This week world leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Google participated in a range of UNGA-related engagements as part of our commitment to collaborate with international organizations to achieve collective solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Here are just a few of the many topics we covered:
Global governance in a digital era
The global internet was built to be a shared resource that everyone could access wherever they lived — but over the last few years this ideal has been increasingly challenged. Regulatory barriers to the free flow of information across borders are threatening to fragment the internet. New and revitalized global governance frameworks are needed for an increasingly digitized world, and international organizations will be critical to achieving them, which is why we support the UN Global Digital Compact.
Over the course of this week, we had various conversations about what needs to be done to ensure that the internet remains open, secure and reliable for everyone. Preserving the cross-border availability of secure technologies and digital services – coupled with forward-looking decisions by governments to invest in digital infrastructure and digital skilling – can protect access to information everywhere and ensure that the benefits resulting from the global internet are preserved.
Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was a key topic during this week’s UNGA. The 17 UN SDGs were created “to make a better world for everyone, now and into the future.” They include goals like achieving gender equality, ensuring quality education and tackling economic inequality. At Google, we see countless ways in which technology can help accelerate progress on these goals.
While the global community has made some important progress in meeting the SDGs since they were launched in 2015, headwinds persist due to Covid-19 and global conflict and, unfortunately, not a single country is on track to meet all 17 goals by 2030. To that end, Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org recently announced that we are expanding these efforts through a $25 million commitment to support NGOs and social enterprises using artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate progress in achieving the SDGs.
James Manyika, Jacquelline Fuller and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed hosted a roundtable on using AI to accelerate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. (L to R: Jacquelline Fuller – President of Google.Org, Elizabeth Cousens – President of UN Foundation, Paula Ingabire – Minister of Information Communications Technology and Innovation of Rwanda, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, James Manyika – SVP of Technology & Society and UN Tech Envoy Amandeep Singh Gill).
A number of the SDGs – ensuring sustainable cities, and access to affordable and clean energy, for example – were established with sustainability top of mind. And as our CEO has said before, solving climate change is humanity’s next big moonshot. Working together, governments, companies, and citizens can create technology-enabled, scalable solutions that deliver a prosperous, carbon-free future for all of humanity.
As a company we’ve been carbon neutral since 2007, and by 2030 we aim to achieve net zero emissions across our operations and value chain, and to run our data centers and offices entirely on carbon-free energy. As we work towards these goals, we’re collaborating with partners to share tools and resources to make clean energy achievable for all, such as the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Hub and Academy launched earlier this week. And we continue to partner with UN Energy, Sustainable Energy for All, and dozens of companies and cities around the world to grow the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact.
The war in Ukraine continues to be both a tragedy and a humanitarian disaster. Since the war broke out, our team has worked around the clock to combat disinformation, elevate authoritative content across our services, protect cybersecurity in Ukraine and globally, while also providing humanitarian assistance and supporting the region more broadly. This week, we were honored that Sundar was selected as a recipient of one of this year’s Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards, in recognition of Google’s efforts in response to Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine, our commitment to digital resilience, and our ongoing support for refugees and displaced people throughout the world.
Sundar Pichai delivers an acceptance speech at the Atlantic Council’s 2022 Global Citizen Awards, highlighting the role the private sector can play in helping refugees around the world.
International organizations like the United Nations are unique in their ability to convene countries from all over the world, and we are pleased to collaborate closely with member governments to play our part.