Norad backs and funds the Digital Principles
For the Norwegian development sector, three crucial events took place in December 2019, bringing a digitized energy into the new decade. Firstly, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) organized its yearly conference, this time inviting more than 35 digital development experts on stage to discuss the sector’s opportunities, initiatives, and pitfalls in front of an audience counting 600 people. Secondly, the Norwegian government published a White Paper on Digital Transformation and Development Policy, laying the framework for how Norway will continue to work with digital development. And lastly, Norad signed a new agreement with the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) to support the Principles for Digital Development. As Norad’s new Director General Bård Vegar Solhjell said at the Norad conference: “If you want to work with development, you must be in development.”
His statement is very well aligned with the reason why Norad has decided to endorse and support the Digital Principles. Projects funded by Norad are increasingly affected by digital technologies and various levels of digitalisation, hence it is essential that Norad knows which criteria to consider when evaluating and working with these projects. Only then can the utilization of digital technologies become key enablers to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Several of the Digital Principles are already well anchored within Norad’s work with digital development, such as “Use open standards, open data, open source and open innovation”. Following the report published by the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation in June 2019, Norway has been appointed as one of four champions by the UN Secretary Office for recommendation 1B, together with UNICEF, Sierra Leone and iSPIRT. This work focuses on the development of the alliance and platform for Digital Public Goods. Digital Public Goods are openly licensed technologies considered highly relevant for the attainment of the SDGs.
Increased usage and implementation of digital technologies in a development context calls for a more coherent and cohesive cooperation within the different sectors. Norad is entering this agreement with DIAL in order to put the Digital Principles into practice. For example, by supporting the digitization of Digital Principles training content and creation of new tools, Norad will work to implement the Principles across all our initiatives and make these resources readily accessible to all digital ecosystem actors.
Also backed by Noard, the Digital Principles will launch Pulse on the Principles - a new webinar and podcast series that aims enhance communication with the global endorser network, share new and existing case studies, and enable candied conversations on deep-dive topics, such as gender, ethics, responsible data, etc. as they relate to the Principles for Digital Development.
Norad has joined more than 200 other organizations and development institutions on endorsing the Principles. By ensuring that the Principles for Digital Development are put into practice, Norad believes our commitment to the SDGs will become more efficient, accountable, and will help achieve the sustainable impact we seek.