ITU, Estonia, Germany and DIAL to Collaborate on Efforts to Accelerate Digital Transformation and the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals

(Geneva, Switzerland) – The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia (MFA Estonia), The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany (BMZ), and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the UN Foundation signed a joint declaration of intent to cooperate on efforts to accelerate digital transformation and digitalization of governmental services for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) particularly in low-resource settings. The collaboration will establish a global high-level framework for digital government cooperation to assist countries in implementing scalable digital services and applications in a cost efficient, accelerated and integrated manner. and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Successful digital transformation efforts require cooperation across digital ecosystem actors,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “ITU welcomes this opportunity to work with Estonia, Germany and DIAL to continue to advance ICT-related solutions that can power country-level action to achieve the SDGs.”

The goal of the partnership is to cooperate to power digital transformation for achieving the SDGs by implementing a “Reference Digital Government Platform” as a “Digital Public Good” based on reusable, standards-based, secure and interoperable building blocks available to the whole-of-Government agencies to build and deploy their digital services and applications.

Raul Siem, Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology, said that “Estonia is always open to sharing expertise in digital transformation. Estonia has long-term experience in building a holistic digital society, from the technological standing point to putting in place proper legislation. Our digital ecosystem relies on strong public-private partnerships which, among other things, is something we are also keen on sharing within this partnership and working towards sustainable development goals,” said Siem.

“This collaboration will truly power digital transformation and give Governments the chance to o build and deploy their digital services and applications in a cost efficient, accelerated and integrated manner. Particularly Governments in low-resource settings, that have not yet digitized their services have now the freedom to make decisions based on the state of technology as it is today – cloud, microservices and artificial intelligence – without being held back by legacy solutions of past decades. This great partnership will provide the building blocks to enable and encourage digital transformation. “ Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

The partnership aims:

  • To contribute to the work of the international community on ICT to power digital transformation for achieving the SDGs by sharing expertise, guidelines, best practices and case studies on relevant topics; 
  • To contribute to coordinated efforts of the Partners in establishing a “Reference Implementation of aDigital Government Platform” to accelerate digital transformation and the achievement of SDGs in low-resource settings”;
  • To facilitate fundraising that supports engaging relevant interested stakeholders who can contribute to the effort of deploying and scaling up of digital services by building shared digital infrastructures that will power future innovations centred around citizen needs ; and
  • To undertake joint actions such as thematic meetings, capacity building workshops and knowledge sharing and exchanges.

“One of DIAL’s main objectives is to connect, scale and support proven solutions that are necessary for digital transformation to be successful,” said Kate Wilson, CEO, DIAL. “This partnership will support these efforts, expand upon our existing work with ITU and the SDG Digital Investment Framework, and learn from both Estonia and Germany to help other countries on their digital transformation journey.”

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About ITU

ITU is the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of more than 800 private sector entities, academic institutions and others. Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.

About MFA Estonia

 MFA Estonia is helping Estonia as a country to share with the rest of the world the expertise and the lessons learned in e-governance and digital transformation that have made Estonia a digital leader. Estonia has unique experience in building an extensive e-governance ecosystem with fully integrated public services. Additionally, the Estonian expertise is not only limited to technology, but also building comprehensive legislative frameworks and policies that enable digital transformation. MFA Estonia is committed to supporting partner countries in bridging the digital gap and working towards SDGs.

About BMZ

BMZ aims at providing freedom and security for all and a life without poverty, fear and environmental destruction. The BMZ is committed to support partner countries in reaching the SGDs of the United Nations. To this end, it supports its partner countries in harnessing the potential of digital technologies for sustainable development and shaping a digital future worth living for all.

About DIAL

The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) is an independent global alliance funded through a collaboration among the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and hosted within the UN Foundation in Washington, D.C. DIAL was established in 2015 as a “think, do, replicate” tank. We combine practical research with evidence-based advocacy to advance digital inclusion to achieve the SDGs. DIAL identifies barriers to the routine use of digital solutions and data by development actors (countries, NGOs, multilateral institutions); tests ways to remove them; and package solutions for these actors to use in service delivery efforts.