Estonia signs digital agreement to aid UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Minister Raul Siem at the signing ceremony.
Minister Raul Siem at the signing ceremony. Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Estonia, Germany, the International Telecommunication Union and the Digital Impact Alliance at the UN Foundation agreed to cooperate on efforts to speed up digital transformation and digitalization of governmental services for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) particularly in low-resource settings on Monday.

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. 

"Successful digital transformation efforts require cooperation across digital ecosystem actors," said Doreen Bogdan, 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.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology of Estonia Raul Siem (EKRE) said: "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."

Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Norbert Barthle said: "This collaboration will truly power digital transformation and give Governments the chance to 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."

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 a Digital 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. 

ITU is the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies. 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.

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.

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.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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