NEW DELHI: The United Nations and its various affiliates have worked closely with G20 since the very beginning. The multilateral organisation has been regularly invited to provide expertise on economic and development issues.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been instrumental in pushing forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) at the G20 and the realisation of the G20 action Plan on the 2030 Agenda. The UN body is again geared up to provide support to India during its presidency beginning next month. .
The UN has often lauded India’s digital initiatives to ensure economic inclusion along with country’s lead digital payments system and infrastructure digitisation. The UN through it lead agency on international development, UNDP, has identified Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and Digital Public Goods (DPGs) for its support to India’s upcoming G20 presidency.
According to The Digital Public Goods Alliance, a multi-stakeholder initiative supported by the likes of UNDP and Unicef etc., DPI refers to digital solutions and systems that enable effective provision of essential society-wide functions and services in the public and private sectors.
DPG has a closer relation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It encompass open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the SDGs.
Some of the most common types of DPI, but not limited to, are digital forms of ID and verification, digital transactions and money transfer, data exchange. As the world is still reeling from Covid-19 and its aftereffects, the DPI has come at the forefront as a key mechanism to transform service delivery and increase resilience for future crises. It has become cornerstone for empowering meaningful delivery of public and private services. DPGs, as digital cooperation tools, are instrumental in shortening countries’ learning and adoption curve as they focus on building DPI.
Collaborating closely during India’s presidency, the UNDP will design and launch a Centre of Excellence with the aim of supporting low and middle income countries in adopting DPI. According to highly placed sources at the UNDP, the agency has identified, amongst others, iSpirt, ORF, Aapti and Gateway House as country partners. Based on the guidance of UNDP’s Digital Office, these organisations will focus on knowledge-sharing with the aim of institutionalising learnings into country strategies.
The UNDP is planning to develop a detailed plan of support on mainstreaming DPGs and share India’s achievements in DPI/DPGs globally. During the course of India’s G20 presidency, UNDP will also publish multiple documents with the theme ‘The India Story Goes Global: DPGs have been key to the meteoric growth of Digital India’; ‘Across Borders: Learnings from DPI Projects’- focused on identifying obstacles to knowledgesharing; ‘DPGs and Digital Sovereignty,’ with the focus on mainstreaming and DPIs as essential services and infrastructure.