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Our Common Digital Future

The digital revolution is accelerating fundamental societal and economic change. But will it be a game-changer for transformations to global sustainability? A new online charter, 'Our Common Digital Future', proposes guidelines for a sustainable future in a digital world, and invites the international community to get involved with shaping the digital sustainable future.

Digital technologies have enormous potential to enable transformations to sustainability, for example through enhancing the decarbonisation of cities, transport and energy systems. They could also allow for more efficient monitoring and protecting of local- and global ecosystems.

Yet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by UN Member States in 2015 do not mention the digital revolution, and science systems worldwide are struggling to adapt to the opportunities and challenges of the data-intensive world of science, powered by increasingly powerful digital technology.

Without leveraging the power of digital change, we will not achieve the SDGs and the Paris Climate Goals. And without recognizing the impact of digital technologies, we risk deepening digital divides, potentially increasing inequalities and concentrating power in the hands of the technologically advanced, with knock-on consequences for sustainable development, for effective democracies and for civil rights.

In order to promote discussion on these issues, the German Advisory Council on Global Change, with the support of the International Science Council and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, has today launched an online charter, called “Our Common Digital Future”. We invite input from the global scientific community and from civil society.

The draft charter can be reviewed and commented on online until the end of January 2020.

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In addition, the organizations behind the Charter propose a World Summit on ‘Sustainability in the Digital Age’ to be held in 2022, 30 years after the Rio Summit, to re-think and re-direct our sustainability paradigms to the new realities of the Digital Anthropocene.

Find out more on the WBGU website.

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