University of Turku has been accepted as a member of an advisory group representing civil society and academia in a new, multi-stakeholder platform Digital for Development (D4D) Hub. The D4D Hub promotes collaboration between the European Union and its global partners for inclusive and sustainable digital transformation.
The Digital for Development (D4D) Hub is a new form of global digital cooperation with the European Union (EU). The Hub promotes a human centric, inclusive, and sustainable digital transformation using a multi-stakeholder approach. It was launched in December 2020 by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and D4D Hub partners which include EU Member States, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, European Development Finance Institutions and civil society organisations, academia and private sector partners both in the EU and in its partner countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU Eastern Neighbourhood.
The D4D Hub facilitates new international partnerships on digital transformation by focusing on a fair, inclusive and green digital transformation globally. Its human-centric approach places people at the heart of digital transformation. The Hub promotes inclusive digital economies and societies in which everyone has equal opportunities to participate in the digital world.
The Voice of Civil Society and Academia in Digital Transformation
In order to live up to its principle of inclusiveness, the D4D Hub works closely with different stakeholder groups. Civil society and academia are important partners for the D4D Hub as they help to promote digital transformation that is values-based. While civil society organizations (CSOs) give a voice to marginalised and vulnerable communities, the academic community provides scientific evidence basis for shaping a digital transformation that works for people and the planet.
To include these important stakeholder groups into the D4D Hub's decision-making, the Civil Society and Academia Working Group (CSAAG) was launched in February 2023. The University of Turku was accepted as a member of the working group in June 2023. The CSAAG is a consultative body of the D4D Hub. Its primary goal is to ensure that the needs of society for a human-centric digital transformation are addressed by the Hub. The advisory group shares knowledge and provides input on the D4D Hub's relevant areas of activity, helps the D4D Hub Secretariat involve key stakeholders, and provides opportunities for members to directly participate in the formulation of digital policy, programmes and initiatives.
"For the University of Turku and our key strategic partners in the global South, this gives a chance to share our decades long experience of working with digital skills development, particularly in Africa. We have an opportunity to voice out importance of skills-based digital transformation and the role of open science practices in making transformation to happen," says Professor Niina Käyhkö.
"We are particularly tuned to provide D4D hub member countries with experiences and knowledge of impacts of our cooperation related to geospatial climate risk data and resilience-building in Tanzania Resilience Academy with the World Bank and multitude of public and private stakeholders," Käyhkö continues.
The kick-off meeting of the CSAAG took place at the beginning of July in Brussels. According to the Head of EU Affairs Anniina Jaako, being a member of the advisory group offers the University plenty of opportunities to influence and be directly involved in development processes.
"As a member of advisory group, the University of Turku will participate in meetings, working groups, consultations and policy discussions to provide expert insights and recommendations to the European Commission. Alongside the activities, the University can propose new initiatives and direct the EU programs and funding themes to meet our needs in research and development," Jaako explains.