The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought economic and social disruption worldwide. As people and businesses focus on recovery, governments must ensure that innovation which will power economic growth and solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges is not held back by outdated regulations.
Speaking at a panel organized by the World Economic Forum and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ministers from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom announced their plan to lead the world in fostering responsible innovation and entrepreneurship. The Agile Nations Charter sets out each country’s commitment to creating a regulatory environment in which new ideas can thrive.
In a world first, the agreement paves the way for the nations to cooperate in helping innovators navigate each country’s rules, test new ideas with regulators and scale them across the seven markets. Priority areas for cooperation include the green economy, mobility, data, financial and professional services, and medical diagnosis and treatment.
The collaboration is a result of the World Economic Forum’s project on Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which supports regulators around the globe respond to technological innovation. In conjunction with this project:
- The World Economic Forum today published its guide to better regulation of emerging technologies, developed in partnership with the Global Future Council on Agile Governance
- The OECD launched the development of principles on effective and innovation-friendly rule-making in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for its 37 member states, to be adopted in 2021
- At 15.00 CET today, Apolitical will reveal the winners of the first Agile 50 awards, sponsored by the Global Future Council on Agile Governance, recognizing the world’s top public leaders on technology governance
“Too often, rules and laws are designed with the past in mind,” said Murat Sönmez, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. “Our Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution help governments, businesses and citizens co-design for the future – enabling the innovation that will be needed to create jobs, maintain competitiveness and ensure resilience to shocks. We’re excited to work with the new Agile Nations network.”
“Against a backdrop of a once-in-a-century global health and economic crisis, governments need to undertake a paradigm shift in their rule-making activities,” said Jeffrey Schlagenhauf, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD. “To help governments navigate the challenges and develop more agile approaches to the regulatory governance of innovation, the OECD is developing principles on effective and innovation-friendly rulemaking in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Agile Nations network is an extremely timely initiative to truly foster international regulatory cooperation for better, innovation-friendly and up-to-date regulations worldwide.”
“The UK has a proud history of entrepreneurship and discovery, but it is only by working together internationally that we can truly unleash the incredible potential of new technology,” said Martin Callanan, Business Minister, United Kingdom. “The Agile Nations will boost collaboration to remove regulatory barriers, ensuring innovators and entrepreneurs can market and scale their innovations across all seven nations involved, and I urge other countries to join this important initiative.”
“Canada’s endorsement of the Agile Nations agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating a regulatory environment where innovation can flourish and our respective businesses can be more efficient and competitive globally,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board of Canada. “Canada is ready to play its part in sharing ideas and best practices on agile regulation.”
“As an international company, Siemens has always supported cross-border collaboration,” said Torsten Ende, Head of Government Affairs, Siemens. “Cross-border collaboration of regulators is the best way to avoid unnecessary divergence that could hamper innovation and to ensure future-oriented cooperation and technology with purpose. The proposed Agile Nations network, which fosters cooperation on rule-making, is a great step in the right direction.”
“Regulatory agility, strong business-government partnerships and constructive international regulatory co-operation are key in enabling innovation and helping businesses to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Low Yen Ling, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore. “Singapore looks forward to working closely with the Agile Nations network to strengthen collaboration in agile regulation to enable businesses and emerging innovations to rapidly scale up, offer new solutions and drive greater growth.”
“We fully support this Agile Nations network as an initiative to promote international cooperation regarding the concept of ‘governance innovation’ agreed at the 2019 G20 Ministerial Meeting held in Japan. We are happy to share our experiences and knowledge about innovative governance, including projects of the Digital Architecture Design Centre established this year,” said Kouichi Munekiyo, Parliamentary Vice-Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.
