by Dr. David McGrogan | The Daily Skeptic

Take a look around. I think you’ll agree that what we really need is “a high-level event, bringing world leaders together to forge a new international consensus on how we deliver a better present and safeguard the future”. It sounds like just the ticket, doesn’t it?

This is in any case the billing that is being given to the 2024 Summit of the Future, a UN shindig taking place in September this year under the “co-facilitatorship” of Namibia and Germany. This “once-in-a-generation opportunity”, we are told in the bumf, “serves as a moment to mend eroded trust and demonstrate that international cooperation can effectively tackle current challenges as well as those that have emerged in recent years or may yet be over the horizon”. The aim is for all of these world leaders to get together and come up with something that will be called the ‘Pact for the Future’, a “concise, action-oriented outcome document” that will better prepare “the world” to “manage the challenges we face now and in the future, for the sake of all humanity and for future generations”. Input from electorates will be, needless to say, thin on the ground.

There is an awful lot to say about the Summit of the Future. It is sometimes genuinely hard to tell if there is no element of conscious self-parody involved (is there a single person alive who is convinced that the way to “mend eroded trust” is for world leaders to get together extra-constitutionally and undemocratically for a two day meeting in order to hash out a “new international consensus”?) And one could have a field day writing a critique on the entire concept (what could possibly go wrong when “world leaders” get together to decide on the outline of a “global financial system that works for all”, how to “shar[e] the benefits of space”, what “a new agenda for peace” should look like, how to “transform education”, and how to achieve “integrity in information” – all in the course of two days?) But here I want to draw particular attention to something called the Global Digital Compact, which is also going to be negotiated at the summit, and for which a ‘zero draft’ has already been circulated (on April 1st no less – did I say something about self-parody?)

The Compact describes itself as a set of objectives around which the aforementioned “international consensus” among “world leaders” can be expected to cohere with respect to the digital sphere. These are:

(1) Clos[ing] the digital divides and accelerat[ing] progress across the Sustainable Development Goals;

(2) Expand[ing] opportunities for inclusion in the digital economy;

(3) Foster[ing] an inclusive, open, safe, and secure digital space;

(4) Advanc[ing] equitable international data governance;

(5) Govern[ing] emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, for humanity

The idea is then that an array of “stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, civil society, international organisations and the technical and academic communities” will “work in collaboration and partnership” to achieve this “inclusive, open, safe and secure digital future”. (The phrase “inclusive, open, safe and secure” appears eight times in the 13-page document and is clearly intended to be used mimetically and repetitively by world leaders until we all get it into our thick skulls, as in ‘Build Back Better’ or ‘jabs in arms’). Legislatures and parliaments, of course, insofar as they represent mere voters, do not get a look in. Read Full Article >

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