Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion I. Jinga, addresses the General Debate of the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development
On February 15, 2021, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN, Ambassador Ion I. Jinga, delivered a statement during the General Debate of the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development, on the priority theme of the current session: “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and the well-being of all”.
The Romanian diplomat pointed out that in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as societies recover and rebuild, the role of digital technology will progressively increase. Their use is already essential for almost every aspect of the global response to the pandemic. Technology holds a central role in keeping economies and health systems running, young people learning, and everyone connected. At the same time, the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation shows that some 87% of people in developed countries use the Internet, compared to only 19% in the least developed countries. In the era of interconnectivity, there cannot be long-lasting prosperity if are left behind.
Underlining the necessity of a global partnership of governments with all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure inclusive and fair access to digital technologies, Ambassador Jinga noted that Romania scores very well in terms of connectivity within the European Union, thanks to the strong use of ultra-fast broadband and the wide availability of high capacity fixed networks, and also in terms of the number of IT graduates:
”The tech industry in Romania is growing rapidly, with the opening of multiple research and development centers, and also due to the existing ecosystem of tech startups. The success of UiPath, Romania’s first tech unicorn, which is now valued at over $ 35 billion, has proven my country’s potential to become an outstanding innovation center. The process of digitalization and adaptation of our educational system to the technological progress became a priority in 2016, with the launch by the President of Romania of the national project “Educated Romania”, followed in 2020 by the elaboration of a Strategy for the digitalization of education in schools. One of Romania’s major objectives in the field of development is to ensure social inclusion, and we are very proud of the high percentage of women working in the digital sector.”
At the same time, he drew attention to the use of digital technology without complying with the rules of the international law:“Thanks to the Internet, today the audience is always in the same room with us and the information technology is now part of our life. But the technological revolution brings not only opportunities, it also brings challenges and threats. The use of digital technology with disregard for international law and norms – including human rights and humanitarian law – may trigger exclusion and inequality, abusive surveillance, spread of misinformation and cybercrime. We cannot reap the full benefits of the digital age without mobilizing global cooperation to reduce potential harms.”With regard to cyber security, he referred to Romania’s contribution in identifying digital security solutions globally used, such as Bitdefender. Moreover, Romania will host the new European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre (ECCC) of the European Union: “The digital world may have, indeed, a dark side, but it also has countless benefits, provided that we take advantage of them in full respect for the wellbeing of all people, all nations and the entire planet. We have now the opportunity to build back better than in the past, aiming at inclusive and sustainable societies. If we know how to adapt to this new world, we will succeed. As John F. Kennedy once said: “Change is the Law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.””
Romania is an active presence at the work of the Commission for Social Development. It held, through its Permanent Representative to the UN, the presidency of the 53th and 54th sessions in 2015 – 2016 and was a vice-chair of the 55th (2017) and, respectively, the 56th (2018) sessions.