“IBM is pleased to support the Agile Nations initiative,” said Christopher Padilla, Vice-President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, IBM. “Even as new breakthroughs in technology are creating immense opportunities and improving economic and social well-being, these innovations are challenging traditional models of regulation. Promoting agile governance is a key mechanism for ensuring we reap technology’s benefits while mitigating risks. The Agile Nations Charter is an important step in fostering the international cooperation necessary to delivering on the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“The creation of the Agile Nations network is a welcome development for technology innovators,” said Diana Paredes, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Suade Labs. “Regulation that is designed for the past and a lack of coordination between regulators is particularly burdensome for innovative start-ups and SMEs. We are excited about this initiative and hopeful that it will encourage diversity and creativity from a wide range of innovators in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“Sperimentazione Italia (Italy Experimentation) allows companies, universities and research institutions to experiment with frontier innovations so that disruptive innovations’ opportunities are not missed. The time is ready to extend and apply the testing of ‘agile regulation’ within the international cooperation among countries,” said Paola Pisano, Minister of Technological Innovation, Italy.
“Facebook welcomes the ‘Agile Nations’ initiative and the commitment to foster cooperation on innovative regulatory practices. We agree with the need for more agile governance of emerging technologies as a collaborative approach involving governments, academia, civil society and industry. To complement this initiative, we will be launching a cross-cutting call for research proposals on different methodological approaches to rulemaking,” said Markus Reinisch, VP, Public Policy EMEA, Facebook.
“The UAE government is proud to endorse the Agile Nations network, which would help adopt agile governance and innovation to build strong, capable and resilient governments, and enable them to tackle future challenges with proactive solutions,” said Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, United Arab Emirates.
“New technologies can accelerate the transition to a more green and sustainable society,” said Katrine Winding, Director-General, Danish Business Authority. “However, regulatory and other barriers currently prevent start-ups and innovative SMEs in particular from bringing their ideas to market. Through innovation-friendly regulation we will support the testing and development of new solutions, ensure equal competition and protect our citizens and the environment. This is no simple task. Denmark looks forward to addressing key challenges through the Agile Nations network.”
Moscow electronic school — the future of education
The Moscow Electronic School (“MES”) project is a cloud-based Internet platform launched in 2016 that unites all educational institutions in Moscow into a single high-tech environment. After successful testing, since September 1, 2017, the MES has been implemented in all educational organizations (schools, kindergartens, colleges) in Moscow and is available online for any user from anywhere in the world, from any device 24/7/365. Today MES unites about 3 million participants in the educational process of the capital, including teachers, students and their parents.
The Moscow Electronic School project is aimed at the most effective use of the school’s IT capabilities to improve the quality of student education by forming a connection between the organizational and content aspects of the educational process (interactive equipment, as well as personal devices of users connected to the Internet, are linked with the educational materials of the platform).
The “MES” platform provides automation of most of the organizational, methodological and pedagogical tasks solved in a modern large educational organization, makes the content of education more accessible, allows in practice to implement modern pedagogical technologies and approaches, for example, blended learning, distance and electronic education.
Today “MES” has become a real digital assistant for the modern teacher. Thanks to special digital constructors, Moscow teachers in the “MES” Library create lesson scripts, “folk” textbooks, self-study guides, tests that students use in class, when preparing design work at school, in the course of independent work. Thus, the service allows not only to use the posted educational materials, but also to supplement the cloud educational platform with its developments and content, as well as to share them with colleagues. Electronic versions of textbooks, teaching aids, interactive applications and other modern digital content allow the teacher to diversify the content of the assignments and make the learning process fun for children and more effective.
The key elements of the digital educational platform are an electronic journal, an electronic diary, a library of electronic materials, the “Moskvenok” service (Pass and Power system), as well as infrastructure solutions: Wi-Fi access points with high-speed Internet, school servers, touch-controlled interactive panels with a built-in computer, teachers’ tablets and laptops, a video surveillance system and turnstiles at the entrance.
“MES Library” is a unique repository of educational electronic materials and tools. The service is implemented in the web version and as a mobile application “MES Library”. Library materials are available online at no cost to any user from anywhere in the world.
The “Moskvenok” service helps parents place an order for their child’s hot meals (if the school is connected to the hot meal ordering service from the menu), check his arrival or departure from school, college or kindergarten, control his meals in the school cafeteria and the costs of the cafeteria. Children can use the “Moskvenok” carrier (bracelet, keychain or card) as a pass to an educational organization and museums in Moscow, as well as for non-cash payments for purchases at school.
The electronic diary contains complete information on training: curriculum for the year ahead, schedule and attendance of classes, progress, analytics. The service makes it possible to find out about current events and activities. It is available both in the web version and in the form of the “MES Diary” mobile application.
