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The Digital Ministers approves a Declaration identifying 12 actions to accelerate the digital transition of the economy and governments

August 5th, 2021

The Digital Ministers approves a Declaration identifying 12 actions to accelerate the digital transition of the economy and governments

The G20 Ministerial Meeting on digitalization was held today in Trieste and chaired by Minister for Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti and Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition Vittorio Colao. Undersecretary of State for Economic Development Anna Ascani also attended the meeting.

The Italian Presidency placed the issue of the digital transformation of productive activities towards sustainable economic growth at the heart of the debate, with a particular focus on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, social inclusion, governance, and the development and application of innovative technologies.

Building on the achievements and commitments of past Presidencies and acknowledging the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the economy, employment, and the wellbeing of our societies, Ministers recognized their responsibility to work together to increase the overall positive effects of digitalisation, building on common objectives and converging on action principles as a means to accelerate the digital transformation and reflect on how to reap its benefits, while addressing the challenges ahead. The work of the DETF (Digital Economy Task Force) was enriched by a multistakeholder approach through the organisation of dialogue forums and consultations with engagement groups.

G20 Members signed a Declaration that identifies 12 actions to accelerate the digital transition:

  • Digital Transformation in Production for Sustainable Growth. Ministers commit to leveraging digitalisation for an economic recovery that intends to be resilient, strong, sustainable and inclusive, in the three dimensions of “people, planet and prosperity”, leaving no one behind. Ministers recognise that companies have to be prepared for the “new normal” and for further technological shifts, in order to cope with future challenges towards a sustainable, open, shared and more innovative economy. They acknowledge that there is a need to increase efforts on developing a human-centered approach to digital economy that also takes into account the needs and perspective of traditionally vulnerable groups. Ministers therefore commit to take action towards reinforcing industrial policies and international cooperation for the digital transformation of production for sustainable growth, in a way beneficial to all.
  • Leveraging Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence for MSME Inclusiveness and Promotion of Startups. Ministersreaffirm their willingness to implement trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). They acknowledge the need to bolster the AI capabilities of MSMEs, including their capability to use data, access finance, share opportunities, and build a talented and skilled workforce.
  • Measurement, Practice and Impact of the Digital Economy. To support an inclusive and multi-stakeholder dialogue on measurement, Ministers affirm that the 2020 Roadmap can help ensure that measurement of the digital economy remains a priority in G20 countries and in International Organisations, and that adequate resources are devoted to its implementation. They value the contribution of sharing good practices, also in relation to monitoring digital economy developments beyond the G20 itself, especially with regard to the measurement of AI and the digital gender divide.
  • Consumers Awareness and Protection in the Global Digital Economy. Ministerscommit to take action to raise awareness, educate and support consumers, including through digital literacy programs, with the aim of preventing the detriment of consumers and ensuring consumer protection regarding product quality and safety, privacy and personal data protection, and unfair commercial practices, with particular consideration for vulnerable consumers. They also stress the need to promote stronger international cooperation, including between consumer protection authorities. Furthermore, the Presidency opened the dialogue on distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, and produced a G20 Report on Blockchain in Global Value Chains to increase knowledge on transparency and accountability of products for the benefit of consumers.
  • Child Protection and Empowerment in the Digital Environment. Ministers are pleased to include the protection and empowerment of children in the digital environment, for the first time, among the priorities of the G20 Digital Economy. They stress theshared responsibility of different stakeholders, especially the providers of digital services and products, in creating a digital environment that both empowers and protects children. To promote a safe, secure, inclusive, transparent and beneficial digital environment for children, centered around age-appropriate and high-quality online content, Ministers are guided by the G20 High Level Principles on child protection and empowerment, drawn from the OECD Recommendation, which can be instrumental to guide policies.
  • Encourage Innovation for Smart Cities and Communities. Ministers welcome the Italian Presidency’s Report of G20 Practices of Innovative Public Procurement for Smart Cities and Communities, as a tool to increase and share knowledge.
  • Connectivity and Social Inclusion. Ministers affirm their commitment to bridge connectivity gaps, and encourage the goal of promoting universal and affordable access to connectivity for all by 2025. They believe that enhanced collaboration and exchange of practices at international level and interaction with stakeholders can contribute to our connectivity and social inclusion goals.
  • Data Free Flow with Trust and Cross-border Data Flows. Building upon and recognising the work and achievements of the Japanese and Saudi Presidencies, Ministers acknowledge the work of the OECD on Mapping Commonalities in Regulatory Approaches to Cross-border Data Transfers, which identifies “commonalities, complementarities and elements of convergence” across different approaches. Such commonalities can foster future interoperability.
  • Digital Tools for Public Services. Moving from the 2018 G20 Digital Government Principles, developed under the Argentine Presidency, Ministers focused on how to guide and improve the digitalisation of public services to better meet the needs of citizens. They therefore commit to pursue and ensure the quality, diffusion and accessibility of digital public services, and to foster better skills for civil servants.
  • Digital identity. The importance of easily usable, reliable, secure, trusted, and portable digital identity solutions is recognised as a means to guarantee secure access to digital services to citizens and businesses, protecting their privacy. Reference is also made to the potential of digital identity in emergency and humanitarian aid contexts. 
  • Agile Regulation. The role of agile regulation in fostering innovation and economic growth, as well as in controlling and preventing possible negative impacts of technological progress on society and on the planet is acknowledged. The contribution of the Survey on agile regulation across G20 Members is welcomed as a useful tool to share experiences and common approaches to more agile governance and regulatory models for innovation.
  • Transformation of the task force into a permanent Working Group. Ministers commit to continue working towards digitalization for resilient, strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery while tackling inequalities. In this regard they welcome the transformation of the Digital Economy Task Force (DETF) into a Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG).