Dear Prime Minister,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear colleagues,

Allow me to begin by sincerely thanking the Government of Serbia for its strong partnership with UNDP on digital transformation. For several years we have been working on open government data; moving from concept to tangible change very quickly.

UNDP supports the main institutional structures with IT and e-Government, works on strengthening internal capacities, promotes coherent policy and legislation, and developes digital solutions for government, citizens and the economy. We also assists the country in building the ICT skills for young people to enhance their competitiveness in a growing industry. Our partnership on digital transformation is therefore not only strong, but generating important lessons and experiences.

Moreover, I would like to congratulate the Government of Serbia for organizing and hosting the second regional Digital Summit. This important event is a testimony to a new paradigm for a region that is dynamic, creative, innovative and eager to use the transformations of the fourth industrial revolution to the benefit of its peoples.

UNDP is committed to helping all countries in this region ensure that the advantages of the digital revolution make a positive difference on their economies and societies; while leaving no one behind. We are on the frontlines helping societies come to grips with technological advances leading to ever faster and transformative change.

New technologies are evolving faster than the legislative and policy environment can adapt to them. This is why UNDP wants to be a key partner for governments navigating change and uncertainty.

Today we are building #NextGenUNDP – a development agency adapted to the challenges of tomorrow. We are enhancing our networks and tools at national, regional and global levels, to best promote inclusive and sustainable growth. We facilitate smart solutions by connecting tech professionals with development experts, we leverage financial resources to create space for innovation. In other words, we want to ensure compatibility between the digital revolution and the global sustainable development goals.

UNDP is, for example, doing three things:

First: Running the world’s largest and fastest network of Accelerator Labs in 60 countries globally, which brings together public, private and civil society actors to use data and innovative approaches in understanding development challenges, prepare for the future and accelerate impact on the ground.  I am very pleased that 2 of these 60 UNDP Accelerator Labs worldwide are being set up in Serbia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Second: UNDP is leveraging new funding mechanisms and stimulating private investment into Sustainable Development Goals through the so called SDG Impact initiative – which aims at equipping businesses with the necessary information and tools.

Third: UNDP has been working with the Oxford Internet Institute to better understand digital trends; delving into the data behind the digital economy and online labour. We have also been working with governments and citizens including in the Western Balkans on open data and data reuse, as well as on strengthening transparency and accountability.

These are exciting times and there is much to do. Technology is a valuable tool to promote connectivity and cooperation in the Western Balkans, why UNDP is increasingly looking at supporting regional initiatives in this field.

Development tomorrow relies on making sense today of the technological revolution. The vision set out at this Summit is a meaningful step towards the future that the citizens of this region deserve.

At UNDP we are committed to helping deliver your sustainable, digital future. Data-driven research, 21st century policy guidance, creating cross-sector dialogues, building platforms, and driving experimentation are all roles for #NextGenUNDP in the Western Balkans.

Please count on our continued support.

Thank you.

UNDP Around the world