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  • Ahmed Saleh

DCO concludes General Assembly, launches initiatives for global digital prosperity

Manama, Feb 1, 2024, The Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) successfully concluded its third annual General Assembly in Bahrain, marking a significant milestone in its mission to advance global digital prosperity. The assembly, led by DCO chairperson Mohamed bin Thamir Al Kaabi and attended by ministerial representatives and delegation heads from the organization's 16 member states, witnessed the launch of new digital cooperation initiatives designed to bridge the global digital divide.

During the assembly, the DCO council welcomed the People's Republic of Bangladesh, the State of Qatar, and the Hellenic Republic as new member states. Additionally, the presidency was officially transferred from Bahrain to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, highlighting the collaborative and inclusive nature of the organization.

Discussions at the assembly covered crucial topics such as cross-border market growth, the value of data, building a human-centric and sustainable digital economy, and digital trade and investment. The member states, representing a population of around 800 million and a GDP of $3.5 trillion, reaffirmed their commitment to establishing an agile and efficient multilateral organization.

Recognizing the pivotal moment in the evolution of the global digital economy, the DCO member states emphasized the significance of multilateral, multi-stakeholder, and multi-sectoral digital cooperation to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. The council declaration underscored the commitment to preventing the global digital divide from becoming a development challenge and acknowledged the role of digital transformation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To address challenges and opportunities in the digital economy, member states called for steadfast collaboration within a multilateral framework. Recent developments and trends in the digital economy were highlighted, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation in harmonizing digital policies globally.

The assembly also witnessed the announcement of the 2024 Executive Committee, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the chair. New initiatives, including the DCO GenAI Center of Excellence, the Data Embassy Initiative, and the Online Content Integrity Initiative, were launched to foster a sustainable and inclusive digital economy.

The Data Embassy Initiative aims to create a secure network of data-storage facilities beyond national borders, promoting a unified digital environment among member states. The Online Content Integrity Initiative, led by Kuwait, addresses challenges posed by misinformation on social-media and streaming platforms, considering cultural diversity.

The inclusion of 17 new observers from various sectors reaffirmed the global determination to enhance digital cooperation. The assembly concluded with a message from DCO chairperson Al Kaabi, expressing pride in hosting the event and highlighting Bahrain's active engagement in DCO initiatives, including the Digital Prosperity Awards.

DCO Secretary-General Deemah AlYahya expressed gratitude to Bahrain for its support and stressed the importance of cooperation to address digital inequalities. The assembly featured a video message from Japanese Minister for Digital Transformation Kono Taro, expressing Japan's interest in participating in DCO activities.

Established in 2020, the DCO aims to foster digital prosperity by empowering youth, women, and entrepreneurs. With a vision for a world where every nation, business, and individual has a fair opportunity to prosper in the digital economy, the DCO's next General Assembly is scheduled for February 2025 in Jordan.

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