The Digital Nations

The Digital Nations is a collaborative forum of the world’s leading digital governments that aims to use technology to improve citizens services in Canada and globally.

Formerly, the forum was named the Digital 9 (D9), Digital 7 (D7) and Digital 5 (D5).

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Digital Nations Charter

Digital Nations members have a common goal of harnessing digital technology to improve citizens’ lives. Countries share world-class digital practices, collaborate to solve common problems, identify improvements to digital services, and support and champion growing digital economies.

The most recent document endorsed by member countries at the 2019 Digital Nations Ministerial Summit, the Digital Nations Charter, outlines a mutual commitment to digital government service development and leadership through nine core principles:

  • user needs
  • open standards
  • open source
  • open markets
  • open government (transparency)
  • connectivity
  • digital skills and confidence
  • assisted digital
  • commitment to share and learn

Member countries

There are currently ten member countries in the Digital Nations:

Digital Nations members are also members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Each year, Digital Nations member countries meet to share knowledge and expertise at working-level, Chief Information Officer-level and Ministerial-level meetings.

Canada’s involvement in the Digital Nations

Canada joined the Digital Nations (then D7) in February 2018 at the 4th Ministerial Summit in New Zealand. Shortly after joining, Canada also hosted the first Digital Nations Secretariat to work on behalf of all members.

Canada currently participates in the Digital Nations’ thematic groups on artificial intelligence, digital identity, and data. Canada chairs the thematic group on greening government IT.

In November 2019, Canada took chairship of the Digital Nations for a one-year term – rotated annually and previously held by Uruguay. As chair, Canada is responsible for steering members to achieve collective objectives and for hosting the 7th Digital Nations Ministerial Summit. Canada will host the first ever virtual Ministerial Summit on November 2-3, 2020 and co-host with FWD50 the Global Partnership Day.

The Digital Nations Advance Greening Government IT

As we navigate through the pandemic, Digital Nations members are taking advantage of the strides we’ve made in digital service delivery to examine the impact of technology that governments use and own, and finding ways to reduce its environmental footprint. This includes data centres, computers, electronic waste, IT equipment packaging, and toxic materials, as well as their lifecycle impacts.

This is important work, due to the significant impact IT has on the environment. Worldwide, the share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from digital technologies continues to rise as the transition to a digital economy accelerates. At present, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry’s carbon footprint contributes 1.4% of overall global emissions (not accounting for other external factors, like water use or e-waste). By 2025, the global share of GHG emissions from digital technologies is expected to account for 8% of all GHG emissions – equivalent to the current global share of GHG emissions from automobiles. This carbon footprint worldwide is only expected to increase as technology continues to become an even more integral part of our workplaces.

As such, Digital Nations members are beginning an important collaboration, taking a close look at existing and future ways to green their government’s digital operations through the work of a thematic group on greening government IT. As a first step, members shared their current approaches, policies, and strategies, supporting efforts to green government IT. These include, for example, sustainable procurement plans, specific greening IT initiatives, and broader public sector environmental strategies, like Canada’s Greening Government Strategy.

The next steps for this working group include collaborating to identify best practices and taking further actions to solve this common challenge. Members will also engage major ICT companies, academics, and think tanks to inform this work.

Watch this space for more updates!

Timeline

  • November 2020

    • Virtual 7th Ministerial Summit hosted by Canada
    • Adoption of the Digital Nations Charter
  • November 2019

    • 6th Ministerial Summit held in Montevideo, Uruguay
    • Denmark joins to create the Digital Nations
    • Adoption of Digital Nations Charter
    • Canada becomes chair of the Digital Nations
    • Adoption of Digital Nations Data 360° Declaration
  • November 2018

  • February 2018

    • 4th Ministerial Summit held in Wellington, New Zealand
    • Canada and Uruguay join to create Digital 7 (D7)
    • Adoption of D7 Charter
  • November 2016

  • November 2015

    • 2nd Ministerial Conference held in Tallinn, Estonia
  • December 2014

    • Digital 5 (D5) formed:
      • Estonia
      • Israel
      • New Zealand
      • Republic of Korea
      • United Kingdom
    • 1st Ministerial Summit held in London, United Kingdom
    • Adoption of the D5 Charter
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