Bangladesh Statement delivered by Md Faruk Hossain, Minister, at the Second Committee General Discussion on Agenda Item 15 & 19 ICT for Sustainable Development and Globalization and Interdependence, New York, 06 October 2023

Thank you, Madam Vice Chair, for giving me the floor.

Bangladesh aligns itself with the statements made by the Chairs of G77 and China and the LDC Group.

Madam Chair,

The government of Bangladesh is implementing a smart Bangladesh vision to harness the benefits of digital revolution for sustainable development.

We are investing heavily in building digital infrastructure and improving internet access to make digital services more accessible and affordable.

Our flagship project, access to information (a2i), which is a collaboration between the government of Bangladesh and the UNDP is facilitating the digitalization of public services, financial and digital inclusion, public service delivery, and data-driven policymaking.

Madam Chair,

Information and communication technology is a powerful enabler of sustainable development. ICT is shaping our economy, business and commerce, service delivery, financial transactions, information dissemination, education, and medical responses, among others.

In an increasingly digital world, technology provides solutions to complex and emerging development challenges as seen during the pandemic. Through technology, countries could integrate into the global economy, and leverage the benefits of globalization.

Unfortunately, despite recent progress, digital, knowledge and broadband divides between and within countries continue.

Nearly 43 percent of the population of developing countries have no internet access. A gender digital divide also persists. In the least developed countries, only 19 percent of women use the internet, compared with 31 percent of men. The cost of access is prohibitively higher in developing countries in relation to average household income.

The issue of access and affordability and other barriers limiting the use of ICT in the countries in the Global South need to be urgently addressed.

Allow me, Madam Chair, to highlight a few points to elaborate on how ICT could be a true enabler of sustainable development.

First, Addressing the glaring global digital divide should be a priority as the digital divide often leads to a development divide.

Technology transfer should be meaningful and useful. Technologies that facilitate economic growth, sustainable production, and industrial transformation, such as green and low-carbon technologies, or those that mitigate the impacts of climate change, such as early warning systems, are essential.

Second, developing countries, in particular the LDCs, need investment in digital infrastructure, affordable internet access, and assistance in research and development, to benefit from the new AI and data-driven wave of frontier technologies.  Capacity-building in e-commerce, digital content creation, and marketing of digital products, goods, and services could generate employment and revenue to accelerate SDG progress.

Third, at present, there is no effective multilateral framework for global digital cooperation. The Global Digital Compact being negotiated under the Summit of the Future should streamline digital cooperation, bridge digital divides, and provide a technology governance architecture that not only fosters innovation and growth but also ensures inclusion and protects human rights.

International cooperation is needed to prevent cyberattacks, protect data privacy and freedom of expression, and address illegal and harmful online content.

Finally, South-South and Triangular Cooperation can play a complementary role in facilitating access to technology and distribution of the benefits of a digital transformation. Many technological innovations are now taking place in the Global South. The exchange of knowledge, experience, and best practices through effective South-South and Triangular cooperation can spur economic growth, promote sustainability, and advance sustainable development.

I thank you.