In the new academic year, “MES” will be replenished with a wide range of diverse partner educational content, which has already proven itself well among teachers and schoolchildren. Thanks to this, an additional 45 thousand units of new tools and materials will appear in the library: interactive presentations for lessons, design and research tasks, virtual laboratories and tests. Most of the tasks will be self-checking, that is, after completing the work, the teacher, student and parent can immediately familiarize themselves with the results.
Another important area in the Moscow Electronic School is virtual laboratories – interactive online simulators of experiences and experiments for children and adults, which allow improving knowledge and skills in the subjects of the school curriculum. At the beginning of the academic year, new virtual laboratories for drawing, inorganic chemistry, computer science, mathematics, biology and physics will appear at the “MES”.
This year, in the library of the Moscow Electronic School, the collection of virtual laboratories has been replenished with 10 new laboratories in the section of biology “Cytology” for schoolchildren in grades 5-11. It has an interactive virtual microscope that allows you to view individual cells. And the children can consolidate the knowledge gained by “collecting” cells in a game format, solving an interactive problem or passing a thematic quiz.
It is now possible to design and conduct experiments on electrostatics, magnetostatics and electromagnetism in the virtual laboratory “Electromagnetic field. Faraday”, which became the fifth in the line of physics laboratories. The new laboratory will help schoolchildren to master the main sections of electrodynamics: electrostatics, magnetic field and electromagnetic phenomena.
Another novelty is the virtual laboratory “MES Informatics” for students in grades 7-11. Children will be able to test their knowledge using 290 ready-made tests, practice using more than 9 thousand tasks, and also take 254 programming courses.
An important innovation of the “MES” is the new “Student portfolio” service. It will accumulate the results and achievements of schoolchildren not only in the educational part, but also in olympiads, competitions, sports competitions. Also, students and their parents will be able to independently enter information into the new service, edit data and share their portfolio with friends, teachers, organizations.
Thematic materials about Russian writers
At the end of July, the project “Moscow Electronic School” made available thematic materials about the life and work of one of the greatest poets of the golden age of Russian literature – Mikhail Lermontov.
Also, the project “Moscow Electronic School” presented a thematic selection of materials about the life and work of Fyodor Dostoevsky in the year of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the writer. Schoolchildren are offered to go on a virtual trip to St. Petersburg of the XIX century and get acquainted with the peculiarities of the worldview of the classic.
First-of-Its-Kind Blueprint for Data Policy Adopted by City of Helsinki
The World Economic Forum today released Empowered Data Societies: A Human-centric Approach to Data Relationships. The framework put forth in the white paper ensures that data is used in responsible and innovative ways to create progress while respecting, valuing and empowering people and communities.
As part of a year-long partnership with the City of Helsinki, the World Economic Forum convened a global community of technologists, anthropologists and policy and data experts to develop a new way to create data policy oriented around the values, needs and expectations of people.
By leading with the interests of those generating data or most impacted by resulting insights, this approach mitigates the trade-offs between innovation and privacy.
The Forum worked with a dedicated team of data practitioners and policy-makers with the City of Helsinki to apply this new methodology to develop a dedicated anonymization pipeline for complex personal data that will allow for maximal data utilisation anchored in respect for individuals and their privacy. New pathways, processes and tools were also created to document a best practice blueprint for human-centric proactive services, which Helsinki will open-source for future expanded use and improvement.
“Throughout this year-long partnership we were motivated by the principle that human-centricity is neither a ‘nice to have’ nor a ‘deluxe’ approach to data. Human-centricity can and should be the foundation upon which to build empowered data societies. With the release of this paper, we aim to share frameworks, insights and best practices so policy-makers around the world can adopt and build systems that use data in responsible and innovative ways to create progress that legitimately serves people and communities,” said Sheila Warren, Deputy Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, World Economic Forum.
The City of Helsinki created several tools to enable efficient utilization of extremely sensitive data. The main principle behind the blueprint is that the storage, anonymization and processing of data are separated and that different individuals perform each task.
