e-Quality Center for Inclusive Innovation: ensuring Zero Digital Divide

On Jul 14, 2023,  the side event, titled “Renewed Partnership in South-South and Triangular Cooperation: Leveraging Innovation and Cutting-Edge Technology,” was arranged by the Government of Bangladesh. The program included a panel discussion with esteemed experts in South-South and triangular cooperation, followed by a networking reception.

Bangladesh is currently in the process of establishing the e-Quality Centre for Inclusive Innovation, driven by the vision of achieving zero digital divide worldwide. This “e-Quality” concept emphasizes delivering a high-quality digital experience that ensures equality within society.

The center’s major focus areas are South-South technology transfer of proven digital solutions for underserved communities, establishing the International ICT Innovation (i3) matching fund to support LDCs, and conducting digital divide research to create standards, an e-Quality index, and strategies for addressing pressing digital divide issues.

The event aimed to enhance understanding of the impact of such cooperation in addressing global challenges through the use of frontier technology, research and development, and innovation. It also recognized effective approaches, achievements, and valuable insights in utilizing advanced science and future-oriented technologies for sustainable development. Additionally, the event explored possibilities for collaborative research, joint initiatives, and partnerships in areas of mutual interest.

 Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, delivered the opening remarks. Following him, H.E. Ambassador Mr. Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York & President of the 21st Session of the UN High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, and H.E. Naguib Sinarimbo, Minister of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Republic of the Philippines delivered remarks on how South South cooperation can be leveraged to reduce digital divide around the world.

Mr. Haoliang Xu, Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), also shared remarks on how other countries can learn from Bangladesh and adapt initiatives in their own country context. The event featured Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), as one of the Panelists. She stated about South South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) which promotes and facilitates the sharing of scalable innovations of southern countries as well as facilitates peer-to-peer learning, capacity building, and matchmaking. The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and a2i, Bangladesh has been providing secretarial support to SSN4PSI. 

The closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Md Shamsul Arefin, Secretary of the Information and Communication Technology Division, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh where the Honorable Secretary mentioned how Bangladesh is progressing towards Smart Bangladesh and how it can support other countries from its experience.