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Russia vs South: the Digital Divide in the Unevenly Developed Societies

Digital divide is one of the key contemporary challenges. Bridging a digital divide is a part of the UNESCO strategic agenda. Within the UNESCO Chair “Societal, legal, and ethical frameworking of the knowledge (information) society”, it has been decided to arrange the comparative cross-cultural research. The given research has been designed to compare the manifestations of digital divide in Russia vs macro-regions of ‘global South’. The expert recommendations how to cope with a digital divide have been expected to be developed based on the research results.

The research main purpose is the identification of the key essence and particular manifestations of the digital divide issue while comparing ‘multi-speed Russia’ vs main macro-regions of the ‘global South’ to lay the necessary analytical ground for development of the actionable expert recommendations how a digital divide could be possibly bridged. The given recommendations should go in line with the UNESCO current agenda and strategic planning.

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Gusman Mikhail Solomonovich

First Deputy General Director of TASS, Chairman of the Russian Committee for the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication

Du Toit Jaco

Programme Specialist Section for Universal Access and Preservation Communication and Information Sector UNESCO

Borisov Alexey Nikolaevich

Vice President of the World Federation of the UN Associations, Head of the UNESCO Chair of MGIMO

Chukov Roman Sergeevich

Chair of the Board of the “Russian Center for Promotion of International Initiatives”

The Russian Committee on the Artificial Intelligence is a specialized open-ended advisory body purpose of which is to develop and coordinate Russia's approaches to international cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence at the UNESCO. The Committee includes representatives of relevant ministries and departments, famous scientists and specialists in the field of digital and information technologies, heads of leading scientific, educational and commercial structures involved in the development of artificial intelligence technologies and who took part in writing the Russian National Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence for the period up to 2030.

The widespread use of information and communication technologies, new media, social networks, blogs, media platforms in the global network to assist government agencies to carry out functions and communications on issues related to the foreign policy agenda give rise to the phenomenon of “digital diplomacy”. The virtual statements of leading politicians and significant media personalities, their tweets, instagram posts can decisively influence not only the worldview of individual social groups, political elites, and the basic electorate, but also provoke local and global conflicts and upheavals.

The digital economy and diplomacy can act as a new mutually complementary format, which overcomes aging contradictions, as a type of partnership and cooperation between countries. Combining competitive advantages in the field of information and communication technologies in order to achieve a common goal will help to build Eurasia that can open a new path for the development of the region and the world as a well.

UNIDO aims to improve the quality of life of the world by using its combined global resources. The United Nations Youth Agenda, as well as the UN Women programme, are based on the World Programme of Action, which covers fifteen priority action areas and contains proposals for action in each of these areas.

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