Forging a way to create entirely new data analytics capabilities for Helsinki has resulted in a new technical environment for treating sensitive personal data with the highest ethical, data protection and cybersecurity standards. This environment will be used as the city continues accelerating its use of data to provide more personalized and timely services for its residents and visitors.
“Helsinki’s commitment to serving its citizens requires going beyond traditional service provision and tapping into the full potential of data to deliver the best quality services in the most efficient way possible. Using data responsibly requires the development and implementation of new practices that are human-centric – those that assure citizens’ interests are respected and prioritized at all times, empower citizens to improve their own lives through data, and increase participation in the overall ecosystem by building trustworthy data relationships,” said Jan Vapaavuori, Urban Activist and Mayor of Helsinki (2017-2021).
Much of the data needed to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges is siloed in public and private sources. Even for social good, the various regulatory, commercial and social risks prevent data sharing. The Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Data Policy Platform works with partners from all sectors, regions and industries to develop agile and innovative approaches to accelerate the responsible use of data and empower stakeholders across the entire data ecosystem.
Digital billboards bring real-time air pollution data to Nairobi
Digital billboards around the Kenyan capital today started to live stream Nairobi’s real-time air pollution in an effort to increase air quality awareness among the city’s 4.7 million inhabitants.
The initiative – by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company, Safaricom, a telecommunications provider in Kenya, Alpha and Jam Ltd and Metropolitan Star Lite Ltd, Out Of Home (OOH) media – provides real-time air quality information for some of the most harmful type of air pollution, fine airborne particles, known as PM2.5. The pilot aims to engage the public by streaming real-time air pollution information to digital billboards at 4 critical locations in the city: Moi Avenue, University Way, Mbagathi Way and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
PM2.5causes serious health issues, including asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. Exposure to PM2.5has also been associated with low birth weight, increased acute respiratory infections, and stroke.
“Real time air quality monitoring will help us with the issuance of health advisories as well as for formulation of smart traffic controls that minimize congestion,” said Lawrence Mwangi, Assistant Director of Environment in charge of pollution control at the Nairobi County Government. “Dynamic advisories demonstrated through this collaboration will help people limit their exposure to harmful pollutants.”
Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal. More than 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution. Outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012 with 88% of those premature deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
Policies and investments supporting cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing, power generation, industry and better municipal waste management would reduce key sources of urban outdoor air pollution. Most residents of the city do not have access to real-time air quality data and consequently, are often unaware of the harmful levels of air they breathe.
“Action on air pollution, which is responsible for millions of premature deaths a year, is critical – efforts should focus on high-risk communities, such as people living in informal urban settlements,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Innovations to reach and engage the local community and decision-makers alike, can only elevate the understanding of the impacts of air quality and help create an enabling environment improve human and ecosystem health.”
“We recognize that some of the world’s most vulnerable communities are disproportionately affected by poor air quality,” said IQAir CEO Frank Hammes. “Through our partnership with UNEP, we are able to leverage real-time air quality monitoring data, machine learning and data visualization to help identify those that are most affected by global air pollution. The real-time visibility of the impact of air pollution on mankind, combined with the outreach and support that the UNEP offers, can help governments and communities around the world take actions that lead to cleaner, healthier air.”
The Nairobi air quality awareness demonstration project is the result of a unique collaboration between the UN, the private sector, academia, non-governmental and local governmental organizations and is expected to accelerate efforts to change how transport, waste management and other services are managed in cities so that air pollution from these activities is significantly reduced, if not eliminated.
“This partnership lies very much at the heart of our sustainability agenda that seeks to address environmental issues such as air pollution which remains a major challenge especially in urban centres. We intend to use our digital platforms and expansive network infrastructure to support the air quality monitoring project to expand across more urban areas in Kenya. We will also foster partnerships with other stakeholders including regulators, relevant ministries and private organizations to help build a compressive and sustainable air quality monitoring system in the long run”, said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
The demonstration project comes as the world celebrates the 2nd International Day for Clean Air and blue skies on 7 September, this year held under the theme, Healthy Air, Healthy Planet. The Day calls for increased international cooperation at the global, regional and sub-regional levels. It provides a platform for strengthening global solidarity as well as political momentum for action against air pollution and climate change, including the increased collection of air quality data, carrying out joint research, developing new technologies and sharing best practices.
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