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will power economic growth and solve the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges is not held back by outdated regulations.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.”
Ensuring a More Inclusive Future for Indonesia through Digital Technologies
While Indonesia has one of the fastest growing digital economies in South East Asia, action is needed to ensure that all Indonesians, especially the most vulnerable, can access various digital technologies and services and realize the benefits, according to a new World Bank report ‘Beyond Unicorns: Harnessing Digital Technologies for Inclusion in Indonesia’.
Although the accelerated adoption of internet-enabled services during the pandemic is likely to boost the growth of the digital economy, the benefits of such development could be unequal.
“There are a whole host of opportunities to use digital technologies for promoting better healthcare delivery, and improving access among the underserved but these need to be built on a base of reliable and interoperable data systems,” said Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, Budi Gunadi Sadikin. “The pandemic has generated an unprecedented urgency to make this a reality and has also created a momentum to expedite adoption of digital technologies.”
For Indonesia to leverage digital technologies for greater inclusion, the new report emphasizes three policy priorities. The first is to boost digital connectivity and universalize access to high quality internet through efforts such as improving clarity of regulations around the sharing of telecom infrastructure. The second priority is to ensure that the digital economy works for all. This can be supported by better logistics and greater investment in relevant skills for the digital era. The third priority is using digital technologies to provide better public services, improve the quality of citizen-and-state interactions, and build trust in the digital world.
Despite the progress in expanding internet over the past decade, the basic connectivity gap remains a major hurdle in Indonesia. Almost half of the adult population is still without access while the urban-rural connectivity divide has not narrowed. In 2019, 62 percent of Indonesian adults in urban areas were connected to the internet compared to 36 percent in rural areas, while it was 20 percent and 6 percent respectively in 2011. Indonesians in the top 10 percent of the income distribution were five times more likely to be connected than those in the bottom 10 percent.
“Addressing the digital divide goes beyond efforts to reduce the connectivity gap,” said Satu Kahkonen, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste.“It will be crucial to help citizens develop the skills to maximize digital opportunities, especially for better jobs. At the same time, it is equally important for the government to address the challenges related to regulations and business environment to enable firms to innovate and compete effectively.”
The proportion of Indonesian adults with access to the internet has increased from 13 percent in 2011 to 51 percent in 2019. Indonesians who are connected to the internet are among the most engaged populations in the world spending as many as six hours a day online. In addition, a large segment of this population is ready to intensify their digital interactions with the government. However, fragmentation of data and an untapped potential of building a comprehensive digital ID framework off the existing ID system are some of the key challenges holding back the government from a broader digital transformation.
Digitally engaged Indonesians are now experiencing how technologies reshape their lives and commercial activities contributing to better consumer experience. However, the opportunities are often limited to a particular demographic group with relatively higher level of skills. Digital gig work is more remunerative than other forms of informal work but is concentrated among urban male workers predominantly in the transportation, storage, and communications sector.
The report recommends the development of a national digital ID framework to enable Indonesians to prove their identity securely online, including a law on personal data protection that is backed by an independent oversight body. It calls for a reorientation from a narrow focus on e-government to a more comprehensive national digital transformation agenda.
WEF Launches Coalition to Tackle Harmful Online Content
The World Economic Forum announced today that it is launching a Global Coalition for Digital Safety which will accelerate public-private cooperation to tackle harmful content online. It will serve to exchange best practices for new online safety regulation, take coordinated action to reduce the risk of online harms, and drive collaboration on programmes to enhance digital media literacy. The full list of members can be found here.
With the growing challenge of health misinformation, violent extremist and terrorist content, and the exploitation and abuse of children online, there is an urgent need for more deliberate global coordination to improve digital safety.
“The Forum recognizes this problem is only growing in size and complexity. This Coalition serves to bring together leaders in the public and private sector to cooperate globally on solutions that will ultimately reduce the consumption and distribution of material that is causing harm – especially to vulnerable members of our population,” said Cathy Li, Head of Media, Entertainment, and Sport Industries at the Forum.
Coalition members highlighted the need to act more proactively when it comes to digital safety and the importance of further cooperation:
“All the processes of the modern world are connected to the internet and information technologies. But at the same time, when we speak about high-tech processes, ‘digitalization’, we always know about the main goal – to create a safe online environment for our citizens. Therefore, the global initiative to create purposeful cooperation between states, organizations and businesses is extremely relevant.”
H.E. Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Ukraine
“In order to improve digital safety, it is imperative that we accelerate public-private cooperation. This is an area that the World Economic Forum’s Global Coalition for Digital Safety, as an impartial platform, can look into.”
H.E. Johnny G. Plate,Minister of Communications and Informatics, Indonesia
“The significance of national and international collaboration, multistakeholder engagement and investment in holistic solutions to address the proliferation of global online harms has never been more important. I am so pleased to be part of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Content Safety initiative and to have an opportunity to raise awareness about eSafety’s multifaceted approach to helping our citizens have safer, more positive experiences online. Securing harmonization across jurisdictions to avoid a patchwork and fragmentation of online safety legislation, governance arrangements and national online safety measures should be a priority for us all.”
Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner, Australia
“Global online safety is a collective goal that must be addressed by working across borders as well as by individual nations. We look forward to collaborating with international Coalition members to reduce the risk of online harms and build a safer life online for everyone.”
Dame Melanie Dawes, Chief Executive, Ofcom, UK
“We believe that everyone should be free to share without harassment or abuse.”
Chris Priebe, Executive Chairman, Two Hat Security
“Technology offers tools to learn, play, connect, and contribute to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. But digital safety harms remain a threat to these possibilities. As the World Economic Forum is uniquely positioned to accelerate the public-private collaboration needed to advance digital safety globally, Microsoft is eager to participate and help build whole-of-society solutions to this whole-of-society problem.”
Courtney Gregoire, Chief Digital Safety Officer, Microsoft
A framework proposed in the new report, Advancing Digital Safety, will serve to better protect users online. It is centred on industry standards, which establish a safety baseline, together with regulation to govern enforcement. Coalition members are committed to charting a course that will resolve key tensions in privacy, safety, expression, business incentives and corporate versus public responsibility to effectively minimize the risk of harms encountered online.
How digitalization helps Moscow and its citizens
The unified digital register, an electronic system of interdepartmental interaction, provides departments with access to more than 390 types of documents – certificates, statements and other information needed to provide city services to residents.
The system allows citizens to avoid wasting time collecting a number of documents themselves. Government employees responsible for providing services can receive and process information more quickly.
“Creation and development of the base register allowed Moscow to transfer many state services into electronic form, including services related to construction and realty spheres, where several authorities and organizations are involved. In addition, the electronic interdepartmental interaction helps the staff of “My Documents” centers to provide services to citizens and solve their problems more quickly. Almost all the necessary information is acquired electronically from each other, so that residents do not have to collect certificates and statements themselves. According to the statistics of the Moscow City Information Technologies Department, over the past 10 years, this system has saved Moscow citizens from having to submit more than 400 million documents,” said Eduard Lysenko, Minister of the Moscow City Government, Head of the Information Technologies Department.
Today, the mos.ru website gives users access to a full range of services needed by citizens in certain life situations, such as the birth of a child or purchase of a car. The first service on the mos.ru portal was the “Relocation help under the Renovation Programme” service. At the moment, it offers interactive instructions, notification service for all stages of moving and a service to call movers who will help move things to a new flat.
In the future, the city will continue to develop the mos.ru portal services so that residents will be obligated to visit authorities in person and present original documents as rarely as possible.
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