The United Nations, The Internet and Digital Cooperation

By Vint Cerf

On June 26th, the United Nations (UN) celebrated the 75th anniversary of the signing of its charter. I was honored to be asked for my thoughts on this milestone.

The UN was forged from the fires and devastation of World War II as an instrument to identify and pursue common objectives including keeping the hard-earned peace. Like the UN, the Internet was designed to bring together disparate parts and participants in aid of common interests. The digital world thrives on openness, the freedom to speak and access information, interoperability and inclusion. It has the potential to provide the opportunity for everyone in the world to harness digital technology for beneficial use. Attention to digital inclusion has now bubbled up to the highest levels of international interest and is a key element of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Secretary-General Guterres has laid out a roadmap towards Digital Cooperation to fashion a digital world infused with common purpose and utility. This quest is more urgent than ever given the role of digital technology in our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The roadmap applies technology for good to connect, respect and protect people in the digital age. Guterres proposes eight areas where we can come together to pursue the imperative for global action on digital cooperation and to achieve some of the aspirations of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on global warming.

The Marconi Society’s new focus on digital inclusion is well-aligned with the roadmap and offers us an opportunity to contribute to its objectives. Our measurement efforts will help define where the road needs to take us and our Celestini Program will provide students with an opportunity to explore where that road might usefully go. The technologies pioneered by many of the Marconi Fellows and Paul Baran Young Scholars will help pave that road and speed our journey towards fruitful outcomes.

I look forward to participating in this global cooperative effort and I invite you to join me.