UNESCO convenes a global dialogue series with Portulans Institute on digital transformation and COVID-19

In order to ensure global dialogue about global cooperation to support a digital transformation that is ethical, human-centric, and leaves no individual or community behind, the Portulans Institute, with the support of UNESCO, will be hosting a series of online events focused on digital transformation and COVID-19, ensuring multi-stakeholder dialogue on how we can build forward better in a post COVID world and ensure inclusive digital transformation.
This series of events will begin with the global dialogue “Building Forward Better: Network Readiness and Digital Transformation in a post-COVID World”, on October 19th, 2020, from 9 am to 11 am EST. Register to attend here. On this occasion, Portulans will also launch the 2020 Network Readiness Index.

This will be followed by a series of follow-up events, focused on digital transformation in different regions and featuring local UNESCO representatives. Visit the Portulans website for further information about globally-renowned speakers. Find more regional events information and register here.

In the midst of the global pandemic, digital technologies have captured our imagination for their potential to support us in the fight against COVID-19. Emerging technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have helped to expedite the development of a vaccine; predict which public health measures would be most effective; and to keep the public updated with scientific information. They have also allowed us to move much of our lives online, maintaining economic and education systems when most people are staying home and helping us to remain connected to one another. The pandemic has offered examples of how digital tools can be leveraged to build a better, more inclusive, and cooperative future. Since the early months of 2020, the realities of living, working, and studying in a COVID-19 world have spurred unprecedented digital transformations for individuals, firms, and governments. The crisis has contributed to the emergence of a new normal, one more digital than ever before.

Yet, not all regions and social groups are equally able to harness the potential of digital technologies to combat the virus. According to the State of Broadband 2019 Report, although internet user penetration rate is 51.2%, it is only 45% in developing countries and 20% in the least developed countries. The digital and knowledge divides have always existed, but in a situation where many people have to stay home, it transforms from a disadvantage to a debilitating disability. Work is needed in the long-term to increase access to digital technologies, and in the short-term, to ensure that lack of access does not translate into an inability to continue daily life.

In anticipation of the events, Portulans has collaborated with leading world experts on digital transformation, including ministers, CEOs, and thought-leaders, to produce the Dialogue on Digital Transformation: a series of virtual conversations tackling this year’s most pressing questions about digital readiness for the post-COVID-19 world.