Press Release

Global Digital Compact and Digital Transformation in Micronesia

06 June 2024

Caption: Meeting with leaders at MIFS 2024
Photo: © UNRCO


The Micronesian Islands in the Pacific Ocean have been among the most isolated places in the world. This has reduced opportunities for their peoples by raising the costs of imports and travel. Moreover, their people have looked beyond their island homes for quality healthcare, education and well-paying jobs.


The Micronesian Islands Forum (MIF) just ended its 26th session. This forum shows that the ocean can unite islands that are dispersed across it to address common issues. The MIF has a dedicated committee on information and communication technology. There are “common interests and concerns to ensure connectivity, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability” while “protect[ing] fragile ecosystems with environmental compliance” (ICT Committee presentation to the leaders at MIF).


Digitalization is key to protecting and harnessing the benefits of the ocean and island ecosystems while mitigating the risks that emanate from it. It will also greatly improve the opportunities that the peoples of Micronesia have, whether it be in the areas of workforce development and education or health. Global goals, principles, objectives, and commitments will ensure that digitalization is safe and inclusive and for the benefit of all.


UN MCO Micronesia had the opportunity to host a side-event while leaders and other stakeholders were gathered on the U.S. territory of Guam for the MIF. The event was on the Global Digital Compact (GDC), a strategic initiative that falls under the broader “Our Common Agenda,” the UN Secretary-General’s informed vision for the future of global cooperation. The GDC seeks to establish a cohesive framework for global digital governance; it will be agreed at the Summit of the Future at UN headquarters in New York in September.


The event raised awareness on the GDC and was designed to hear from attendees. Thus, Resident Coordinator Jaap van Hierden heard from leaders, including governors, lieutenant governors, and ambassadors regarding digitalization in their respective Micronesian jurisdictions.


During the discussion, the benefits of digital technology for public administration, health, education, and farming was expounded. So too was the observation that youth have a good handle on digital. One of the attendees said that cybersecurity is a must for international collaboration. At the same time, islands face the challenges of capacity, human resources, technical expertise, and financing.


An interesting point of discussion was the preservation of culture and digitizing islands in reference to what the South Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu has already embarked upon, becoming the first digital nation. Additionally, there was widespread acknowledgement and agreement on the five GDC principles.


As the meeting wrapped up, RC van Hierden brought up the digitalization work the UN is already doing in the Micronesian Island countries through the joint “Smart Islands” programme. It was a pleasure to sit and talk with island leaders.


The UN is ready to stand by and support Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Kiribati on their digital journeys.

Kylar Bo Joseph Cade


UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labour Organization
International Telecommunication Union
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office for Project Services

Goals we are supporting through this initiative