TALLINN - At a high-level event on digital affairs, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Estonian President Alar Karis highlighted the importance of international digital cooperation in order for states to be able to build up a secure and reliable digital infrastructure.
The head of state also spoke about Estonia's experience in building its digital society.
"The future is digital, whether we like it or not, therefore, the recommendation for all governments is to keep up with this trend," Karis said.
"Estonia's experience has taught us that the more open, transparent and digital a society, the stronger its democracy and the less there is corruption. It also helps reduce costs," he added.
This is the reason why Estonia firmly supports the development of a free and secure digital society where human rights and the privacy of citizens are protected, according to the president.
"When we restored our independence more than 30 years ago, we had very limited options and we had to build up our future from scratch. Digital technologies played an important role in this and helped us save at least 2 percent of our GDP each year. Estonia established a paperless e-governance system. Public services are 99 percent web-based, which enables our citizens to communicate with the state around the clock," he said.
Karis noted that components of artificial intelligence supporting public digital services are being developed in Estonia. He added that Estonia contributes globally to building up infrastructures for digital public services through various international partnerships.
The high-level event "Accelerating the Future of Digital Cooperation" was organized by Estonia, Noway, Germany, the UN Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF and World Bank on the sidelines of the opening week of the UN General Assembly.
Participants in the event also included Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio, UNDP administrator Achim Steiner, philanthropist and founder of BMGF Bill Gates and many others.