Global Digital Compact and the promotion of the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. EU Member States will also offer their support to the Office of the Envoy on Technology in a Team Europe spirit.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “The European Union is committed to contribute to an Open Internet, and to a global digital transition firmly grounded in human rights and freedoms. All this in line with Sustainable Development Goals. This is at the heart of our digital ambition, and of the cooperation agreement we signed with the UN. I am looking forward to working with the new UN Tech envoy on ensuring that many more people benefit from the digital transformation.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “Every day, we see a battle of narratives and values. This battle is waged using and misusing all the advances of technologies and digital space. Digital issues are not just technical matters, they affect every single aspect of our lives. So it is crucial that we build a set of shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all: a Global Digital Compact. This is the task of the UN Tech Envoy, and the EU will be supporting very closely this work as part of our digital diplomacy.”

The Office of the Envoy on Technology aims to play an advocacy role in the global debate on digital transitions, helping advance a digital transformation in line with Sustainable Development Goals, while putting the emphasis on the open internet and human rights as cornerstones of digitalisation.

The EU and its Member States advocate for a global multi-stakeholder effort to close the digital divides across the world. The free, open, secure and un-fragmented internet, underpinned by a concern for Human Rights, should be at the very centre of the digital transition, upholding the right to privacy, free speech and data protection, addressing arbitrary and mass surveillance while actively combatting internet shutdowns, online censorship, hate speech online, disinformation and cybercrime.

Background

The creation of an Envoy on Technology position is one of the operational conclusions of the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation (June 2020), tasked with coordinating the implementation of the various work strands and recommendations of the Roadmap and to serve as a focal point for digital matters at the UN. The Envoy is also expected to have a leading role in the implementation of the digital aspects of the UN SG’s ‘Our Common Agenda’, notably the initiative of developing a Global Digital Compact. On 10 June 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Mr Amandeep Singh Gill of India as his Envoy on Technology.

With the launch of the Global Gateway in December 2021, the EU now has a compelling offer to support its partners in their twin digital and green transitions. It aims at increasing investments in both hard and soft infrastructure, promoting democratic values and high standards, good governance and transparency. The Global Gateway’s digital investments will be intrinsically linked to the promotion of the Open Internet, given its role as key driver of innovation, socio-political, economic and cultural development.

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