Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Mr.Boris Meshchanov during the general discussions of the Second Committee of the 77th session of UNGA under agenda items 15 "Information and communication technologies for sustainable development" and 20 "Globalization and interdependence"
The coronavirus pandemic has not only resulted in economic difficulties in all countries , but also wreaked havoc on human potential. At the same time, it allowed the best qualities of the human spirit to emerge, namely, innovative thinking and solidarity. This was most clearly manifested in the accelerated construction of digital infrastructure, connecting over a billion people to the Internet during the year, including students in school. A new “data economy” has emerged. In this context, the Second Committee presents an appropriate forum to consider the impact of the described phenomena on the three dimensions of sustainable development, while implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, with a focus on bridging the digital divide.
Russia attaches key importance to the digitalization of public administration, primarily in the provision of social services and taxation, the introduction of artificial intelligence technologies in urban development, agriculture and transport, and support for small and medium-sized businesses in the IT-sector. Undoubtedly, the unprecedented technological blockade launched against our country may change the architecture of the Russian IT infrastructure and the usual landscape of international cooperation, but in the medium term it will not affect its effectiveness and contribution to achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth in our country, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report of the Secretary-General on ICT rightly notes the role of digital technologies in reversing the effects of the pandemic. At the same time, digitalization has not been able to completely substitute the traditional interpersonal forms of communication, education and business at the workplace and in the service sector. Its “shadow” sides have also become apparent. They are the growth of inequalities within and among countries, the monopolization of growing market sectors, the "creeping" loss of national sovereignty. In this regard, we note with satisfaction the launch of consultations of member countries on the Global Digital Compact. Russia is convinced of the need to develop a global policy in the field of Internet governance in an intergovernmental format. The regulation of online space exclusively by the private sector has proven to be ineffective. At the same time, we proceed from the fact that the Committee will focus on developmental issues, leaving discussions in the field of human rights and security in the use of ICTs, to the Third and First Committees, respectively.
The “costs” of digital transformation lead us to my nect point which is, the importance of curbing uncontrolled globalization. To this end, leading world experts, such as the UN consultant on sustainable development, J. Sachs, are calling for a return to dialogue. In order to avoid further fragmentation of the world trade and financial systems, emerging split in the Internet space, unilateral economic measures and blockades, the attempts of "cancelling" entire peoples and national cultures, bloc thinking, the politicization of international financial institutions, the use of reserve currencies as weapons, refusal to fulfill obligations, unfair competition, must be rejected. Russia has proposed the project of the Greater Eurasian Partnership based on the alignment of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN. It is also in the common interest to ensure the stable work of the main UN bodies instead of trying to isolate or block each other in multilateral forums.
Until recently, migrants were considered the “beneficiaries” of the successes of globalization. Countries of origin, transit and destination are equally interested in organizing safe legal and orderly migration. We positively assess the final declaration on the progress of the Migration Review Forum, which took place in May this year.
Unfortunately, we see elements of discrimination against migrants, including Russian speakers in Western countries, based on nationality, language, culture, and faith. This reduces their contribution to the sustainable development of host societies. We consider it important to draw the Committee's attention to this. The situation in Russia is different – more than 10 million people currently live and work in our country. The funds sent by them to their homeland reach record amounts - and at the most favorable rates - only 1% of the transfer amount. The most attractive working conditions have been offered to highly qualified specialists.
In conclusion, I would like to note that we consider regional integration processes to be a promising form of inclusion of migrants in the economic sphere. Within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, we are implementing programs on mutual access to labor markets, basic education and health services, and social security.