Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
January 30, 2023
Thank you, Madame Chair.
Digital technologies play a critical role in every facet of our lives. That is why the United States is committed to global action that realizes the opportunities of the digital age for everyone. Closing the digital divide is one of the most meaningful ways that we can turbocharge progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, whether it involves good health, quality education, decent work, poverty elimination, or climate change. In fact, we will be extraordinarily challenged to meet the 2030 goals without embracing digital technologies in the implementation of the SDGs.
We are pleased that the Secretary-General has proposed a Global Digital Compact that will expand connectivity, promote digital inclusion, and protect human rights online. As the Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition this year, the U.S. is committed to protecting the defining features and principles of the Internet – open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure. These principles strengthen democratic values and institutions.
To make meaningful progress on this Compact, there must be buy-in from all relevant stakeholders – governments, the private sector, civil society, the technical community, and academia – in both the process and the outcome. The process must be transparent, expert-driven, and inclusive. Likewise, the outcome must support and strengthen human rights, bolster digital inclusion and digital skills, help close digital divides, elevate a rights-based approach to digital development, and add value to the global dialogue on digital cooperation issues.
The United States applauds the co-facilitators for scheduling initial consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, and we hope this multistakeholder participation continues throughout the negotiating process. We also very much appreciate that many stakeholders – both within and outside the UN system – are
facilitating similar dialogues on the potential elements of the Compact. As my colleagues from Singapore and Japan have already stated, we should map out the significant amount of good work being done through other multilateral and multistakeholder processes. When appropriate, we should defer to expert work in other parts of the UN system or at the regional or national levels.
The United States looks forward to working together towards a Global Digital Compact and appreciates the Secretary General’s prioritization of this issue.