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Communications Swiss minister appointed to ‘digital’ UN panel

Doris Leuthard

Doris Leuthard has been pushing digitalisation in Switzerland

(Keystone)

Communications Minister Doris Leuthard has been invited to join the new United Nations High-Level Panel on digital cooperation issues. Its job is to draw up proposals for improving global governance of digitalisation.

UN Secretary-General António Guterresexternal link decided to appoint an independent panel on digital co-operationexternal link, made up of 22 international leaders from government, the private sector, academic and civil society, Leuthard’s ministry said in a statementexternal link on Thursday.

“Through the participation of Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard in this High-Level Panel, Switzerland can bring to bear its experience in the sphere of digital governance and strengthen its role as a reliable and constructive participant in this area,” the statement continued.

Leuthard has been campaigning for more openness and risk-taking with digitalisation in Switzerland so the country can profit from its “good starting position” in the area.

There has also been much debate over digitalisation in the classroom.

The panel will be headed by Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group and begin work in August. Its first report is due in spring 2019, which should contain specific recommendations.

International Geneva

Its secretariat will be based in Geneva and it will have support from Jovan Kurbalija, director of the DiploFoundation and head of the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP),external link underlining Geneva’s role as a global centre of digital policy, the communications ministry said. Switzerland had supported the creation of the panel from the very outset, it added.

“Digitalisation is penetrating all areas of our lives to an ever-increasing degree and is changing them fundamentally,” the statement said. “As a result, there are more voices calling for an improved system of control and co-operation of the digital world in order to realise the vision of an information society in the service of everyone.”

Communications Ministry/swissinfo/ilj

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