UN backed stakeholders launch action plan for green digital revolution

Environmental technology concept. Sustainable development goals. SDGs.

New Delhi: A UN-backed coalition of 1,000 stakeholders from over 100 countries on Thursday launched an Action Plan to steer digitalization towards accelerating environmentally and socially sustainable development.

According to the statement, the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) aims to help reorient and prioritize the application of digital technologies to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste.

The flagship CODES Action Plan, launched during the Stockholm+50 international environmental meeting, proposes a comprehensive and strategic approach to embed sustainability in all aspects of digitalization.

This includes building globally inclusive processes to define standards and governance frameworks for digital sustainability, allocating the necessary resources and infrastructure, and identifying opportunities to reduce potential harms or risks from digitalization.

CODES is also called upon governments, civil society, digital companies, and other private sector actors to endorse the Action Plan and to engage in the immediate implementation of the Impact Initiatives.

The Action Plan and the CODES movement was inspired by the need for collective action across governments, the private sector, civil society and academia to accelerate the adoption and scaling of digital technologies for sustainability.

“Shaping the outcomes of the digital revolution to achieve global sustainability is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must be realized before the window of opportunity closes. Digitalization has the potential to help transform society and business models and it is a critical tool to help build a healthier, safer, cleaner and more equitable future” said the statement.

“Digitalization is changing the way the world works, but the new world of work must be a sustainable one. It is critical that digital innovations and technologies accelerate environmental sustainability” Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme and CODES co-champion.

She said that UNEP is committed to supporting CODES and digital sustainability as a core part of our new Digital Transformation programme. 

“Digital transformation must be governed as one of the key sustainability issues for the global community today. We can’t afford to fail to align the disruptive forces of digital change with our common sustainable development goals” said Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency and CODES Co-Champion.

The CODES Action Plan for a Sustainable Planet in the Digital Age is a critical part of implementing the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. In addition, it provides much valued inputs to be considered for the Global Digital Compact that the United Nations is working on now, as part of the Summit of the Future next September; as well as the way forward on these issues” said Maria Francesca-Spatolisano, Acting Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.

Addressing the need for new regulation over the digital space, the action plan has called for three systemic shift, which include, enable alignment, Mitigate negtive impact, Accelerate innovation. The plan proposes a set of nine measurable global Impact Initiatives to inspire and provoke collective action, to progress the three shifts.

CODES will act as a “docking station” for the nine Impact Initiatives, offering coordination, sharing of expertise and mobilizing resources. All efforts will continue to be part of the implementation process for the Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and will feed into the coming Summit of the Future and the Global Digital Compact in 2023.

The Action Plan for a Sustainable Planet in the Digital Age is the result of over a year of consultations combined with a co-design process across the CODES coalition of around one thousand stakeholders.


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