Global CODES network develops Action Plan to accelerate a sustainable planet in the digital age

March 7, 2022

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The Action Plan for a Sustainable Planet in the Digital Age is a new international vision being co-created by the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) within the United Nations Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.

Presented during the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), taking place in Nairobi from 28 February – 2 March 2022, the Action Plan recognizes that digital innovations have the potential to help mitigate the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, toxic pollution and waste, along with health risks and inequality.

The transformational capabilities of these innovations are crucial for the successful implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and in achieving its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. However, three fundamental shifts are necessary preconditions to harness digital technologies to accelerate environmentally and socially sustainable development to achieve this vision:

Shift 1 Enable alignment: Create the enabling conditions to align the vision, values and objectives of the digital age with sustainable development; 

Dark green circular graphic illustrating "Shift 1." Title: Six Enablers. Other text with matching icons: Connect Communities and Transformations, Build Digital Competencies, Harness Science and Systems Thinking, Advance Multilateral Action, Build Pioneering Coalitions, Adopt Norms and Standards.

Shift 2 Mitigate negative impact: Commit to sustainable digitalization that mitigates the negative environmental and social impacts of digital technologies. 

Teal colour circular graphic illustrating "Shift 2." Title: Six Problems. Other text with matching icons: Energy and Emissions, Material Base, Consumption, Misinformation, Digital Divides, Rights Violations.

Shift 3 Accelerate innovation: Direct efforts, incentives and investments toward digital innovation that accelerate environmental and social sustainability.

Blue circular graphic illustrating "Shift 3." Title: Six Innovations. Other text with matching icons: Planetary Digital Twin, Sustainable Circular Economy, Sustainable Consumption, Knowledge Commons, Governance Breakthroughs, Access Evolution.

“With the CODES Action Plan we are striving to address the missing links between digitalisation and sustainability, by proposing major shifts as crucial preconditions to mobilize collective global action along with key action oriented impact initiatives to progress the shifts,” says David Jensen from UNEP.

The emergence of the CODES Action Plan marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of UNEP, set-up to promote environmental sustainability as detailed in the ambitious 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Action Plan is meant to inform the emerging set of priorities for the Global Digital Compact proposed by the UN Secretary-General’s latest report “Our Common Agenda,” as well as the Stockholm +50 conference.

Read more about the CODES Action Plan and next steps on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) website >