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NGO Social Development Committee Civil Society Declaration

Kay Richmond, Programme Director, has added her signature to the Civil Society Declaration from the United Nations (UN) Social Development Committee on behalf of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI).

To find out more about the Social Development Committee, visit the UN Website.

The full declaration can be read at

The Call for Action, listed in the letter, is shown below:


In light of the above, we, civil society representatives, call upon Member States to:

  • Guarantee internet connection as a fundamental right and provide appropriate funding to
    extend broadband internet and digital access to all, in rural and urban areas, for women and girls,
    elderly population, indigenous, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities and
    people living in poverty.
  • Establish mechanisms that act as safeguards against biases that arise when artificial
    intelligence (AI) and algorithms evaluate individuals’ qualifications for social benefits, such as
    defining “social impact” statements on all applications for licenses, patents and research in the
    field of AI and digital technology.
  • Provide digital access to social protection services for all individuals and families so that food,
    water, housing, energy, healthcare, education, and transportation are available to all.
  • Prioritize digital literacy training for all, especially women and girls, people living in urban
    and remote areas, individuals and families who are living in poverty, on the street, in inadequate
    housing, or in slums, and for workers in obsolete work environments.
  • Strengthen Financing for Development process by addressing tax havens and illicit financial
    flows, restructuring of sovereign debt and injecting new liquidity according to level of need in
    developing countries for a more equitable distribution that can ensure not only growth but
  • Support technology transfer to developing countries, strengthening science and technology
    cooperation, promoting sustainable global and domestic investments in infrastructure
  • Support the UNSG’s Roadmap on Digital Cooperation and its specific actions that would
    improve digital inclusion and protect human rights; to protect global internet governance and to
    consider not only the internet but also data and AI as digital public goods.
  • Establish a digital ombudsman to further protect citizens and provide learning opportunities.
    Protections are particularly needed with regard to digital identity, surveillance, online
    harassment, content, and data.
  • Heed the recommendations of The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for
    Development in their 2020 report on financing sustainable development in an era of disruptive
    technologies and rapid innovation; bring back the notion that citizens, as owners of pensions and
    savings, are at the center of the economy.
  • Member States, international finance and development organizations, and the industries
    themselves must adapt all regulatory frameworks to the new realities so that digital technologies
    will lead the world into a Socially Just Transition to Sustainable Development.