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'SAMENA Daily' - News

UNDP and SAMENA Telecommunications Council forge digital alliance to accelerate progress on digital-led sustainable development in the Arab States

The nexus between digital transformation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is crucial for the Arab States region. Effective collaboration between governments, private sector, and international organizations is vital for advancing sustainable development initiatives. In this context, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and SAMENA Telecommunications Council announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on advancing Digital for Sustainable Development (D4SD) initiative in the Arab region. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Arab States Digital Day, a momentous event taking place at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona and marking a significant milestone in fostering digital innovation for sustainable development.

The partnership between UNDP and SAMENA Telecommunications Council under the D4SD initiative aims to leverage digital technologies to address key sustainable development challenges in the Arab region. Through this collaboration, both organizations are committed to working towards promoting digital inclusion, advocating for sustainable development goals, and enhancing connectivity and digitalization initiatives in the region.

The Parties have identified several areas of cooperation under the D4SD initiative including collaboration on leveraging digital technologies to improve access to education, healthcare, essential services, and foster digital innovation in the Arab region. The MoU also aims to work towards ensuring accessibility of digital technologies to all, especially underserved communities, through initiatives focusing on digital literacy and connectivity enhancement.

Both organizations aim to jointly advocate for the promotion of the SDGs, with a focus on green ICT development, reduction of carbon emissions, and engagement with governments, businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders.

The MoU also includes knowledge sharing and capacity building activities and connectivity and digitalization initiatives.

Ms. Marina Walter, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director for UNDP in the Arab States, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "This collaboration represents a significant step towards harnessing the power of digital technologies to accelerate progress towards sustainable development in the Arab region. By joining forces with SAMENA Telecommunications Council, we can drive meaningful change and foster innovation that leaves no one behind."

Mr. Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Council, considers the framework of collaboration between UNDP and SAMENA Council to be important for building the region’s digital economies. He stated, “Digital inclusion can be strongly accelerated by engaging multiple stakeholders and building capacity to adopt and aid new collaborative approaches across multiple areas of digital-development endeavor. This collaboration between SAMENA Council and UNDP can help create such approaches and new outcomes, in support of the region's digitalization needs going forward.”

The signing of the MoU between UNDP and SAMENA Telecommunications Council marks the beginning of a promising partnership that seeks to leverage digital technologies for the benefit of the Arab region, paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future.