The Just Net Coalition (JNC) made a submission with comments and text suggestions to the Zero Draft of the Doha Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries. The Zero Draft was released by the co-chairs of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), Bangladesh and Canada, on July 12, 2021.
The submission is concerned about the following gaps in the Zero Draft:
- Lack of recognition of national digital sovereignty of LDCs towards building domestic digital capability and a complete reliance on the market model of technology transfer
- Inattention to major deficits in global digital governance arrangements
In response, it calls for the following specific changes:
- Proposal 1: Targets with respect to LDCs reaping the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution should shift the bar to building not just ‘adequate’, but also ‘autonomous’ platform, data and AI infrastructure.
- Proposal 2: Targets with respect to significantly improving STI infrastructure in LDCs should also include ‘support to LDCs in evolving national level data and AI strategy roadmaps by 2030’ and ‘significantly improving domestic innovation capabilities for national economic resilience’.
- Proposal 3: By 2031, at least 10% of ODA to LDCs should focus on supporting the development of autonomous connectivity, platform, data, and AI infrastructures.
- Proposal 4: By 2025, the year that marks the WSIS plus 20 review milestone, countries must usher in an international regime for data that respects the jurisdictional sovereignty of national data resources.
- Proposal 5: The compass must shift from improving ‘ease-of-business’ for multinational corporations and move towards the reiteration of the human rights obligations of business and mandatory technology transfer conditionalities in private sector partnerships for science, technology, and innovation.
- Proposal 6: Global digital governance arrangements should be founded on the WSIS principles of a people-centered, development-oriented digital paradigm. Dominant digital trade, taxation and IP regimes must be transformed in order to preserve the policy space for digital industrialization.