Quick reactions to the Global Digital Compact zero draft

Antonio Guterres picture

[Aquí en español] The zero draft of the Global Digital Compact (GDC) was published a few days ago. Regarding its position on digitalization and its environmental impacts, we at the Latin American Institute of Terraforming believe it is important to emphasize the following:

For the rest, the draft continues to talk about technologies – as if they emerged on their own – and not about the differentiated economic actors that develop them and how their concentration and power today determine discussions that should be much deeper and more complex, such as what environmental sustainability means in digitization. Obviously, this abstraction of big capital is a convenient move, at least geopolitically. But can the big tech companies – which concentrate the economic power of contemporary neoliberal capitalism and whose objective is accumulation for infinite economic growth on a finite planet – be environmentally sustainable today? Can big tech use of green energy even be desirable if, like Microsoft, a data center is opened globally every three days? Where can we have this discussion in the global politics of digitization?

No one is surprised by the limitations that the United Nations has in the geopolitical context for more critical speeches, and it is not about attacking it vacuously, as conservative and fascist forces do. However, when discussing a draft, which will then enter into multiple negotiations, one would expect more ambition. In times of multiple and horrific crises, history belongs to the people and communities that dare.