IMAGO Global Grassroots is honored to announce that Co-Founder and Executive Director Isabel Guerrero will become a member of the UN Secretary General’s recently announced High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.

She joins 19 eminent leaders from government, the private sector, international organizations, academia, the technical community, and civil society from around the world, including Melinda Gates and Jack Ma as Panel chairs.

This UN High-Level Panel will bring government, business and civil society stakeholders together to provide an inclusive, innovative and impact-driven approach to the way we consider digital cooperation.

A local assessor works with a women to complete the Poverty Stoplight self-assessement.

Administering the Poverty Stoplight survey. Photo credit: Yalda Amini

While working as Senior Vice President for South Asia at The World Bank, Isabel was a vocal advocate for using technology and information sharing platforms to improve openness, transparency and coordination around data sharing in the international development sector. “Tapping into those voices that are often underrepresented in the digital policy space and surface new and creative approaches to the challenges of financial inclusion, livelihood development, and bridging the technology divide” she concludes.

Through her work with IMAGO Global Grassroots, Isabel continues working at the front lines of evaluating and implementing better digital coordination between civil society organizations and their counterparts in government and business.

“The progress in the digital world can be a force for good” remarks Isabel on the mission of the Panel. “I have seen firsthand how many women in SEWA were illiterate when they joined. Their daughters are now educated. We have been meeting them through our work with SEWA and they said that they felt illiterate because they had never worked with a computer. But if not managed well it can increase the divide of economic opportunities for those who don’t have access to technology”.

IMAGO’s work to help scale up the Poverty Stoplight is another vivid example. The Stoplight is a multi-dimensional self-assessment tool to measure living conditions, and an instrument for setting and acting on goals to move out of poverty, through personalized strategies to overcome specific deprivations. This inclusive methodology is an instrument that transforms, that makes visible the invisible and opens up the possibility of change, of having a dream. Technology in this example facilitates the assessment made by each family but also the possibility of further analysis with the use of anonymous consolidated data.

In Isabel´s experience, bridging the technology divide is a priority. Her writing and research into the impact of new technologies on Latin America’s economy also highlights that this is an intergenerational challenge, one that requires both planning and vision for the next 40 years at least.

The UN High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation will consider that as the pace of new technologies like artificial intelligence and mobile financial platforms accelerates, their mandate grows only more important. Seeking to raise awareness about the “transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the economy and to underline the need for a cooperative and human-centric approach that maximizes opportunities and safeguards the interests of future generations,” the conclusions and insights generated by this panel can inform a new global approach to collaboration in the digital sphere.

The Panel’s report and recommendations will provide a “high-level independent contribution to the broader public debate on digital cooperation frameworks, while being essential to helping achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It will also highlight and analyze how emerging technologies; business models and policies can enhance or challenge greater digital cooperation. It shall also outline major trends in the development and deployment of emerging digital technologies, best practices, business models, policies, and the possibilities and challenges they generate for digital cooperation.

Another of the breakthrough objectives of this panel is to map the “main functions, features and status of digital cooperation mechanisms developed and deployed by the technical community, international organizations, national governments, business associations and civil society.” Such an analysis will have a profound impact on the digital coordination debate and will contribute to achieving the long-term goals and vision of better cooperation in the digital and technology spaces.