World Day of Social Justice 2021: UN calls on nations to bridge digital divide between developing and developed countries
The UN said that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide in terms of availability, affordability and use of ICTs and access to the internet
The UN General Assembly on 26 November 2007 declared 20 February to be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. The aim behind the day was to create awareness about the importance of social justice, propagate equality, and end discrimination and injustice.
The theme for World Day of Social Justice 2021 is 'A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy'. According to the United Nations, the digital economy is transforming the world through expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing and data. However, since early 2020, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries.
"The crisis has also laid bare and exacerbated the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries, particularly in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information ICTs and access to the internet, deepening existing inequalities."
As per the UN, while "digital labour platforms provide workers with income-generating opportunities and benefits from flexible work arrangements," it also highlights inequalities of workers engaged in location-based platforms as well as unfair competition from platforms for traditional businesses.
Furthermore, UN stated that in 2019, more than 212 million people were out of work, up from 201 million in previous years. According to UN, there is a need for international policy dialogue and coordination since digital labour platforms operate across multiple jurisdictions.
Furthermore, a report by McKinsey Global Institute, a think-tank, has stated that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on labour markets and as much as 18 million Indian workers will be forced to switch to a newer occupation by 2030 because of the pandemic.
According to the report, the pandemic has had a lasting impact on labour demand, the mix of occupations and workforce skills required in eight countries including India.
As per the report, the long-term effects of the virus may reduce the number of low-wage jobs available, which previously served as a safety net for displaced workers. According to the report, the effect of the pandemic will fall heaviest on the most vulnerable workers, thus creating a new urgency for companies and policymakers to help the workers gain the skills most needed in the future.
Meanwhile, as per UN, this year's theme supports efforts by the international community to search for these solutions to achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, promotion of full employment and decent work as well as gender equality and access to social well-being and justice.
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