DOST chief joins high-level meeting on DPGs at UN General Assembly

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña sought the full digitalization of the delivery of public services, and cited the need for the government to strengthen its partnership with startups to promote Digital Public Goods (DPGs).

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña (PCOO/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The DOST chief made the pitch for the promotion of DPGs during a high-level meeting entitled, “From Open Software to Open Society – Digital Public Goods for Inclusive Digital & Social Transformation” held during the High-Level Segment of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Sept. 29.

DPGs have been defined as “digital tools that can be used to address key development and humanitarian challenges in different countries and contexts."

They can be software, content, or services, but all have to demonstrate the use of an approved open license that allows them to be modified or built on by other developers to meet context-specific needs or, where able and appropriate, serve outside their intended use, the DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) explained.

“During the meeting, Secretary de la Peña highlighted the DOST’s strategies on strengthening the Open Source Community through funding several open source projects such as Bayanihan Linux, Open Technology Business Incubator (OpenTBI) for startups, iGovPhil, and DOST-ASTI’s (Advanced Science and Technology Institute) Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information Network (PREGINET),” the DOST said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page.

“Datasets to support research and education in weather, disaster, space-based data for various applications, and COVID-19 initiatives were also made available,” it added.

De la Peña made concrete recommendations to the global community to promote DPGs.These include funding support, policy advocacy, capacity building initiatives, international communities, intergovernmental agreements, educational programs, and repository of open-source projects.

During the meeting, he cited the DOST-PCIEERD’s efforts to work closely with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to increase Filipinos’ awareness on DPGs.

The DOST noted that Ministers from India, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Uzbekistan, and Switzerland shared their strategies and best practices in accelerating the DPGs.

The ministers provided recommendations on what role the key stakeholders including the UN should play to support inclusive transformation as well, it said.

“During the wrap-up session, the organizers recognized the Philippines for its good examples in implementing initiatives in DPGs,” the Science and Technology department noted.

The event was hosted by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) and was supported by the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).