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Human Dignity at the Digital Divide

June 04, 2021
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

This article appears in the May Issue of Reflections and Connections

As part of CSA’s work with UNANIMA International, Sister Susan Seeby virtually attended the United Nation’s 59th Session of the Commission for Social Development. This year’s focus was on a socially just transition towards sustainable development and explored the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all.

While there were more than 100 events and presentations offered, they primarily fell into the three categories discussed in the Civil Society Declaration

Digital Inclusion in Education and Social Protections for All

Digital Technology and Financing for Development: Eradication of Poverty and Promotion of Equality at Global and National Levels

Digital Technology and Good Governance: Creating a Legal Environment that Protects Human Rights, Respects Privacy, and Prevents Abuses

Attending the sessions virtually highlighted the need to bridge the digital divide and showed the many ways that the pandemic has accelerated the pace of technology development and innovations.

The commission issued, and CSA endorsed, a “Civil Society Declaration.” The declaration includes calls to action for UN Member States to guarantee, among other things, “internet connection as a fundamental right and provide appropriate funding to extend broadband internet and digital access to all, in rural and urban areas, for women and girls, elderly population, indigenous, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities and people living in poverty.” With young people throughout the world attending school remotely for the past year, the need for this action item and the others was readily apparent.

On first review, many of the action items seem beyond the reach of one single individual; upon further reflection, it becomes clear that individual actions can have a global impact. For example, providing digital literacy training at local service organizations, ensuring the use of closed captions during virtual meetings, and supporting community-funded broadband efforts are all the first steps in creating inclusive digital environments.

To read the full Civil Society Declaration, visit:

tinyurl.com/yeeoypr3

To watch presentations from the event, visit:

ngosocdev.org

 

Read the full issue of Reflections & Connections here.

Subscribe to Reflections & Connections here.

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