On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77) an event titled “Networks of resilient communities: Harnessing e-quality data to improve the prosperity of global citizens of the future” will be convened on 26 September 2022 from 10:00 – 12:00 hrs. (New York Time) in Virtual mode. Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme, People-Centered Internet and South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) are the organizers of this year’s side-event.

 Development is all about people – expanding their choices in every sphere of human life. That expansion can be achieved through enhancing their capabilities and creating opportunities to use their enhanced capabilities. The quality of development is as important as its quantity. Development has to be anchored in human rights, must ensure human security, has to be environment-friendly, must be gender-sensitive. And ensuring all these, development has to be equitable. Equality is the defining issue of our time. When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stresses leaving no one behind, it is equality in development that is highlighted.

In today’s world with digital revolution, digital divide has become the determining factor behind the overall inequality in the society. There can be no doubt that digital technologies progressed globally and are transforming societies in all aspects ranging across connectivity, financial inclusion, public services, health, education, trade and commerce, media communication, transportation. Yet, digital divide is the fact of life all over the world. There has been tremendous progress in digital revolution, but a meaningful, high-quality digital experience is beyond the reach of billions of people. In digital development, there have been expansion, but not necessarily inclusion. Thus, digital divide has contributed to significant overall disparities in the society. But digital development, if managed properly, is a powerful equalizing factor in overall economic and social development. An important element of ensuring digital development is resilient communities.

Resilient Communities are emerging as a key feature of the digital ecosystem. Bangladesh has been one of the leaders in developing bottom-up approaches which utilize digital technology to increase the prosperity of their citizens through ways in which they can participate fully. This participation does not require citizens to have digital literacy in the conventional sense. They can participate in the digital ecosystem if they have indirect digital literacy. One remarkable example of this would be a2i, in partnership with UNDP and USAID, have set up Union Digital Centers in more than 4500 unions. They aim to take digital services to the doorsteps of the underserved and rural populations so that they can easily avail them. Hence, a2i is proposing the concept Indirect Digital Literacy which is related to the establishment of the UDCs and relevant in the context of developing countries like Bangladesh. There are such examples around the world.

In this context, this panel brings together leaders in Resilient Communities and government initiatives in Bangladesh, the USA, Singapore, Germany, India and Kenya to examine how data can be used to improve local communities’ service to their citizens today and in the future. It is vital to dive into the data we have today to design for the resilient communities of the future, benefiting the global citizens living in that future.

To join the event: https://undp.zoom.us/j/86998088626