Institute of Future and Innovation Studies Director Francesco Lapenta Invited to UN Summit in New York

The JCU Institute of Future and Innovation Studies‘ Director Francesco Lapenta was recently invited to contribute to the first summit on the “Citizen Stack: Digital Public Infrastructure, Transformative Technology for Citizens” at the UN in New York. The event was held on April 25 and 26, hosted by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations & Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Govt. of India.

Institute of Future and Innovation Studies Director Francesco Lapenta
Institute of Future and Innovation Studies Director Francesco Lapenta

Digital Public Infrastructures (DPI) are a crucial part of the global conversation about the affordances of digital services for citizens in developing countries and all others. Countries like India are at the forefront of this conversation, recognizing the transformative power of DPI in empowering citizens and fostering innovation. Lapenta discussed the necessity of working towards the recognition and regulation of the digital realm and AI as global commons. The important principle established by the concept of global commons is that there are resources that belong to all of humanity and that as such they have to be protected and equally shared.

In the last few years, there has been increasing debate over the potential recognition of the digital domain as a global commons. The concept of the digital commons doesn’t contest the intellectual property rights connected to individual digital applications; instead, it asserts that the digital realm in which they operate as a whole is a shared global commons, and that as such it requires a set of protocols, treaties or conventions to guarantee the fair, safe and shared use of its resources. Given the global nature of these technologies, it is argued, that the UN should have the responsibility to lead these negotiations for the fair and shared use of these digital resources, just as it has with the governance of resources such as the oceans.

Facilitating the dialogue among all national representatives were presentations by:

H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis – President of the UN General Assembly
Mr. Ashwini Vaishnaw – Hon’ble Minister for Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Govt. of India
Amandeep Gill Singh – Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology
Amitabh Kant – G20 Sherpa, Government of India Official
Ruchira Kamboj – Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations
Henri Verdier – French Ambassador for Digital Affairs
Achim Steiner – Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Dame Wendy Hall – Regius Professor of Computer Science, and Director Web Science Institute, University of Southampton
Parameswaran Iyer – Executive Director, World Bank
Sharad Sharma – Co-founder of iSPIRTDr
Srivatsa Krishna – IASDawit
Mulugeta Dame – Head of Strategy, National ID Program, Ethiopia
Fred Sotelo Sollesta – Deputy National Statistician at Philippine Statistics Authority
Keyzom Ngodup Massally – UNDP