Digital technologies have become increasingly present in all aspects of our lives, offering tremendous progress and opportunities. However, for those who do not have access to such technologies or who are unable to use them, the digital divide has emerged as a major barrier to equality.
Recognising the urgency of this issue, PACE has adopted a resolution based on a report by Edite Estrela (Portugal, SOC) urging member and observer States, as well as partner for democracy States, to prioritise policies aimed at closing the digital divide and focus on making digital technologies, tools and services “inclusive, equitable, accessible, affordable and safe for all”. Adequate funding, regular parliamentary scrutiny, and support for local initiatives are vital to achieving these goals.
The Assembly also call on States to ensure universal access to internet and guarantee everyone's access to a reliable and affordable internet connection, to combat digital illiteracy “regardless of gender, age, social status, economic situation, disability or any other personal characteristic”, and promote equal access to education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.
Finally, the Assembly urges States to “move from a logic of 100% digital public services to one of 100% accessibility of these services”, removing obstacles that hinder people from accessing public services so as to “ensure equality of access to public services” and guarantee their continuity and their adaptation to users.