How to make data work for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Medidas adoptadas por la Junta de Comercio y Desarrollo 2023
How to make data work for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Item 3
12 mayo 2023

The Intergovernmental Group of Experts on E-commerce and the Digital Economy,

Recalling paragraph 100 (r) of the Nairobi Maafikiano (TD/519/Add.2), which called for the establishment of an intergovernmental group of experts on electronic commerce (e-commerce) and the digital economy,

Recalling the Bridgetown Covenant (TD/541/Add.2), in which member States instructed UNCTAD to strengthen the work on assisting developing countries to systematically assess their state-of-play and readiness to engage and integrate into the digital economy, thus contributing to the closing of the digital divide, and to conduct work across its three pillars on the development dimension of the use of data and frontier technologies,

Emphasizing that data could potentially become a key strategic focus point for addressing many economic, social and environmental challenges and offering new opportunities for inclusive economic growth and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,

Noting with concern that the digital and data divides have widened in recent years, while progress, hampered by the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, climate change, rising debt and conflict, has deteriorated with respect to sustainable development targets, such as those in relation to poverty, food security, the trade share of the least developed countries, immunization coverage and employment,

Welcoming UNCTAD assistance to developing countries, especially the least developed countries and small island developing States, in terms of strengthening their readiness to engage in and benefit from e-commerce and the digital economy,

Recognizing the role that data and data flows can play in contributing to the 2030 Agenda and the timeliness of the deliberations in this group of experts given the multiple related processes in the United Nations, such as the World Summit on the Information Society 20-year review, the Summit of the Future and other intergovernmental and multi- stakeholder forums, including the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit,

Reiterating the concerns regarding market concentration of global digital platforms and their market power, with consequential impacts on consumer behaviour and competition and, in this regard, reiterating the importance of the role of UNCTAD in assisting developing countries in the implementation of the United Nations guidelines for consumer protection,

  1. Encourages Governments and the international community to adopt policies to tackle economic and social inequalities in connection with digital and data divides so as to increase the resilience, infrastructure and capacities of countries to use digitalization to support economic growth and deal with crises; and to ensure that the benefits of digital transformation are shared by all, including by women, youth and other populations in vulnerable situations, to build a better future and accelerate the pace towards the timely accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  2. Invites Governments, in coordination with other stakeholders, to consider national and international policies that support and strengthen countries’ readiness to leverage the potential benefits of data, digitalization and cross-border data flows to meet the 2030 Agenda targets, in accordance with national regulations and international commitments, including existing trade commitments, while respecting data protection, privacy and human rights, as well as fostering confidence and trust;
  3. Stresses the need to build a deeper understanding of commonalities and differences in national definitions of concepts related to data governance, recognizing the multidimensional character of data and the varying perspectives of multiple stakeholders when designing and implementing different laws and regulations affecting data and data flows;
  4. Reiterates the need to strengthen efforts to measure the value from e-commerce and the digital economy, including data, and how it can be used for development purposes;
  5. Stresses that digitalization can be harnessed to achieve sustainable progress and build a more resilient, inclusive, environmentally sound and sustainable world, which will require increased global dialogue and international cooperation to broaden and strengthen the meaningful participation of developing countries in relevant processes and equitable opportunities for inclusive economic growth;
  6. Calls on Governments and other stakeholders to collaborate on inclusive global governance of data, using contributions from international organizations, including the United Nations, and to find common ground for data to work for people and the planet, ensuring no one is left behind, considering both economic and non-economic implications, and noting the ongoing consultations on the global digital compact;
  7. Calls on the international community to strengthen its support to developing countries most in need, especially given the inequalities and additional strains that interdependent crises have placed on public finances, and to increase the resources available to them to build their capacities to meaningfully participate in and benefit from data and the digital economy;
  8. Calls on UNCTAD to continue supporting countries in their efforts to increase their readiness for digital transformation, including data governance, and to help close the digital divide, while considering the development dimension and environmental sustainability of digitalization at all levels in its three pillars of work.


Closing plenary meeting
12 May 2023