Under Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency, the Digital Economy Ministers of the G20 countries adopted a declaration on the coronavirus crisis today. Ms Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, attended the video conference on behalf of Germany.
In the declaration, the G20 Digital Economy Ministers point out the importance of digitisation for combatting pandemics and commit themselves in particular to
- facilitating access to the internet for more people,
- further expanding digital infrastructure,
- strengthening remote work and education,
- making more use of digital research methods, including artificial intelligence (AI), when it comes to developing vaccines and ‘tracking’ infected persons,
- combatting fake news together, and
- facilitating the application of digital instruments in firms.
State Secretary Winkelmeier-Becker said: “Digital instruments are more important than ever for tackling crises. Digital conferences, digital learning and digital work are becoming indispensable. We need to make use of the current momentum in order to press ahead with digitisation in our economies and societies after the crisis, without, however, losing sight of the risk of misuse. For this purpose, it is particularly important to work together closely at international level. We can only tackle this pandemic and all future crises with common instruments and in a spirit of international solidarity.”
The Digital Economy Ministers agreed to engage in dialogue on these issues, which will be continued under Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021. They launched an international study to analyse good practices of the G20 countries on shaping policies in this field. The findings are expected to be presented in June.
A further declaration on all important digitisation issues, including artificial inteliigence, digital security in enterprises and the application of digital solutions in municipal services, is to be adopted at the regular meeting of the Digital Economy Ministers on 22 and 23 July.